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Gallery Space: Hakim Callwood & Lauren Carter Best

Linda Lee Baird

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It’s difficult to write a Gallery Space column about public art. After a long discussion with artists Hakim Callwood and Lauren Carter Best—both of whom created murals for Gravity, Franklinton’s new “conscious community” development—it’s clear to me that the term “gallery” is too limiting in this context; galleries put doors around artwork and separate it from everyday experiences. This is exactly the opposite of Callwood and Best’s intentions, and it’s something Gravity attempts to correct by infusing artwork throughout its architecture. “Walking into Gravity is just an immersive experience that, like, anyone can have,” Best said. “I feel like it’s just kind of changing the assumption that art is something that only privileged people can see or be around.” 

Photos: Brian Kaiser

Callwood and Best both found out about Gravity through personal networks; Callwood applied to be one of the artists after learning about the opportunity through Urban Scrawl (an annual street art event he participates in regularly) and Best through a friend. Both were attracted to the idea of creating work that would be accessible and visible to the public, outside of the pretenses associated with high art. “When we have art shows, it is not very businessy,” Callwood said. “A lot of what I do is try to welcome people in: Come to your first art show! Wear some jeans!”

For his mural, Callwood created a tribute to artist Elijah Pierce, who worked in Columbus from the 1920s until his death in the 1980s. Callwood was inspired by Pierce’s story and the work he created. “He lived here in Columbus, in this same neighborhood, roughly. And he was a woodworker and a barber and a sculptor. He was just like a local legend,” Callwood said. The mural depicts Pierce standing alongside oversized versions of some of his work. Callwood’s intent was to make the experience interactive for viewers. “He did wood carving, sculptures of animals, so I tried to make life-sized animals so people could come take a picture next to the deer, or ‘like’ petting the cat.”  

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Best chose to enlarge one of her existing pieces called “Spring” for her mural. Spring is part of a series featuring the same woman experiencing the different seasons. (Best would like to eventually paint the remaining seasons around other parts of the city). The mural features large, swirling designs rendered in soothing colors. Best hopes it will encourage viewers to slow down and reflect. “I feel so strongly and passionately that part of the healing that needs to happen in the world is that people need to spend more time just pausing,” she said. It’s a powerful message permanently situated at the entrance to the massive development on busy Broad Street.

Gravity, phase I, is 550,000 square feet of apartments and commercial space, with over 14,000 square feet of murals (the even-larger phase II will break ground later in the summer). The project has faced its share of criticism over everything from the decision to hire an artist from outside of Columbus to paint the most prominent exterior mural to complaints that the rents at Gravity put its apartments out of reach for many longtime Franklinton residents. There’s an irony that the murals, created to be enjoyed by anyone, are part of a project that’s been criticized for being too exclusive.

Callwood was quick to acknowledge the concern. Still, he gives credit to Gravity’s planners for working with the community, noting that they hired local artists and collaborated with the Franklinton Arts Council in designing the project. “Those are people from the neighborhood,” he said. Best echoed this sentiment, explaining that while she shares concerns about gentrification, she chose to have her work represented at Gravity in part because it is “showcasing what the community has to offer,” and she felt the artists’ work was valued and recognized by Gravity’s architects. Brett Kaufman, Gravity founder, said he is committed to using the space to bring people together. “We’re intentionally engaging people in a way that has real meaning—offering a physical space where they can literally see beauty and creativity all around them.” 

The task of creating 14,000 square feet of murals isn’t an easy one, and Callwood laughed as he shared how the weather refused to cooperate on work days. “At the key time when people were doing the murals it started raining!” he said. Best worked on different days and coped with heat instead. Despite the conditions, she enjoyed the process. “[My mural] faces Broad Street so people would just be walking down and yell, like, What are you guys doing? It was an interactive type of thing, really fun,” she said. 

Controversies aside, Gravity represents an exciting opportunity for Columbus artists and art lovers alike, giving prominent recognition to work that may not be a fit for traditional galleries, but is, as Callwood says, accessible and fun. “You ever go to another city and see a bunch of murals on like their buildings and it just makes you feel welcomed into the city? That’s the same type of thing I’m trying to do.” 

Gravity is located at 500 W Broad Street in Franklinton. Lauren Carter Best’s work can be seen at Laurencarterbest.com and on Instagram at Laurencarterbest. Hakim Callwood’s work is at Hakimsartnstuff.com and on Instagram at hakimsartnstuff.

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9 festivals for you to fall in love with this weekend

Mitch Hooper

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Summer may be rounding out, but there are still so many ways to fest outside. From vintage good fairs to rock climbing at the Scioto Audubon, here are the festivals taking place this weekend in the city.

Sept. 12-15 | Scioto Fest | Scioto Audubon Metro Park

This four-day festival is for those with an affinity for the outdoors. Here, adrenaline junkies will find rock climbing and bouldering while land lovers can enjoy camping, music, and all the food offerings.

