Ohio Art Corridor Outdoor Gallery to Highlight Appalachian Art and Culture
Ohio artist and sculptor David Griesmyer is a native to Zanesville, so the Appalachia-inspired mission of the Ohio Art Corridor hits close to home.
With the help of his sister-in-law Rebekah Griesmyer, the two have founded the Ohio Art Corridor, an outdoor gallery spanning 230 miles across southeast Ohio. The purpose of the gallery is to provide access to culture, art, and educational experiences, as well as support and increase tourism in southeastern Ohio small towns.
The corridor will draw attention to several existing sculptures in Zanesville, Athens, Circleville, and Lancaster, passing through stops like the Circleville Bicentennial Mural and the Downtown Lancaster Sculpture Garden.
“Public art enhances the quality of life and The Ohio Art Corridor has the potential to have a real economic impact on southeastern Ohio,” says Jonett Haberfield, executive director for Visit Fairfield County, one of the Ohio Art Corridor’s partners. “Tourism is important to our region, it provides jobs and showcases the beauty and authenticity of our communities.”
More than 10 huge metal sculptures will be placed in mirco parks along the corridor, and stops in Marietta, Logan, and Somerset are being discussed, among others. Rebekah Griesmyer says Amesville, a tiny village in Athens County, is also on the radar.
“Amesville is the home of The Coonskin Library which was founded in 1804. It was one of the first circulating libraries in Ohio,” she explains. “Money was scarce, so the residents of [Amesville] accumulated furs to sell in order to buy books for it. We really want to see a sculpture there indicative of that history.”
The project’s educational mission sets out to provide local public school students the opportunity to research, design, and help manufacture the sculpture representing their town. The Ohio Art Corridor will also work with welding and art programs in the region to teach and promote trade skills. It’s an opportunity to leave a legacy behind for the next generation, says Rebekah Griesmyer.
“If we can help change a person’s life by helping them learn a skill, go to school, keep them off of drugs, help them get and maintain a job, that is life altering,” she says.
The Ohio Art Corridor will officially open on Tuesday, Oct. 30 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception at the corridor’s first art installation in McConnelsville. Inspired by the nearby Muskingham River, “The School of Fish” will highlight a popular destination for boaters and fishers that is known for its beautiful locks and dams.
For David and Rebekah Griesmyer, the gallery’s initial 230 miles is just the beginning. They hope to expand the gallery across the Midwest, keeping small town communities in mind along the way.
“Our desire is to draw people out of the big cities, to take a drive through the beautiful Appalachian country of Ohio, to learn, grow, and have experiences that they otherwise would not have,” says Rebekah Griesmyer. “We desire to instill pride and purpose into those that live in the small cities and towns highlighted on The Ohio Art Corridor.”
To take a look at the Ohio Art Corridor’s route, view it on Google Maps.
For more information on the Ohio Art Corridor, visit theartcorridor.org.