This year’s Columbus Arts Festival will be brighter than usual, thanks to the event’s first ever use of an outdoor public art light installation.
The concept arose following an increased financial sponsorship from American Electric Power of the June 9-11 festival held annually in downtown Columbus.
“AEP has been a long-time sponsor but not at this level, so we thought it’d be exciting to do something that involves power,” said Jami Goldstein, vice president marketing, communications and events for the Greater Columbus Arts Council, which hosts the art festival.
The artist or artists chosen to complete the project will receive a $25,000 commission to cover costs.
“It’s the first time we’ve offered a commission of this size,” said Goldstein.
She said that she can’t recall any similar electronic art display in Columbus in the past.
“We hope it will capture people’s minds and imaginations during the day and at night,” said Goldstein.
She said a requirement of the project is that it’s aesthetically attractive during daylight hours as well as nighttime.
The installation(s) “must have a strong visual impact and incorporate ‘light’ when viewed at night as well as consider the visual impact of natural light as it changes over the course of the day,” according to council guidelines.
An information meeting on the display held in January attracted 22 artists, all from the central Ohio area, said Goldstein.
“So there’s definitely a lot of interest. From conversations we’ve had we expect more submissions to come in,” she said.
The deadline to submit a project proposal was last Friday. The council is expected to announce a winner on March 1.
The winner could be a solo artist or a team of artists, said Goldstein. Only Ohio-based artists will be considered for the project.
Applicants with experience creating, fabricating and installing public art will have priority. Only professional artists with reviewable portfolios were eligible to submit qualifications.
The jurors who will make the final selection are Joe Baer, co-founder, CEO and creative director, ZenGenius; Michael Bongiorno, director/design principal, DesignGroup; David Butler, artist and education and outreach coordinator, Pizzuti Collection; Tyler Cann, curator of contemporary art, Columbus Museum of Art; Pam Hykes O’Grady, GCAC board of trustees and senior adviser, Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther; Michael Goodson, senior curator of exhibitions, Wexner Center for the Arts; Joshua McClurg-Genevese, director of creative services, American Electric Power; Angela Meleca, owner and director, Angela Meleca Gallery; Diane Nance, director, office of grants and sponsored programs, Otterbein University; and Ty Owen, manager of theater programs, COSI.
The Columbus Arts Festival is produced by the Greater Columbus Arts Council and sponsored by American Electric Power, and attracts tens of thousands of attendees each year. This year is the 56th year of the event.
The festival hosts hundreds of juried artists from across the country as well as several international artists.
Performance stages featuring music, dance, theater and spoken word can be found throughout the festival, and hands-on arts activities, work by local artist collectives and a wide selection of food and beverages are also popular features of the festival.