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Wild Goose Creative and ROY G BIV Gallery create community in the city’s new arts district

Linda Lee Baird



Wild Goose Creative and ROY G BIV Gallery have quite a few things in common: both are non-profit organizations, both are committed to fostering the talents of emerging artists, and soon, both will be neighbors in Franklinton. As these longstanding arts institutions settle into the neighborhood, its reputation as the city’s new arts capital further solidifies.

After closing its longtime location in the Short North in 2017, ROY’s leadership team felt Franklinton was the right spot for its next iteration. “We recognized that Franklinton was an emerging arts district, and so to be an organization that supported emerging artists, it just seemed like such a natural fit,” said J.D. Beiting, ROY’s Board President. Ultimately, the gallery became the first tenant in the new River and Rich development.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

In addition to doubling its capacity, building a new gallery allowed ROY to customize the space with modular walls, built-in speakers and ceiling hooks to display three-dimensional pieces. These enhancements allow for additional media, such as film, to be included in ROY’s shows. It also provides visitors with new ways to experience the art.

“Sometimes in our receptions, we’ll play music that the artists were listening to when they were creating the art that’s being shown,” said Lynette Santoro-Au, ROY’s Gallery Director.

Beyond larger square footage, Franklinton offered something that can be hard to come by when moving to a new area: a sense of genuine community. Beiting credits the organizations that set up shop early in Franklinton—including the studios at 400 West Rich Street, the Vanderelli Room, the Idea Foundry, Glass Axis, and Jim Sweeney, the former Director of the Franklinton Development Association— for bringing an arts-focused, inclusive approach to the neighborhood’s development.

“Everyone just sort of swaps assets and resources,” Beiting said. “Being collaborative and partnering is what’s making it really attractive, which is bringing in more arts groups.”

One such arts group is Wild Goose Creative; a gallery, creative, and literary arts space operating in the University District since 2006. Wild Goose plans to open a second space in Franklinton—Wild Goose West—in late 2020. Executive Director Patrick Roehrenbeck said that the second space will allow the organization to increase its capacity.

“We felt to truly fulfill our mission, in creating this strong creative community, we needed to be able to give access to all those creatives and artists that we were having to say no to, just because there wasn’t the time or the space for it.”

At the same time, Roehrenbeck feels that the artists at Wild Goose will bring new creative offerings to Franklinton.

“If you really look at Franklinton now, 90 percent of it is visual art,” he said, explaining that there wasn’t a venue focused on literary arts, music, spoken word, and fashion.


As they plan for the opening, Roehrenbeck and his team are engaging the community in the process. They’ve surveyed over 100 Franklinton residents to learn what would benefit them. The goal, in Roehrenbeck’s words, is to, “ask them what they want, not let them know what we’re bringing.”

With Route 315 dividing Franklinton’s arts and residential districts, Wild Goose plans to partner with existing institutions in order to meaningfully connect with the community. Lydia Simon, Wild Goose’s Operations Manager, said their goal is to be intentional with the programming that they bring to Franklinton by, “building off of what’s already happening down there.” Working with schools and community-based organizations to start an artist mentoring program is one way Wild Goose is planning to serve as a bridge between artists and residents.

“We’re all about building community through art,” Simon said. “We want to continue that mission in Franklinton because there is absolutely a need for it.”

Partnering with established organizations is also a key way to break down what Beiting called “mental barriers” to experiencing and enjoying art. “I think there might be some perception barriers. Someone might walk by, and look in, and say, ‘Oh wow, this looks like, you know, hoity art,’” he said. But learning about it from a trusted individual or at a longstanding institution can make it less intimidating.

Operating as non-profit organizations also allows both spaces to worry less about costs and more about experiences, which translates to affordability. “It gives people the opportunity to experience something new without there being that financial burden,” Roehrenbeck said. Santoro-Au echoed this idea.

“We can take chances, we can be a little more nimble, a little more inclusive.”

All of this is in line with what made Franklinton so attractive as an arts district in the rst place: artists themselves have always been at the center.

“We have artists at the table in all the planning that we do, as opposed to artists coming in at the end and not being a part of the conversation,” Santoro-Au said.

I look forward to seeing what the artists have in store for us.

