Photo by Chris Nash

Fall Arts Guide

Summertime is for outdoor festivals; for sweating in the sun and taking chances on food trucks while local bands play under the stars. It’s the time to see artists scrawling outside and lick ice cream cones while walking around the city spying murals. In other words, the summer is the time for art lite, little Scooby snacks of culture during the go-outdoors or go-home days.

But now, while autumn demands light sweater consideration, thoughts turn from giddy to introspective: leaves change, life turns inward, and time becomes serious. The arts calendar follows this cycle, as well; this fall, Columbus steps it up with deep as well as delightful arts offerings across all mediums.
The grand institutions are overflowing with choice offerings this fall – however, while these big fish keep the currents flowing, it’s the little fish that makes our scene so eclectic and energized.

Shadowbox Live
Occupying the space left of the dial is Shadowbox Live, who is also celebrating their 25th Anniversary this season. The largest resident theatre company in the U.S., non-profit Shadowbox is a grant-free zone and operates completely through ticket sales. Known for rock ’n’ roll, NSFW cabaret shows, and more energy than a split atom, Shadowbox has gone from performing in a cavernous warehouse space to the Short North to Easton and, now, to the Brewery District, complete with café.

The roster of shows this season includes Freak Show, Burlesque Biographie, Reefer Madness the Musical, and Opera on the Edge: Pagliacci (presented with Opera Columbus). It’s the return, however, of two of the cabaret’s favorite productions that make the fall season pop: Evo, Shadowbox’s original rock ‘n roll carnival that had an off-Broadway run in 1996, and Gallery of Echoes, a collaboration between Shadowbox and the Columbus Museum of Art.

If you’ve never experienced a Shawdowbox production, now is the time. This raucous, rowdy group of talented performers glows bright on our theatre skyline. For season details, visit

The Wexner Center
This year, the modern-art mecca celebrates 25 years of exposing Central Ohio – and sometimes the world – to the cutting edge of expression in all its forms. From its opening day in November 1989 to today, the Wex has nurtured emergent artists from all over the world, while also nurturing the local community as audience, bringing us along gently down the twists and turns of the avant-garde.

From its noodle-y grand hall to its iconic white framework, the space itself is an artistic experience, sitting as it does where the grids of Columbus and the Ohio State University meet. To celebrate, the Center will be hosting an epic yearlong celebration that includes old favorites and new talents.

Filling the slanted galleries this fall will be Transfigurations: Modern Masters from the Wexner Family Collection. Calling it “an unpredecented exhibition of the personal collection of Leslie and Abigail Wexner,” the show will feature works by such luminaries as Picasso and Degas. Taking the various stages will be Edinburgh Festival hit The Events, featuring our beloved community choir Harmony Project; Landfall, a collaboration between avant-garde grand dame Laurie Anderson and the quirky Kronos Quartet; Rising, an acclaimed program uniting traditional Indian dance with the contemporary by British dance sensation Aakash Odedra (the show’s debut on our shores), and New Society, from performance artist, writer, and provocateur, Miranda July. The Film/Video Theater will host conversations with noted filmmakers, from France’s Catherine Breillat and documentarian Beth B. to director Terry Zwigoff. Also, look for Buster Keaton’s comedy The General, presented with live accompaniment from the Alloy Orchestra and a restoration of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

For details on the Wexner Center’s elaborate 25th anniversary season, visit plus, meet the Wexner family, here.

Wild Goose Creative
Throughout the month of September, Wild Goose will add a gallery flair to social media. Across all of the collective’s platforms (@wildgoosecreative), Facebook and Twitter (@wild_goose) – there will be daily art postings throughout September. Up to 10 original pieces by a local artist will be showcased with the hashtag #wildartcolumbus. At the end of each day, the artist will check out the posts and see which of his or her works received the most likes and commentary. At the end of the month, each crowd-pleasing piece from each artist will be auctioned off at a pop-up gallery on September 30 at the Old North space. All proceeds will benefit the artist, as well as feed the geese.

