By Nick Dekker
Posted On: Apr 14, 2021
From the largest cities to its smallest towns, public art is taking center stage in the Ohio's communities. Local artists can beautify buildings, invoke favorite historical figures or events, and create stunning destinations for visitors from all over.
Exploring public art is the perfect safe and socially distanced activity this spring, and with a variety of resources at your fingertips, it's easy to discover the state's ever-growing collection of murals, sculptures, creative light shows, architectural pieces, landscaping installations, and other sights.
Public art is a way to enliven neighborhoods and celebrate local identities. For instance, go check out the mural on Otie's Tavern & Grill in Old Hilliard. Curtis Goldstein's stunning work celebrates the city's founding as a railroad station while also highlighting Hilliard's official flower - the sunflower.
Likewise, Derek Brennen’s Ohio Proud mural – one of many pieces around Fostoria – highlights iconic Ohio sights, from cardinals to trains, barns to lighthouses.
Outside The Works museum in Newark, Renate Fackler's sculpture honors pioneering aviator Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world in 1964.
Many Ohio cities have made public art a specific focus, and that's help put them on the map. A great example is Hamilton. The city is dotted with sculptures, murals, and other pieces, from Kristen Visbal's iconic statue of its namesake on High Street, to its painted fire hydrants, to its murals galore. In fact, in 2000 the governor named Hamilton officially The City of Sculpture. For a concentrated number of sculptures, visit nearby Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, where 60+ pieces line the rolling hills.
Many neighborhoods are incorporating public art as an interactive way to feature local artists and guide visitors in exploring the area. The Short North Arts District in Columbus has commissioned several murals over the summer of 2020, including Adam Hernandez's Be The Light and the series of 11 Summer Spray murals. New technologies have also allowed public art to be interactive, like The Journey, a pair of stories-tall murals painted on the Graduate Hotel. Point your smartphone camera at the murals and watch them come to life on your screen!
Or what about Mandi Caskey's breathtaking We are stronger together mural, painted on an abandoned highway overpass in downtown Columbus.
Pro-tip: if you're posting a photo of yourself in front of a piece of public art, be sure to tag the artist!
Arts In Ohio is a partnership between the Greater Columbus Arts Council, Ohio Arts Council, TourismOhio, Experience Columbus, This is Cleveland, and CincinnatiUSA. In addition to public art, ArtsInOhio.com features a robust listing of arts events across the state, from concerts, exhibitions, and performances to film screenings, festivals, and literary events.
Many other groups strive to highlight public art in their communities, from ArtWork's mural tours in Cincinnati, to The Arts Commission's maps, guides, and commissioned work all around Toledo. The City of Dublin's Art in Public Places initiative has helped create memorable sculptures, while Akron's Public Art Program dedicates funds toward commissioning new works.