ROY G BIV Gallery is located at 435 W Rich St. Wild Goose Creative is located at 2491 Summit St. Visit or for more information.

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Arts & Culture

Summer Camp Soap Opera

J.R. McMillan



Young screenwriters shocked by surprise casting at Thurber House

Summer camp is a rite of passage wrapped in revelry, rivalry, and romance — all the makings of a must-see soap opera. But when Thurber House (humorist James Thurber’s former home turned local literary center) rushed to push their summer camps online this year, they feared some of that creative connectivity might be lost among aspiring young writers.

Hoping for a hook, camp counselors Justin Martin and Frankie Diederich decided to challenge campers with a genre they’d never tackled before: writing an original soap opera. Entirely on a whim, Martin took to Twitter to see if anyone happened to have a connection to the industry.

“I genuinely didn’t expect it to go anywhere, I didn’t even tag anyone. But an hour later I had half the cast of Days of Our Lives,” recalled Martin, whose disbelief still lingers. It was a plot twist even campers didn’t see coming. “California’s stay-home order was so uncertain, we never knew when everyone might go back to work. Even when we told writers and their parents the night before the performances, some of them didn’t believe us.

Though daytime television isn’t an obvious obsession for middle school students, nearly every novel of young adult fiction is essentially a soap opera. And Days of Our Lives is set in the fictional Midwest city of Salem — folksy yet sophisticated, and never short on scandal, not unlike Columbus, Ohio. It’s a short stretch that only seems non sequitur.

“Everyone started with a blank page, but by the end of the week, Frankie and I had helped them create a complete screenplay. But the cast was still a shock,” Martin explained. “Kids admire anyone who has made a career out of doing something they love, and these actors and actresses were so enthusiastic, flexible, and generous. They were every bit as into it as the campers.”

It was actress Martha Madison who happened to see a retweet of Martin’s request and matter-of-factly replied, “Can I bring some friends?” She soon roped in more than a dozen of her costars, all equally eager to give a bunch of adolescent screenwriters the performance they deserved despite a pandemic.

“I’m a big believer in fate. It was an easy ask, everyone said yes,” revealed Madison, better known to many as Belle Black. Her character’s parents John and Marlena have been synonymous with Days of Our Lives for decades. “There was so much character development, and they all had love and murder in the plot. They were real soap operas.”

Like many nonprofits struggling to adapt, the shift to online programming has actually expanded the reach of Thurber House. Much like parents working remotely, kids from across Ohio, and from New York to California, also received insightful lessons in craft and collaboration from screenwriter Amanda Beall, whose credits include The Young and the Restless, All My Children, and General Hospital.

“If you’re a creative person, none of that goes away just because you’re stuck at home. You can still share your experience with anyone anywhere,” Madison noted. “I was very impressed with the writing. I’d love to work again with any one of these kids someday.”


For more on Thurber House and upcoming events and programs, visit

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(614) Music Club: Joey Aich




Photo by Zak Kolesar.

Every week, (614) Music Club teams up with your favorite local artists to build a playlist consisting of songs that have inspired their sound, tracks they’re currently jamming out to, guilty pleasures, and favorite Columbus musicians. They also stop by to answer a few burning questions and plug any upcoming performances or releases.

This week’s playlist is brought to you by hip-hop artist Joey Aich. Originally from Woodmere, Ohio, Aich has called Columbus home since 2017. Since then, Aich has observed a city going through growing pains. His thoughts are present in his original work and even more poignant in his June 2020 release, Open Treehouse. The retro, introspective nature of the album shines through on his playlist selection and through his answers, both of which you can find below.

Can you talk a little bit about some of the songs you selected for your playlist and how they may have shaped your music career?

The way I crafted the playlist is into three sections: current, Columbus, and classics. 

The current section (consists of) songs that describe the rollercoaster of emotions I have dealt with amidst the heinous murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery due to police brutality and racism. One moment I’m crying in bed listening to Marvin Gaye hoping the violence stops, and the next moment I’m full of rage, and proud, scrolling through social media and seeing peaceful protests along with protests that include people burning cars and looting stores to make sure their voices are heard. Music has helped me during this time and these songs reflect where my head has been. 

