Photo courtesy of BalletMet

Fall Arts Guide

Flip-flops and popsicles, breezy outdoor movies and sweaty concerts make the summer months an outdoor playground for the arts. Festivals celebrate culture and community, street art and street food, sunshine smiles and lukewarm liquor. Now that the dog days are panting toward the finish line, the autumn winds blow their cooling breeze and the arts scene starts to head inside. Recess is over and it’s time to get serious. Like the fall casts away the summer blockbusters and ushers in Oscar seriousness, Columbus arts events hit a deeper note than the previous months’ pop sugar. Our major institutions are upping the ante this season, putting Columbus on the national  radar, while our smaller, intimate spaces are digging deep into the well of local talent.

GCAC Art Makes Columbus/Columbus Makes Art

Earlier last summer, the Greater Columbus Arts Council—in partnership with Columbus Cultural Leadership Consortium, AEP Ohio, Cardinal Health, PNC Bank, Dispatch Media Group, and The Columbus Foundation—debuted the Art Makes Columbus/Columbus Makes Art campaign to focus on the crazy deep bench of creative talent we have in the capital city. The touchstone piece of the innovative program is the website, which is a go-to portal for up-to-date information on events and activities.

There is also a growing collection of videos that tell the story of local artists and their connection to Columbus. Painters, dancers, jewelry-makers, actors, musicians, designers, and more are featured in these vignettes of cultural celebration. Dedicating to raising awareness about the creative class in Central Ohio, this initiative will run through 2020.


Columbus College of Art & Design

Bits and pieces of my family lived in New York, and for a long time I would get so jealous when they would call and be like, “Yeah, we’re going to see (insert Pulitzer Prize-winning author here) speak tonight, no big whoop.”

Looking over CCAD’s fall arts offerings, however, I can now respond with, “Really? Well, I’m gonna check out Art Spiegelman in conversation with Jeff Smith (October 3) and poetry genius Terrance Hayes (December 10). Oh, and Mr. Hoop Dreams director Steve James introduces his new doc Life Itself here on November 5, so there, ya snobs!”

CCAD is on a roll this fall. First off, on September 10, the esteemed college will be renaming its Canzani Center gallery as the CCAD Contemporary Art Space and presenting as its first exhibition Charles Atlas: The Waning of Justice. A pioneer of American film/video work, Atlas will be in the house for an opening night talk with Le Tigre’s Johanna Fateman.

Throughout the fall months, there will be exhibits by a wide range of contemporary artists including MJ Bole, Beverly Fishman, Cordy Ryman, and more. There will also be visiting artists from the worlds of design, graphic novels, fiction, scholarship, and poetry discussing their work. For details and more event info, visit


Opera Columbus

Let’s be honest: the only knowledge most of us have about opera is that scene from Pretty Woman. Remember when Edward says to Vivian, “People’s reactions to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic; they either love it or they hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don’t, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul.”


If you want to test the waters of opera, dip your toe into Opera Columbus’s “Opera on the Edge” programming. This fall, our local company will serve up Verdi’s La Traviata, a passionate and tragic love story—as if there’s any other kind. Presented at Shadowbox’s Backstage Bistro and The Refectory, Verdi’s classic tale of love across class lines is the exact same work that Edward and Vivian see in the movie.

Shadowbox performances will be held Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, October 5 through November 15. Call the ‘box for tickets, (614) 416-7625.

Refectory performances are on October 30 and November 13 and will include a four-course meal, limited to 36 seats per night. Call 614-451-9774 for reservations.


OSU Urban Arts Space

Continuing a recent tradition of showcasing the collections of avid art lovers—for example, the Wexner Collection at the eponymous center on campus—OSU is once again filling the fall season with a look at an amazing personal collection—Open This End: Contemporary Art from the Collection of Blake Byrne. This time the honoree is Blake Byrne, a television broadcasting veteran and current head of The Skylark Foundation, a philanthropic group that focuses on issues of social justice and diversity. Byrne’s parents attended Ohio State so the collector feels a connection to the school. Also, when he used to visit town several decades ago, Byrne often stopped by the Lazarus department store—which now houses the Urban Arts Space—to visit his grandmother, a seamstress.

