Will Schuck wants Reynoldsburg residents to experience art in their own city without having to "go into Columbus or Gahanna or somewhere else."

Schuck, an author and publisher, has called Reynoldsburg home since 2004. He and a group of organizers are launching the Reynoldsburg Arts Forum in an effort to bring more opportunities for artists and art lovers to the city.

"I looked for ways to get involved with the arts and most of what was available was in the city of Columbus or surrounding suburbs," Schuck said. "I started a Facebook discussion group about a year ago, and it went from there. We want to network all of these various parts of the art community and bring them together in and around Reynoldsburg. We have lots of people who are writers or painters or sculptors, and we have lots of musicians and this is going to provide a way for them to get to know each other and provide some venues with the community."

The Reynoldsburg Arts Forum hopes to hold its first events this year, including an illustrator series and a judged art event.

Robert Barga is the group's vice president. He is planning a "paint in the park" event later this year at Blacklick Woods Metro Park, 6975 E. Livingston Ave.

"It's a way for us to express different aspects of our community but also to bring people together in ways that go beyond politics," Barga said. "We're really here to facilitate bringing outside entities into Reynoldsburg and making connections. It's the ground floor, but if you look at the history of any artistic movement in any community, it's started with a small movement and it spread from there."

A member of the Reynoldsburg Board of Education, Barga said he'd "love to see a full-scale partnership" with area schools.

Miguel O. Lopez hopes to work with the Arts Forum to bring literature and music to the city, with a focus on showing children there's other forms of entertainment beside video games and apps.

"I think arts will keep kids busy," said Lopez, who owns Your Book My Book, a podcast and website that promotes local and self-published authors. "There's a link that is missing today with kids on reading literature, writing and being creative. A lot of people are very creative, but they don't know it. I know you might think you're not but there's a lot of creative things that you do throughout the day.

"We want an organization where we can see creative people prosper."

Organizers eventually want the group to be granted non-profit status, but for now the work is focused on getting it off the ground.

"We're talking to people in other arts organizations, and we're putting together a plan for how we want to roll out our organization. Ideally, we want to put some organization around the arts community in Reynoldsburg and provide an opportunity for people in the arts in the Reynoldsburg area to share their work and share their talents, with the community," Schuck said. "This organization doesn't have any hidden agenda, and it doesn't have anything to do with politics. This is purely an organization for the arts for artists, for people who love art and want to get to know it."

For more information visit schuckspeare.wixsite.com/reynarts or facebook.com/reynoldsburgarts/

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