The Columbus section includes songs from the Columbus-based artists that are featured on my upcoming album, Open Treehouse. Outside of them being featured on the album, they are incredible friends and amazing talents who push me to be better. Dom Deshawn, Trek Manifest, and Sarob are my “carried by 6 brothers,” and I’m glad we were able to make more music together. 

Classics! These are a few songs that will forever be in rotation for me. Believe it or not, I wrote a book for a class assignment in elementary school, and the title was “Living my Life Like it’s Golden,” because I loved (“Golden” by Jill Scott) when I was a kid. I have a personal attachment to these songs and each artist has had an impact on my genre choice, rapping style, and approach to music. 

During the past few months, how have you been able to stay creatively busy? Did you pick up any new skills or hobbies?

It’s been tough but I’ve enjoyed it. Since I’m in the middle of an album rollout I’ve had to scrap a lot of plans and figure out new ways to make it happen. I told myself I don’t want to come out of quarantine without testing my creative abilities or learning a new skill. Quarantining has stopped a lot of my writing process because I write off of experiences, and being in the house with roommates isn’t that exciting, to be honest. But I’ve found other ways to fuel and channel my creativity. 

I’ve been sipping wine and painting as a way to free my mind and put thoughts to canvas. I was inspired by my friend and Columbus legend, Hakim Callwood, to start painting a while ago, and I challenged myself to take this time to get better and keep myself at peace because I find it to be very therapeutic. 

With a lot of my plans, including music videos, being axed, I’ve been filming music videos on my phone and editing them in iMovie. The process is hard and a bit of a headache, but I’m proud of what I made and my progress with it. I’m glad I stuck with it because now when I work with a videographer I can bring some new ideas to the table. 

Overall, I think I’ve been having a good time with my creative process. I love the challenge of having to work with the situations at hand and make the best of it. 

What do you think separates the Columbus music scene from major industry hot spots like New York and Nashville?

Definitely not the talent. I believe the talent is here, but the infrastructure isn’t as solid as the other big cities. Oftentimes artists here in Columbus and even Ohio as a whole have to go somewhere else and get some type of name recognition before being accepted here in Ohio. I also don’t think that’s technically a bad thing as long as Ohio gets its respect as a place that breeds talent. 

How do you think the Columbus hip-hop scene can carry the momentum it had going into 2020 and turn a positive spin on the latter half of this year?

Continuing to do what we have been doing, but amplified and more polished. Again, I believe the talent is here, but we just have to take the next steps...I subscribe to the “trial and error” method of attempting to do things and learning how to do it better the next time.

To turn a positive spin on the latter half of the year, I think we should continue to be creative and adapt to the new normal because we don’t know how long quarantining will last and what normal looks like after. Maybe we don’t have shows until mid-2021, (so) let’s figure out how to still be effective whether it be live streams or create a novel way to bring the experience to the audience. I like where Columbus hip-hop is headed. I think we have a good group of artists that are right there and at any moment lives can be changed. 

Aich’s latest album, the June 18 release Open Treehouse, is available to listen to on all streaming platforms and available to purchase on Bandcamp here.

Here is where you can find Aich on the Internet:

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Arts & Culture

Rare flower ready to stink up 2020 at the Franklin Park Conservatory




Photo provided by Franklin Park Conservatory.

“Some people wait a lifetime to see this,” said Bruce Harkey, president and CEO of Franklin Park Conservatory. 

What someone will wait a lifetime to see (or smell) varies from person to person. If watching a massive flower bloom and let out a wretched odor is your thing, you better keep a close eye on the Conservatory.

According to a press release sent out Wednesday, the endangered Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) will flower in the next week for the first time in the Conservatory’s history. The flower can grow to 10 feet tall and emits a strong odor, resembling rotting flesh. While the “corpse flower” only blooms for a few days, those who go to the FPC to visit it will not soon forget it.

And while it may seem that 2020 could not get any weirder with its masks and murder hornets,  this particular brand of weird is actually kind of cool—and it’s in our own backyard.

Check out the FPC social channels, where you can view the bloom live, or head to the Conservatory to smell it in person, though the required mask may prevent a full whiff of the dreadful stench. But if you dare, you can buy your timed tickets online here.

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