Bicentennial art exhibit
Last installment delves into city's past, envisions future
Denise Romecki's "Columbus Roots" depicts the LeVeque Tower in clay. Romecki's sculpture is one of around 50 Columbus-inspired pieces that will be on display during "Columbus: Then ... Now ... When?" through October at the Rhodes Tower, 30 E. Broad St.
The fourth and final exhibition of works by local artists in a series interpreting Columbus, its people and its history as part of the city's bicentennial will be on display in the lobby of the Rhodes State Office Tower during October.
The Rhodes Tower is located at 30 E. Broad St.
"Columbus: Then ... Now ... When?" is the final concept that co-curators Tom Baillieul and Jim Siemer began to develop in 2009 in anticipation of the city's 200th birthday.
"The response to the whole series has been more than we ever expected," said Baillieul, a Clintonville artist.
Previous installments in the series, the first of which was held a year ago, have portrayed Columbus as the crossroads of Ohio, the quintessential American town and a center for diversity, according to the announcement of the final exhibition.
This time around, Baillieul said, he and West Side artist Siemer wanted to come up with a theme that reflected the city over its 200-year history "but still keep it broad enough that we could draw in as many artists as possible and as many styles of art as possible."
"We wanted to provide a little bit of an opening for artists to become imaginative, go a little bit crazy if they wanted," Baillieul said.
Works on display in October, according to the announcement, will address the look of the city as it was during different decades; Columbus as it might appear in the future; its unique neighborhoods; the evolution of the arts as expressed across the city, across the centuries and across artistic traditions; and the dynamic nature of social issues that have shaped the city, from the Underground Railroad to the problems faced by immigrants and the destruction of neighborhoods by construction of interstate highways.
Pulling the four shows together has been entirely a volunteer effort, according to the announcement. Baillieul said he and Siemer aren't eligible for grant funding, nor do they have time to search for other sources of financial support.
"When we started out on this journey in 2009 at the urging of Councilwoman Priscilla Tyson, we never quite imagined what we were getting involved with," Siemer said.
The co-curators will hang the approximately 50 works in "Columbus: Then ... Now ... When?" on Saturday, Sept. 29. The mediums include watercolor, acrylic, oils, ceramics and collages, many of which "look to a greener Columbus in the future," Baillieul said.
The exhibition will also include some samples from the 114-page "The Public Book: Letters to Our Great-Great-Grandchildren," an art project created in 1992 with a mission similar to the series Siemer and Baillieul have put on. That project, which includes most fiber pieces, is in the possession of its curator, Clintonville resident Ann Alaia Woods, and is in need of a permanent home, Baillieul said.