OAC Riffe Center Gallery
Who: Ohio artists
What: Sky High
Where: Riffe Center
Why: Creative exploration of the atmosphere
When: Through October 19
Tagline: Everyone looks up

Available Light Theatre
Who: New show from Matt Slaybaugh
What: Dirty Math 2016
Where: Riffe Center Studio Two theatre
Why: Because we need super heroes to save the economy
When: September 4 – 20
Tagline Time travel, hello?

Cultural Arts Center
Who: New Mixed Media Works by Christine Guillot Ryan, curated by Eric Rausch
What: Converging BOUNDARIES
Where: Cultural Arts Center, W. Main St.
Why: Mixed media is the ADD of the art world
When: Reception: September 5, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., through October 4
Tagline: Surfing the boundary between tangible and intangible

OSU Urban Arts Space
Who: Columbus pathologist and artist Amy Price
What: Art in the Shadows
Where: Lazarus Building, 50 W. Town St.
Why: Experience the beauty of blood, urine, biopsies, and tumors from under a microscope
When: September 6 – October 4
Tagline Bodies are cool and really, really weird

Who: Hometown theatre company
What: Forever Plaid
Where: Riffe Center Studio Three Theatre
Why: Singing doo-wop ghosts
When: Opens September 25
Tagline: Even the dead get another chance

Columbus Museum of Art
Who: International artists and collectives
What: In __ We Trust: Art and Money
Where: Columbus Museum of art, 480 E. Broad St.
Why: Whether you want it or have it, money is common to all
When: October 1 through February 28
Tagline: Money changes everything

Who: Local art collectors
What: Underground Collectors
Where: Tacocat Collective
Why: Collecting art is not just for the 1%
When: Opening reception October 3, 6-9 p.m.
Tagline: It doesn’t have to match your couch

CAPA presents
Who: Under the Streetlamp
What: Under the Streetlamp w/Gentleman’s Rule
Where: Palace Theatre
Why: American radio, from doo-wop to the Beatles, comes alive
When: October 4
Tagline: The Rat Pack lives

Broadway Series
Who: Tony-awarding winner show
What: The Lion King
Where: Ohio Theatre
Why: You have to ask?
When: October 14-November 9
Tagline: It’s the circle of life, yo

Jazz Arts Group
Who: Carly Thomas Smith
What: A Night at the Movies
Where: Southern Theatre
Why: A chance to see a Broadway diva in person
When: October 23-26
Tagline: The soundtrack of our lives

Who: Hometown ballet
What: Innovations
Where: BalletMet Performance Space
Why: World Premiere contemporary dance in a small space
When: October 24 – November 8
Tagline: So close, you can hear them breathe

Gary Muzechuk: Art of the Ohio State University Buckeyes
Just the other day, I was having an iced mocha at Upper Cup Coffee on Parsons. The brick walls were adorned with gorgeous, realistic paintings by Gary Muzechuk, showcasing the Ohio State University’s football culture. From the patron saint of the Buckeyes, Woody Hayes, to a lovingly rendered portrait of the ’Shoe, the show is a perfect run-up to football season. Turns out Muzechuk is a favorite of Buckeye fans and will be in town this September to talk to collectors and sign prints. He’ll be holding court at College Traditions for the first two home games for pre-game hanging out: September 6, 2 – 8 p.m. and September 13, 8 a.m. – noon.

Tracers Takes Over
The Ohio State University’s Hopkins Hall gallery is getting taken over this September by a group of radical, fantastical feminist artists who believe that believes in social and gender justice for everyone. Putting together the takeover is Columbus-born Chicago resident and international film artist extraordinaire, Jennifer Reeder, and multimedia community collaborator par excellence, Melissa Vogley Woods. The group will outfit Hopkins hall with an interactive timeline of feminism, a reading room, lunchtime readings, panel discussions, a youth poetry workshop, and more. There will be objects and artifacts on display to inspire and encourage conversation about gender justice. Throughout the show, there will be co-sponsored events taking place throughout the community. Tracers Takes Over opens with a reception on September 4th from 4:40 – 5:30 p.m. and runs through October 3rd.