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Scrawl for All: Live Art in Franklinton

For roughly eight years some of the best large-scale pieces of art produced in Columbus sat stacked in a developing warehouse, far from public view or purchase. Now, in its 11th year, the artists of Urban Scrawl are producing pieces in Franklinton and for Franklinton. What started in 2006 as a small event at Dodge [...]
614now Staff

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For roughly eight years some of the best large-scale pieces of art produced in Columbus sat stacked in a developing warehouse, far from public view or purchase.

Now, in its 11th year, the artists of Urban Scrawl are producing pieces in Franklinton and for Franklinton.

What started in 2006 as a small event at Dodge Park–artists signing up to paint large canvasses with anything of their choosing–has now become massive fundraiser. This past May, the Franklinton Arts District auctioned off $30,000 worth of the panels, funds that will fuel the George Bellows grant program, which provides support for artists in the burgeoning neighborhood.

This month, FAD president Adam Herman sat down with (614) to paint the project with a broader brush.

We’ve come a long way from the early days of Urban Scrawl. What really catalyzed, turning the event into what it’s become in the 11th year?

Every year there are more and more artists who want to participate. In fact, last year we had more than double the number of artists apply to participate than we could accommodate due to space limitations. A big reason Urban Scrawl has remained so popular after 10 straight years of growth is that it is still an effort built largely by and for artists and their fans. People appreciate the collaborative, do-it-yourself atmosphere that permeates Urban Scrawl; it allows them to feel like they’re a part of something unique, as well as something bigger than themselves. It’s not an overproduced, sponsor-driven, commercial activity—it’s an authentic expression of public art in its purest form. It’s still a scrappy little street art festival that runs on sweat equity and passion.

What were a few of your biggest takeaways from this year’s auction? Mayor Mike seemed to enjoy being the master of ceremonies…

This year’s Art for Franklinton auction was our biggest and most successful yet. At the end of the night, we raised more than $30,000 to support the organization and its programs—including both Urban Scrawl and the George Bellows Art Grant Program, which supports artists and arts programming in the neighborhood.

Coleman’s leadership as mayor helped create an environment in which the arts could flourish in Franklinton. In many respects, we felt like this year’s auction was a bit of our “coming-of-age” moment—like we are really beginning to make a permanent impact in the community.

We also moved this year’s auction into the newly-renovated second floor of the Idea Foundry, which I would say is one of the newest jewels in the city’s crown. The structure of the space was perfect because it allowed attendees to be completely immersed in the completed Urban Scrawl panels—much like you are when you’re attending the actual event.  After the sun went down and the room darkened, the art exploded from the walls. It was a very special night.

To that end, do you feel the FTON Arts District has a responsibility to carry the “buy local art flag” since some of that has been pushed from the boundaries of the Short North?

There is definitely a grittier, non-traditional aspect to the art that is being created in Franklinton, both at Urban Scrawl and in the hundreds of artist studios that now exist within the neighborhood. There must be a wide range of voices, viewpoints, and styles in a city’s art community to ensure its long-term sustainability. We are doing what we can to support this goal by creating opportunities for both new and established voices to be heard.

Is it a paradox to want to maintain this underground feel to the art and the event, but also be striving to raise as much money as you can?

Protecting the uniqueness and authenticity of Urban Scrawl is always our biggest priority as we plan each year’s event. We would love to expand the ways in which we are able to support the arts and artists in Franklinton, but there is a limit to how Urban Scrawl could (and probably should) be the vehicle for generating the kind of revenue we would need to do so. If we can find a way to expand while not straying from its original purpose, we are open to new ideas. But we have no interest in expanding or changing Urban Scrawl simply to be able to raise more money or auction off more panels. We’re not here to make a buck, we’re here to make some art—and our artists and attendees appreciate that.

What were some of your favorite pieces that went through this year’s auction, and/or whose work do you look forward to seeing this year?

Last year, Tonya Marie constructed a sculpture of a woman using fabric, found objects, and other materials directly onto her 4-foot by 8-foot panel. It was one of the first fully three-dimensional panels that we have had at Scrawl, and it showed just how far our artists are willing to push the envelope on what can be produced over two days in 90-degree heat. I am anxious to see what she creates this year if she decides to participate.

