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VISITORS to the city over the Mill Race Marathon weekend had a lot to see and experience.
There was certainly the marathon itself and its attendant events.
There was the revitalized downtown, particularly the vibrant Fourth Street area. There were the city’s architectural attractions.
Scattered among all these community treasures, however, are a series of underappreciated benefits that local residents can appreciate every day — the public art of Columbus.
In a number of places within city limits, some of the world’s most recognized artists are represented in a variety of forms.
Jean Tinguely’s intricate “Chaos I” still draws stares from residents and visitors alike in The Commons.
Henry Moore’s “Large Arch” frames the iconic First Christian Church from the library plaza.
Dale Chihuly’s colorful glasswork lights up the Columbus Area Visitors Center and stretches the necks of visitors to the Columbus Learning Center.
Dessa Kirk’s “Eos” is a symbol of welcome to the city’s avenue of architecture — Fifth Street.
And Robert Indiana’s painting hanging in City Hall is a reminder of his Hoosier heritage, part of which includes the years he lived in Columbus as a child.
But those noted works are only a fraction of the outstanding public art that can be shared by visitor and resident alike.
The city’s collection gained an addition earlier this month when Columbus artist Andy J. Miller and a team of eager young “artisans” unveiled a huge and colorful mural on what had been a blank wall in kidscommons, the children’s museum of Columbus.
The whimsical creation is noteworthy in several respects. One is the collaborative approach taken by the lead artist in working with local children in developing the finished product.
Miller, a 2005 graduate of Columbus North High School, can be credited not only with the finished product but the equally important possibility that he might have inspired some of his young charges to exercise their own creative talents.
That he is a Columbus native is also important, especially when considering that numerous other examples of the city’s public art were created by local artists.
These works have not only been given prominent display in such venues as the large meeting room at City Hall, Mill Race Park and the Columbus Learning Center, but they have come to be in great part because of the patronage of local artists by local individuals and groups.
That patronage has run the gamut of supporters — from the grassroots organization known as the River Rats, which commissioned the paintings of five local characters by local artists that are displayed in the large meeting room of City Hall, to the collaboration of kidscommons, the Columbus Area Arts Council and the Columbus Museum of Art and Design in support of Miller’s mural project in kidscommons.
The community can take both pride and pleasure in these homegrown community treasures.
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