Columbus, OH

New passport program encourages exploration of Columbus’ artistic, cultural landmarks

The Lantern
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Columbus residents can feel like tourists in their own city with the help of the new Columbus Makes Art Passport program. Credit: Courtesy of Alan Jazak of Formation Studio

Columbus residents can feel like tourists in their own city with the help of the new Columbus Makes Art Passport program.

The program supplies Columbus residents with a free booklet of cultural and artistic locations and events to explore, boasting 66 participating locations, Lacey Luce, digital marketing strategist for the Greater Columbus Arts Council, said. Luce said the passport is designed to encourage Columbus residents to visit some of the city’s artistic and cultural gems in a way that feels new and exciting.

The program is available Sept. 1 through Oct. 31, made possible by the arts council.

“By doing something that’s spread over two months, people can kind of choose their own adventure and cherry-pick the things they want to go to,” Luce said. “This is our way of helping out not only our organizations, but also our community. We’re trying to make this something that’s fun for people to do and to get the people out, but in a way that feels a bit safer and a little more responsible.”

The passport features a wide variety of locations and events including the Columbus Museum of Art, Franklin Park Conservatory, Gateway Film Center, the Wexner Center for the Arts and a free concert at the Columbus Commons featuring the band MojoFlo. Many of the stops are either free or offer days with free admission,  and others offer special discounts to passport holders, Luce said

“We don’t ever want the arts in Columbus to not be accessible to people simply based on income,” Luce said. “Obviously, the arts often need to make money and artists need to be paid. However, we also want to make sure there are opportunities for people to enjoy the arts and engage in the arts that aren’t reliant upon extra disposable income.”

Luce said prospective “tourists” can retrieve their passports at one of the program’s many pickup locations spread throughout the city. As they visit each one of the locations, their passports will be stamped with unique stickers designed by Columbus-based artists.

Starting Sept. 28, Luce said participants can redeem their passports online for prizes based on the number of stickers they’ve accumulated. Prizes range from stickers and trading cards to signed artist prints.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Carnegie Gallery, which features established and emerging Ohio artists, is one of the many free stops on the passport, according to the program’s website .

“We’re always looking for ways to support the local art scene and welcome people to our Carnegie Gallery,” Ben Zenitsky, spokesperson for the library, said. “Social distancing is still the norm, and so this is a great way to rediscover the city and support local artists, all while doing so safely on your own and not as part of a large group or a big event.”

The Carnegie Gallery will present a new exhibition that combines the written word and visual art, “THE WRITING IS ON THE WALL,” through Oct. 28, according to its website . Zenitsky said those with the library are excited to have its gallery and its latest exhibition featured in the passport program alongside many other notable institutions.

“At Columbus Metropolitan Library, our vision is a thriving community where wisdom prevails and a thriving community is filled with culture and arts and diversity of voice,” Zenitsky said. “We are privileged to have so many wonderful arts institutions here in central Ohio and to count ourselves among them.”

The Columbus Makes Art Passport program will run through Oct. 31, and the last day to redeem passports for prizes is Dec. 1. More information about participating locations and passport pickup locations can be found on the program’s website .

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