The Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority has officially opened a new 8-floor garage on Goodale Street, near the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
But it includes more than just parking spaces. Mike Foley explains.
It’s a garage unlike any other as the typical dull walls around the elevators are transformed with the work of local artists. Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority board member Barbara Nicholson says it’s part of a commitment to infuse Columbus art into all of the Authority’s facilities.
“And as you walk floor by floor in this garage today, you will see 8 Art Park creations made by Columbus aspiring and professional artists. Our community and especially the Short North is an arts community and as part of the Short North, it’s only appropriate that our facilities serve as an extension of it. The art we’ve chosen reflects the rich diversity of this city.”
“My name is Eric Rausch, and we’re standing in front of the piece I collaborated on with my wife Jen Kiko. The piece is called Fish Marks The Spot. It’s a handmade ceramic tile mosaic. We rolled out 3,000 pounds of clay and cut specific tiles that are basically little puzzle pieces that go together. All of them are one of a kind. We needed to make something bright, colorful and memorable for the parking garage here at the convention center. The opportunity was amazing. Now our artwork is permanently installed in the Short North in our capital city. That holds so much more meaning. I have a three-year-old daughter now and as she grows up, this is always going to be here. It’s really part of us. A friend came up and said I can see your blood on every tile and I said literally some of them. We just put everything we had into it and that we get support from the top down is really meaningful.”
“Hi, my name is Jennifer Dunlap and my piece is called Pax, and it’s a glass tile mosaic. This is 200,000 tiles, and I’ve probably touched each one two or three times. Inspiration was that I was going to be on the top floor and thought it would be neat for clouds to see. You can see it at night lit up on I-670 and that’s really cool. The grout has little sparkles in it so it looks lighter and darker depending on what tiles it’s next to. It looks really nice in the morning with a little sun on it. This is really amazing for Columbus to have this art. We went to San Diego recently which is a beautiful city and they have the ocean and the mountains but the downtown didn’t have the art. And I think it makes Columbus more livable having art.”
“David Cooke, my wall is to celebrate the inner city parks in Columbus. So I painted two panels that were ten foot in length and then the image was blown up 300% and printed onto the tiles and worked into the painting are the names of all of the inner city parks that Columbus offers its community. And the discovery was when the piece was enlarged 300%, you get all these interesting textural elements that come up on the tiles and adds a lot of depth to the painting. I think it’s such a positive unexpected experience for visitors to our city. It’s a tremendous commitment of the county to support local artists and allow us to have this once in a lifetime. Who else gets to have a 30-foot wall in a public space.”
Officials say the infusion of art creates memorable moments for visitors and residents and in the case of the parking garage, helps customers remember which floor they’re on. The parking fees at the Goodale garage will pay off the bonds that funded its construction. An enclosed elevated walkway will eventually connect the garage with the convention center, which continues its own significant renovation. The entire expansion is scheduled to wrap up in July of next year.