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Gallery Space: Hakim Callwood & Lauren Carter Best

Linda Lee Baird



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.”  


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 and on Instagram at Laurencarterbest. Hakim Callwood’s work is at and on Instagram at hakimsartnstuff.

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Winans Chocolates + Coffees is your source for the perfect gift this holiday season

614now Staff




Finding the perfect gift for all of the important people in your life can be a challenge. From a secret Santa at the office to the loved one who has everything, the stress of holiday shopping can be overwhelming. If only there was a surefire hit that is just right for all occasions...

For four generations, Winans Chocolates + Coffee has been the go-to for premium, handmade chocolates, freshly roasted coffees from around the globe, and gifts to delight everyone. This holiday season, Winans "12 Gifts of Christmas" has you covered with the perfect thing for those hard-to-please gift recipients in your life.

With a lineup of gift collections designed for personal gifting, corporate occasions, and even stocking stuffers, Winans has taken the guess work out of choosing the perfect gift. Winans also offers multiple size and price options in each category, providing a tailor-fit solution for any gifting scenario you might encounter.

With four locations to serve you in Central Ohio, including German Village, Downtown Columbus, Grandview Yard, and historic Dublin, Winans is the perfect place to score thoughtful, well-crafted (and delicious) gifts throughout the year. To learn more, visit

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Cabin Fever: 3 Scarlet Oak Retreats for the perfect winter getaway

Macon Overcast



Scarlet Oak Retreats marginate some of the most beautiful scenery in Hocking Hills. A business birthed early this decade, all three cabins–La Vigne Ridge, Water’s Edge, and Meant to Bee–of this privately-owned business are within a short distance of pure forested bliss. Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, and short, less populated trails can give anyone craving outdoor rejuvenation an escape, right near their lodging as well. What’s even more special: the attention to detail considered by Jason Tate and Amy Brettel Tate amongst their properties. Their passion for hospitality feels like gravity. Our conversation will help you understand why I just might be paying them a visit soon.

(614): While some of the hikes in Hocking Hills are popularly known, beauty isn’t spared anywhere in the park. What are some property features that visitors should know about?

JT: La Vigne Ridge sits in the middle of 10 private acres and is landscaped to resemble an English Garden. Water’s Edge sits in the middle of 15 acres and has a stocked pond. The front and back porch of both cabins have not only gorgeous views, but many woodland creatures (deer, turkey, butterflies, hummingbirds, etc.) that call both properties home. Meant to Bee is located in an upscale wooded area with other rental cabins. Although it sits on almost two completely wooded acres, it too has an abundance of wildlife.

(614): How does the story of Jason, Amy, and Scarlet Oak Retreats begin?

AT: Jason and I met while both teaching for Columbus City Schools. He taught special education and I taught (and still teach) gifted math. After a whirlwind romance, in 10 months we were married on Black Friday in 2003. We honeymooned in Hocking Hills and spent our honeymoon in a rustic cabin near Old Man’s Cave. We hiked and went horseback riding— despite the cold temperature. At some point during our honeymoon we talked and dreamed about our future. A seed had been planted... We were going to buy a cabin, rent it out, and eventually retire there.

(614): When in your life did all three coalesce to allow for you to start your business?

AT: As life would have it, we became very busy after our honeymoon. Although we always continued to talk about our dream, we put starting a family ahead of pursuing it. Due to infertility issues, we had a difficult time conceiving until 2007 when I became pregnant with twin girls. Our girls, Elizabeth and Victoria were born 24 weeks premature. Elizabeth weighed 1 pound and 11 ounces. Victoria weighed 1 pound 8 ounces and was with us for only 3 days.

The next several years were spent focusing on Elizabeth—who ended up spending 89 days in the NICU. After leaving the hospital, Elizabeth underwent multiple surgeries and therapies. Because we wanted her to have the best possible care, I took a two year leave of absence from CCS. Needless to say, money was tight. I didn’t return to work full time until the 2010-2011 school year. Although we always looked at properties and visited Hocking Hills, it wasn’t until 2013 that our dream “talks” became a “plan.”

(614): It is obvious—family comes first for you. It is ingrained in your history, inside the business and out. Even now, after being successful and established, how do you stay connected with your guests?

JT: La Vigne Ridge was not a rental cabin when we bought it in 2014. I spent what was left of my summer vacation getting it rental safe. Because we were teaching and living in Columbus, Amy worked on decorating the cabin and hiring a property manager. The night before school started in 2014, I handed over the keys to a property manager. Immediately, I regretted it. I knew I should have managed the property myself.