Lucie Shearer is also an artist that I always look out for – her style is distinctive and lends itself well to the large format that Urban Scrawl promotes.  This was a big factor in why we asked Lucie to create the branding and poster design for this year’s event, because her pieces do a great job evoking the creative spirit of the event. Kirsten Bowen, Mandi Caskey, and Zakary Burgess are also high on my “watch list.”

There’s always plenty of talk about East Franklinton versus the rest of the neighborhood and the pace at which it has developed. How does Urban Scrawl and the Bellows grant program fit into the responsibility to serve the neighboring community, and not just the art buyers that come in for the auction?

First off, the idea of “East Franklinton” exists only in the offices and on the maps of developers and city planners.  If you ask the people who live here, there is only “Franklinton,” or, somewhat more controversially, “The Bottoms.” As an organization, we have no interest in trying to rename or otherwise create new, artificial boundaries within a community that pre-dates the founding of Columbus. Our goal is to connect Franklinton residents with opportunities to experience art in their own backyard, while also supporting those artists who live or work in the neighborhood.  It is important to have visitors come in from all over the city (and across the region) to experience art in Franklinton and purchase art from local artists, however, it is equally as important that the people who actually live here are able to partake in these activities as well. We believe the arts offer fun yet meaningful ways to connect the rising fortunes of the eastern portion of the neighborhood with those areas that have been underserved for decades.  Over the past two years, we have awarded grants to arts education programs at Lower Lights Ministries, school music programs at Franklinton Preparatory Academy, and even individual artists like Kat Francis and Christopher Tennant, both of whom live and work in the neighborhood. Our goal is to expand the amount of financial resources we can offer as we grow the program each year so that the rising tide lifts all boats, if you’ll pardon the flood metaphor.

Urban Scrawl 11

8.26-27 @ 400 West Rich

franklintonartsdistrict.com

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Weekend Roundup: 5/29 – 5/31

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With Ohio slowly starting to fully reopen, initial in-person gatherings have trickled into our news feeds.

Below are a few things you can check out over the weekend if you’ve been itching to leave your house and are capable of following COVID-19 guidelines.

Friday

Fair Food Weekend @ Oakland Nursery

One of the most disappointing summertime cancellations was the axing of the Ohio State Fair. For those still wanting to get their elephant ears or deep-fried oreo fix, Chester Foods will be bringing a pop-up food truck to the Oakland Nursery. Corn dogs, funnel cakes, fried oreos, fresh-cut fries, and lemonade shake-ups will all be on the menu. Fair food will be set up on both Friday and Saturday.

Time: 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. | Address: 4261 W. Dublin Granville Rd.

Saturday

Sonic The Hedgehog/Jumanji: The Next Level and The Hunt/The Invisible Man @ South Drive-In

With movie theaters in Ohio still closing their doors, the drive-in revival has been sweeping the state, nation, and world. Once drive-ins were given the go-ahead by DeWine, South Drive-In began to provide the double feature experience to eager moviegoers. Admission is $9.50 on Friday/Saturday and $7.50 on Sunday for those 12+, $2 for ages 5-11, and free for those under 4.

The showings for this weekend are as follows: 

Screen 1:

  • 9:05 p.m. Sonic The Hedgehog (PG)
  • 10:53 p.m. Jumanji: The Next Level (PG-13)
  • 12:56 a.m. Sonic The Hedgehog (Friday/Saturday only) 

Screen 2:

  • 9:25 p.m. The Hunt (R)
  • 11:05 p.m. The Invisible Man (R)
  • 1:09 a.m. The Hunt (Friday/Saturday only)

Check out the South Drive-In website to see what social distancing guidelines need to be followed.

Time: Arrive 1-2 hours prior to first showing | Address: 3050 S. High St.

Sunday

Reggae on the Patio @ Skully’s Music-Diner

If you’re in search of a relaxing Sunday, look no further than Skully’s. The music venue/bar will be opening its patio for those to have socially distance hangs, drinks, and wings. Skully’s will be setting the mood perfectly for a chill Sunday by spinning reggae music all night long. Get yourself out of the house and go catch some island vibes.

Time: 7 p.m. - 2 a.m. | Address: 1151 N. High St.