Byrne, who began focusing on contemporary art in the late-‘80s, will share works by such renowned names as Andy Warhol, Kehinde Wiley, Gerhard Richter, Marlene Dumas, Mike Kelley, and many others. In addition to Urban Arts Space, works will also be shown at OSU’s Hopkins Hall, and a site-specific piece by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (For Parkett), will be installed on the former Long’s Bookstore facade.

In addition to the exhibits, which will run through November 7, there will be two panel discussions. You don’t own the work, you only rent it”: Philanthropy, Ethics, and Art  on September 24 at Sullivant Hall will feature Byrne himself alongside OSU art heavyweights. The next event will be Where We Are Now: 30 Years of HIV/AIDS Research featuring Dr. Michael Para, a leader in HIV research, and Joseph Wolin, Open This End curator, among others. The exhibit itself contains numerous works speaking to social issues of the time, including the HIV/AIDS crisis. This will also take place in Sullivant Hall on October 1.

For more details, visit


Columbus Museum of Art

Anyone who spends time in the Discovery District has watched the CMA emerge from construction dust to its almost-ready-to-open new look. The amazing gardens on the west side of the building have held us in thrall since last year, while the floating cube of green glass beckons. Well, curious cats, the wait is this close to being over. On October 25, the new 50,000-square-foot wing will make its public debut.

The unveiling will feature Keeping Pace: Eva Glimcher and Pace/Columbus as its debut exhibition. The Pace Gallery, founded by Arne Glimcher in 1960, proved to be a cornerstone in American modern and contemporary art history. There are eight locations throughout the world and for a time, 1965-82, there was an outpost here in Columbus. The gallery not only brought in famous names, but it also helped to build an appreciation and enthusiasm for modern works in the city. Keeping Pace will showcase the works of six Pace regulars: Jim Dine, Jean Dubuffet, Louise Nevelson, Lucas Samaras, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. If you don’t know at least four of those artists, you need to turn in your art card. Or hurry there on opening day to get up to speed.

The show runs through January 17.

Concurrently, Imperfections By Chance: Paul Freeley Retrospective, 1954-1966 will also hang at the CMA. A modernist artist who not only produced his own canonical work, Freeley also championed other innovators of his time, such as Jackson Pollack. The last look back on the Bennington College professor’s work was in 1968 at the Guggenheim. This show will run through January 10.

For all the grand reopening events, visit


The Wexner Center

One would think the Wex couldn’t top last season’s 25th anniversary slate of offerings, but, well, it looks like that might be the case. A one-stop shop for all things contemporary art—from exhibitions to film to theatre productions and dance—this fall has the Wexner Center pulling in artists that are daring, thought-provoking, and singular.

After Picasso: 80 Contemporary Artists opens September 19. Part one of this conversation started a year ago with the Transfigurations: Modern Masters from the Wexner Family Collection show, which featured 19 works by the master, and After Picasso picks up where Transfigurations left off. Picasso’s peers such as Brassaï, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Henri-Cartier Bresson, and Dora Maar will be represented, as well as contemporary luminaries like Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Cindy Sherman, William Wegman, Louise Lawler, Sigmar Polke, Amy Sillman, and Fred Wilson. Works will encompass myriad mediums, from photography to screen-printing to paintings. This year, the Wex will debut a new toy for visitors to really get into the art through an augmented reality app that—via video, photos, and content—will allow the work and the artist to come alive by means of iPads provided by the center.

Of course, that monumental exhibit is not all. Wexner Center film and video department will be showcasing more reel-to-reel adventures than can be catalogued here. From the Contemporary Screen Series to one-offs of works rarely seen in the Midwest, such as a presentation of the Best of the Ottawa International Animation Festival (October 27), the Wex is truly the place for film lovers of all kinds. Two series deserve special mention: Visiting Artists and Picture Lock: 25 Years of Film/Video Residencies at the Wex. Both will highlight genius works of film and video, as well as hosting the filmmakers and artists to share their insights and creative experiences.