Sept. 12-14 | Creative Control Fest 8 | Lincoln Theatre

In its eighth year, the Creative Control Fest is back to raise up and celebrate creatives of color from around the midwest. Hang out and learn useful information at one of the many workshops, or get your mind right at one of the wellness activities designed for creatives from a variety of different industries.

Sept. 13-14 | 934 Fest 2019 | 934 Gallery

In a celebration of the art scene here in Columbus, 934 Gallery is opening its doors for two-days this weekend featuring art from Lucie Shearer and Andy Meyer. Additionally, the festival will play host to two music stages, a comedy stage, local artist vendors, food trucks, craft beer, and plenty of activities for your young Picasso.

Sept. 13-15 | Country Living Fair | Ohio Historical Village

Calling all flea market fans and garage sale experts, this is your chance to splurge! This three-day fair offers more than 200 vendors from across different states selling vintage and handcrafted goods as well as antiques. Stop by one of the how-to sessions, or simply fill up your Pinterest mood board with loads of ideas.

Sept. 13-14 | Columbus Caribbean Festival | The Scioto Mile

In its third year, the Columbus Caribbean Festival has returned to The Scioto Mile for two days of live music, delicious island-inspired food and drinks including Taste Of Kingston and The Gumbo Dude Food Truck, and a parade. The music lineup includes Pete Funk, BAND AMANIAUZURI, and The Flex Crew.

Sept. 13-15 | 2019 Grandview Oktoberfest | Hofbrauhaus Columbus (Grandview)

Another weekend in September, another chance to celebrate the German Oktoberfest! This time around it's at Hofbrauhaus where live entertainment will clash with German food and bier as well as activities for little ones. Friday will feature WCOL-FM from 6pm- 8pm, while Saturday will host a face painter and balloon artists from 2pm- 6pm. And if you couldn't make it to the face painter on Saturday, they will return on Sunday from 1pm- 4pm in addition to a magician.

Sept. 14 | Crafted Food, Beer & Music Festival | Columbus Commons

From farm-to-table-to-festival, the Crafted Food, Beer & Music Festival brings nine different Columbus restaurants together to showcase their offerings. For $15, you can enjoy live music from George Barrie Band and The Floorwalkers, stuff your face, and know that you're doing some civic good as a portion of proceeds will benefit Freedom a la Cart, an organization providing paid workforce training and supportive services to survivors of human trafficking.

Sept. 14 | Oktoberfest Party | Wolf's Ridge Brewing

Wolf's Ridge is getting in on the Oktoberfest action and on Saturday you can find brats, spaetzle, and of course, WRB's very own Oktoberfest bier. If you really want to feel the Oktoberfest vibes, purchase a $14 stein and hoist it high!

Sept. 14 | Old Hilliardfest | Main St. in Old Hilliard

This street fair takes place in Old Hilliard where visitors can explore car shows and sunflower shows as well as all the fixings of most festivals: live music, food, and activities for kids at the kid's fair. Support local, and have fun while doing so!

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Let’s play FREE ball! Clippers weekend win means more dime-a-dogs

Mike Thomas

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Over the weekend, our Columbus Clippers topped the Gwinnett Stripers to clinch the series, earning them a spot in the Governors' Cup Finals!

Games 1 and 2 of the Governors' Cup Finals best-of-5 series against the Durham Bulls will be played at Huntington Park on September 10 and September 11. Both games will start at 6:35pm, gates open at 5:30pm.

As if that weren't enough to entice you, all games in the first round will be dime-a-dog! 

Tickets for Games 1 and 2 are FREE! They will be available beginning Monday at 10am via Ticketmaster (no fees!), by calling 614-462-2757, or by stopping by either our Administrative Offices from 10am-4pm or the CF Box Office on the corner of Neil and Nationwide from 10am-2pm.

Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, with a limit of four per order. For more information including the complete playoff schedule, click here.

https://twitter.com/CLBClippers/status/1170728807940186113
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Amazon Treasure Truck returns to Columbus this weekend with exclusive deals

Mike Thomas

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Whether you missed out on the Prime Day deals, or simply want to keep the savings rolling, Amazon is offering a unique new way to score deals in Columbus. This weekend, the juggernaut of online retail is once again bringing its Treasure Truck to the 614.

The concept is simple: Customers can sign-up for text message alerts revealing the day’s treasure, which could range from trending tech and the latest gear to seasonally relevant products. Sign up for text message notifications by texting “truck” to 24193.

After customers place their order on Amazon, they then select a convenient pickup location and time slot to get their item. In addition to the iconic trucks, customers can pick up their treasure at newly-launched vans, as well as kiosks located in select Amazon Books, Amazon Go, Whole Foods Market stores, and more.

To learn more and to sign up for alerts, click here, or sign up for text message notifications by texting “truck” to 24193. Don't sleep on these deals—the Treasure Truck will be rolling on to the next locale before you know it!

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