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SoHud Collective provides fresh, stylish open-air experience

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The fear of ever going back inside of a building that’s not your home has become a general widespread worry. Open-air markets and garage sales are going to be a hot commodity this summer, and one new company has already taken a proactive and stylish approach to fill that need for consumers.

SoHud Collective is one of the first Columbus-based companies to corner this emerging market. The boutique pop-up shop, founded on the principle of friendships formed around fashion, art, and plants, hosted their first event on Saturday, May 23. 

And oh yeah, free lemonade.

An assortment of deep vintage finds at an incredibly reasonable price will leave you walking away with at least one purchase. The first installment took place on the corner of Hudson and Summit, across the street from Evolved Body Art.

The idea of a pop-up shop at this corner may be a new idea, but the format has been around for ages. Why SoHud Collective is important right now boils down to the consumers’ desire for an out-of-house experience and the employees’ obvious shared compassion for each other and thrifting.

“Fashion has been the glue to our friendship,” said the SoHud Collective, made up of Taylor, Connor, and Hayden. “We thrift together, we borrow each other’s clothing, and we send each other pictures of our outfits before we leave the house.”

A company formed on friendships in the SoHud region, the group behind this passion project has a specific goal in mind when passing down their used goods: keep the SoHud community stylin’. 

“Some of us have lost our jobs due to Covid-19, and this was a great way to keep our spirits up and redirect our attention to something that truly fulfills us,” the SoHud Collective said.

The items featured in the monthly pop-ups are passed down from an assortment of thrifting havens. Closets. Basements. Other thrift stores. Grandmas.

From shoes to shirts, Atari systems to board games, SoHud Collective is elevating the thrifting experience in the time of coronavirus.

“Currently, our focus is on elevating our display and merchandising technique to really give the people an experience and a fierce outfit and home decor to create that perfect photo for Instagram, the SoHud Collective said.”

SoHud Collective would like to thank Evolved for letting it use its parking lot for May’s edition of the pop-up. With a goal to have an installment of SoHud Collective once a month, the pop-up shop will return to the same location on June 27 (11 a.m. until 7 p.m.) and 28 (11 a.m. until 4 p.m.). 

A charity table where all proceeds will go to clothing the homeless LGBTQ youth in Columbus will be present as well. 

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Loop Daddy invades Columbus with first-ever drive-in tour

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The return of live music is going to be one of the trickiest industries to transition back into business as usual, if that will ever be the case. We’ve seen people getting creative, building concert stages within their own homes via live streaming. Some have participated in virtual festivals, probably the sector of live music to take the biggest hit.

But when an industry made up of innovative creatives always trying to come up with the next big idea is faced with incredible hardships, they respond with quick-witted imaginative solutions.

One of the first trends that popped up in the revolution of bringing back live music was the implementation of drive-in lots. Luckily for Columbus, the darling of the internet DJ scene Marc Rebillet aka Loop Daddy will be taking his first-ever drive-in tour through the Buckeye state in mid-June.

Captivating audiences with his participatory DJ scratching and immature antics, extremely goofy sex appeal, and sleazy porno stache, Rebillet was an act poised for a breakout summer before the pandemic shut music concert venues down. If you have access to a car, though, you’ll still have a chance to catch the wild virtual sensation.

On June 14, Rebillet will be pulling up to the South Drive-In for the third stop of his Drive-In Concert Tour. Rebillet will also be showcasing short films as part of his drive-in experience.

As far as sound is going for these events, a lot of drive-ins are opting to go the radio transmission route to encourage people to stay inside of their vehicles.

A very few grouping of tickets remain, which include three-person and four-person car passes. Tickets are running $40 per head (plus additional fees), which seems to be the average across the new wave of drive-in concerts. Two-people/one-car tickets have already sold out.

If you don’t want to miss out on this unique opportunity, act right now. Tickets can be purchased at:

https://nightout.com/events/marc-rebillet-drive-in-tour-columbus-ohio-south-drive-in-presented-by-hotbox/tickets.

Social distancing guidelines are outlined at the point of purchase.

The South Drive-In is located at 3050 S. High St. Doors open at 8 p.m. with the show beginning at 9 p.m. Attendees need to arrive before 8:45 p.m. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

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