On the performance end of the spectrum, the Wex continues to showcase cutting-edge performers in music, dance, and theatre. This fall, jazz notes will echo throughout the building, and the series will kick off with a preview party at Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza on September 28. One highlight is the live mash-up of innovative musicians Kneebody and Daedelus on November 6. Kneebody whips up classical, jazz, pop, and hip-hop concoctions, while Daedelus pumps in the electronica. Flemish choreographer Jans Jan Martens is a buzzy, hip name on the contemporary dance scene, as his work seeks to deconstruct the relationship between those on stage and those in the seats. On October 8 and 9, the Wex will host performances of Sweat Baby Sweat, and on October 11 and 12, audiences will be treated to his other best-known work, The Dog Days are Over.

The fall’s only theatrical production, The Object Lesson by Geoff Sobelle, takes the stage October 28-31. An exploration of the stuff we carry with us, the play pokes and prods at humans’ urge to consume and keep, an accumulative conversation about consumerism and nostalgia.

As always, there are a variety of public events, artists’ talks, and community celebrations sprinkled throughout the autumn calendar. For all details and ticket and membership information, visit

The King Arts Complex

Who: Aaron Diehl and Cecile McLorin Salvant

What: History of Columbus Jazz

Where: KAC Pythian Theatre, 867 Mt. Vernon Ave.

Why: Ohio’s connection to the invention and evolution of jazz

When: September 12-13

Tagline: Ohio proud!



400 West Rich

Who: Sue Cavanaugh

What: Gatherings III

Where: 400 W Rich St.

Why: Three 35-foot, hand-gathered and painted parachutes

When: Through September 26

Tagline: Parachutes!



Ohio Craft Museum

Who: 38 emerging artists

What: Fresh Perspectives: Young Artists with Ohio Connections

Where: 1665 W Fifth Ave.

Why: Support young artists!

When: September 13–October 25

Tagline: The future is now.



Columbus Jazz Group

Who: Shine On featuring Michel Occhipini

What: The Universe of John Lennon

Where: Lincoln Theatre, 769 E Long St.

Why: Fab Four classics through the New Age Jazz lens

When: September 19

Tagline: The Beatles are the gift that keeps on giving.




Who: BalletMet dancers plus three renowned choreographers

What: Breaking Ballet

Where: Capitol Theatre, Riffe Center, 77 S High St.

Why: The arc of ballet, from classic Balanchine to artistic director Edwaard Liang

When: October 2-10

Tagline: Dances set to Tchaikovsky, Cyndi Lauper, and David Bowie!



Lindsay Gallery

Who: Joey Monsoon

What: Show of large works in oil

Where: 986 N High St.

Why: A beloved local artist stretches his point of view

When: Artist reception—October 4, 6-9 p.m.

Tagline: Bringing the mural inside



Cultural Arts Center

Who: ARC industries artists

What: The Hero Within—Imagination & Identity

Where: 139 W Main St.

Why: The gallery will be turned into a gigantic board game.

When: October 9–November 11

Tagline: Take your own heroic journey!




Who: CATCO company

What: The Elephant Man

Where: Capitol Theatre, Riffe Center, 77 S High St.

Why: A Tony Award-winning play fresh off an amazing Broadway revival

When: October 21–November 8

Tagline It’s all about heart.



Columbus Dance Theater

Who: CDT company dancers

What: Dancers Making Dances

Where: Fisher Theatre, 592 E Main St.

Why: New choreography from company members

When: October 23-24

Tagline: Dance is life!



Available Light Theatre

Who: Matt Slaybaugh adapts James Joyce’s seminal novel

What: Dedalus, A Portrait of the Artist

Where: Studio Two, Riffe Center, 77 S High St.

Why: Because honestly, who understood the novel in high school?

When: November 5-21

Tagline Lapsed Catholic turns guilt into art



Thurber House Evenings with Authors

Who: Audrey Niffenegger

What: The bestselling author of the The Time Traveler’s Wife visits with Ghostly, an anthology of the best ghost stories, like, ever

Where: Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E Broad St.

Why: Everyone loves creepy tales.

When: November 11

Tagline: We’re all haunted by something.



Columbus Symphony Orchestra

Who: CSO plus guest performers

What: CSO’s Hollywood Festival, including a John Williams tribute

Where: Ohio Theatre, 39 E State St.

Why: Iconic film scores, loud and live

When: November 13-15

Tagline: You never forget a great score.