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OP: Things have changed but Arts District isn’t dying

614now Staff



[su_testimonial photo=””]By Nate DeMars
Owner, Pursuit
Board Member, Short North Alliance[/su_testimonial]

New generation of Short North Merchants

Two years ago I moved Pursuit from campus to the Short North Arts District and opened for the first time for September Gallery Hop. After four years in business we had hit a wall and moving was a ‘bet it all’ change. I made that bet because of the people and businesses we’d be associated with as part of the Short North and the obvious growth in the district. I wanted to be a part of one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the country and it has proven a great decision.

Creative, unique, local, and independent was how I saw the district and my new neighbors, and how I hoped people would view Pursuit. The inspiring history of pioneering galleries was the foundation of that identity–Gallery Hop its signature manifestation. While there is so much happening in the district, art remains alive and critical to our identity and I see huge potential to draw new audiences to the district with art in various forms.

Recently I read your piece by a gallery owner proclaiming the death of the arts district and it bothered me on a few levels. First, it was a farewell from a longtime Short North gallery who helped build the neighborhood. Heart and soul goes into building a business, I can only imagine how painful it is to close a business. It also bothered me because I’ve seen too much creative energy put toward art in the district since my arrival to believe it’s dead/dying.

But the piece shouldn’t be ignored. It was a blunt reminder that sustaining the magic that made the Short North one of the most vibrant and unique neighborhoods in the country will take a commitment from a variety of stakeholders including, and beyond, galleries. As the neighborhood grows, the arts identity is one that merchants, restaurateurs, developers, consumers, and the city must collectively decide is important to maintain–not in name, but with action.

Short North developers aren’t all bad

I see that action from a cross-section of the district. Wood Companies, preeminent Short North developer and my landlord, chose to lease the first space I wanted instead to another district newcomer, Hammond Harkins Gallery (the right decision!). Developer Pizzuti Companies not only brought Pizzuti Collection but also an impressive art collection at The Joseph. Hilton and The Greater Columbus Convention Center have invested heavily in art. The Public Art Committee of the Short North Alliance, led by gallery owner Michelle Brandt, recently unveiled a new permanent installation by a local artist and has been working with the city on a major public art study to keep that momentum. The committee has also worked with organizations like the Greater Columbus Arts Council to adorn construction barricades with the work of CCAD students during next year’s unprecedented construction season, a powerful symbolic statement.

Most importantly, and despite what you read in Facebook comments, there are fifteen art galleries in the district. They are the most recognized stewards of our arts identity and are a community treasure. They face a different environment and new challenges, no doubt, but visit them during Gallery Hop to see what they continue to bring to the district.

A thriving arts scene with healthy galleries are in everyone’s best interest and I believe as neighbors the best thing we can do is add to the art in the district, to reinforce the atmosphere galleries create for visitors. There are plenty of businesses doing exactly that, many have for years.

Feeding the creative spirit

For that reason, in February we teamed with The Wild Path to launch our monthly In Pursuit Concert Series, featuring young Ohio musicians performing (in suits, of course) during Gallery Hop. Our window to High Street gives these artists unique exposure and the Gallery Hop crowds are eager to support. The response has been amazing with hundreds passing through the shows and tens of thousands watching event videos online. It’s exciting that the majority of our audience are millennials eager to support local artists, excited to be a part of Gallery Hop.

I recognize that I am benefitting from a neighborhood that galleries and artists were integral in building. A suit shop hosting concerts and exhibits is not a replacement for galleries but it adds to the atmosphere long established up the street by neighbors like ROY G BIV and Lindsay Gallery. The growth of the district is a testament to the vibrant community that art helped build.

I believe maintaining the identity as an arts district is central to keeping the Short North special and vibrant and it’s important for businesses to contribute to that culture.

As I write this, I’m looking up from my Village Salad at Northstar, out the window where Sandy Wood surveys construction of his company’s new mixed-use project across the street. I can’t help but think that Wood Companies leased first to galleries, then a few decades later to Northstar, and another decade later, to me.

Things change but there are so many who want to maintain the special culture of this arts district.

It will take contributions from old school to new school, Short North Alliance and city leadership, artists, galleries, merchants, residents, and consumers. I’m excited to play my small role and I think these last eight months have shown there is a new generation in Columbus ready to support this arts district. I hope more will decide to invest in the arts component of this arts district.

Check out the last concert of “In Pursuit” Season 1 on September 8th.  Pursuit will be hosting musician and illustrator Nicholas Nocera of Winter Makes Sailors and pairing a concert with his month-long gallery show.

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Biz + Dev

Cooper Stadium development rounds first phase of approval

614now Staff



Update: The plan to redevelop the former Cooper Stadium site into a mixed-use development is one step closer to becoming a reality.  

The Southwest Area Commission voted seven to four in approval of the plan to turn the derelict park into a mixed-use concept to include office/retail space and apartments. The approved plan will now go before the Columbus City Council for final approval. 


08/22/2019: The Columbus Clippers played their final game in Cooper Stadium way back in 2008. Since then, the storied ballpark has fallen to disrepair, becoming a popular site for urban explorers and ruin porn enthusiasts.

Now, the owners of the Coop have announced another redevelopment plan, which would bring offices, apartments, mixed-use commercial space, and creative work spaces to the decaying plot.

The site plan, which was submitted to the city by Arshot Development Corp., outlines the construction of 500 apartments, along with possible space for restaurants.

The next phase of the proposed project will take place at an area commission hearing on the rezoning application for the site, which has been scheduled for 7 p.m. on Aug. 21. 614NOW will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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Biz + Dev

Set your sights on new rooftop bar + restaurant, opening next month

614now Staff



Short North's newest place to eat, stay, and play will open tomorrow. The 13-story, $50 million, 167-room Canopy by Hilton will hold its grand opening on July 30 at 77 E. Nationwide Blvd, featuring two dining options and a rooftop lounge.

Central Market House restaurant on the ground floor will act as the hotel's main food provider with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu will feature a flexitarian (semi-vegetarian) menu of local and healthy options.

A dedicated elevator will take guests to Goodale Station, which offers stunning views of Downtown Columbus, the Short North, and Goodale Park. Goodale Station will feature a Southern-inspired menu for dinner and small plates along with craft cocktails open each day at 4:00 PM.

The Central Market House is named after Central Market which served as the central economic center of Columbus from 1850 until 1966, while Goodale Station pays tribute to Dr. Lincoln Goodale, one of Columbus’ founding fathers.

Other features of the Canopy hotel include:

  • Three deluxe and flexible meeting spaces offering a total of 1,850 square feet of space
  • Transfer Lounge with lockers and private showers for guests who arrive early
  • The Retreat, for guests seeking a quiet space
  • Complimentary Canopy Bikes which guests can use to explore the Short North
  • Rooftop state of the art fitness center

The Columbus location is one of only six other Canopy hotel in the United States.

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Biz + Dev

Don’t look back in anger at this Olde Towne East bakery closure

Mike Thomas



They say there are five stages of grief, but don't mind us if we skip straight to "anger" with the news of this latest loss.

According to a post on Instagram, Angry Baker's original location in Olde Towne East has closed.

This news follows the closure of the King Ave location of Angry Baker in 2018. Affiliated locations in Upper Arlington and on North High Street will carry on under the name Happy Little Treats, a new all-vegan concept.

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