For two years we used more than one PM company to rent out La Vigne Ridge. With both companies we experienced calls going unanswered. We also noticed that as the management companies grew, the attention to detail and cleanliness fell off. In 2017 we decided to take on full management of La Vigne Ridge. Amy and I knew we wanted to put communication, customer service and cleanliness as top priorities. We want this to show to our guests. Now—we manage the property and answer our clients’ calls. We want to let them know that we are always going to be there for them.

For more information on Scarlet Oak Retreats, or to schedule your getaway, visit

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‘Burb Breakdown: Experience a winter wonderland in Westerville

614now Staff




Covering many vibrant communities across central Ohio, the 614 is so much more than just Columbus. Welcome to the ‘Burb Breakdown, an ongoing series highlighting the unique character of neighborhoods from across this sprawling metro area we call home. Today, we take a look at everything there is to enjoy in Westerville this winter.

With winter weather officially in full swing, there's no better time to showcase all of the fun to be found in Westerville for the holiday season. Check out these highlights from around town to warm your heart as temperatures drop!

Tree lighting and Santa spying | Westerville City Hall, 21 S State St. | Friday, Dec 6 beginning at 5 PM

Gather at Westerville City Hall for this beloved holiday event! This year, the familiar holiday tree lighting is joined by plenty of new features, including a pony carousel, petting zoo, and even ice skating: ($5 per half hour, skates provided, reservations suggested). Stick around for FREE hot cocoa and cookies with Santa, and enjoy a holiday character meet and greet featuring Elsa, Anna, Olaf from the hit movie Frozen!

Prohibition turns 100! Find out where it all started

The City of Westerville, Ohio was once known as the The “Dry Capital of the World,” when the Anti-Saloon League formed its headquarters where the Westerville Public Library now stands. Their efforts led to the 18th Amendment, which went into effect nationwide in January 1920, and forbade the “manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors.”

Prohibition was repealed in December 1933 with the ratification of the 21st Amendment, but left a lasting effect on the Westerville community. You can learn more about what an “alcohol-free America” looked like at The Westerville History Center & Museum's newest exhibit: Prohibition! Expectation vs. Reality. Travel back in time to the Prohibition era (1920-1933) and learn about unintended consequences and unexpected outcomes.

Visitors may also experience what life was like 100 years ago with interactive displays of historic objects, audio clips, photo-ops, and more. Learn more:

Check out the decor at Uptown Deli & Brew
Temperance Row Brewing is located within the popular Uptown eatery. They are “the first legal brewery in Westerville since Purley and Howard (Anti-Saloon League Founders) came to town.

Order a brew like Corbin’s Revenge (a nod to the saloon owner who had his establishment blown up by dynamite…twice!) or Forty Ton Porter (a reference to the amount of mail leaving Westerville to promote Prohibition) and learn more from restaurant decor featuring pictures from the characters of the day.

Save-the-date for 2020’s Uptown Untapped
You just missed the third-annual version of the event in October, but it’s not too early to make plans to attend next year. Check host organization Uptown Westerville Inc.’s website ( for the date. Uptown Untapped features local craft breweries, musicians and bands.

Uptown is your holiday hot-spot
Get ready for the holidays by visiting Uptown Westerville, a historic downtown that has successfully transitioned to new-generation dining, shopping and entertainment. Experience the charm of more than 40 shops and boutiques, nine dining establishments and more.

Shop small for the holidays! Our family-owned boutiques and shops are the best destination in the Columbus region to celebrate Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday on November 30.

Give thanks to veterans and first responders

Stroll through Uptown the month of November and you'll notice more than 70 banners celebrating the men and women who have served in U.S. Armed Forces from WWII to current-day conflicts to protect our freedoms. Have a Westerville connection? Visit to learn how you can honor your veteran with a banner in the 2020 program.

Dedicated to ALL first responders, the expanded and renovated First Responders Park is now open. This is the perfect place to honor those who protect us with their lives. The names of Westerville Division of Police officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering, (killed in the line of duty on February 10, 2018) as well as fallen firefighter, David Theisen, are inscribed on a memorial wall where you can reflect and remember.

Piece “C-40,” originally from the north tower of the World Trade Center, stands as centerpiece to the park. Visit the park at nightfall to experience how light has been incorporated into the experience, and come back in the spring to see the memorial wall fountain.

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