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Columbus OH 43215






Community Celebration
July 15 | Noon - 4:30 pm

The Cultural Arts Center is turning 40 this summer! On Sunday, July 15 we’re throwing a party to celebrate… and you are invited! Join us for food, artwork, demonstrations, performances and a community art project that will spread art all over town! All are welcome to attend this free event!

12:15 pm - Performance: Featuring Columbus Symphony Orchestra
                     (Randall Hester - Flute, Nathan Mills - Oboe, David Thomas - Clarinet, Betsy Sturdevant -
                      Bassoon, Brian Mangrum - French Horn)
  2nd Floor Stage

1:00 pm -  Poetry Readings: Featuring Lesley Jenike, Dionne Custer Edwards, and Keith
2nd Floor Stage

1:30 pm -  Movement Experiment: Featuring CAC Resident Dance Artist Nicole Garlando  

1:30 pm -  Unveiling of newly commissioned artwork by artist Tracy Steinbrook
 2nd Floor Stage

1:50 pm - Remarks
2nd Floor Stage

2:00 pm - Historian Ed Lentz talks about the history of the Cultural Arts Center Building
2nd Floor Stage

2:40 pm - Bob Loversidge, President of Schooley Caldwell and Associates, talks about the
                reuse and restoration of a historic Armory to a thriving arts center 
2nd Floor Stage

3:00 pm - Performance: Featuring Chamber Brews
2nd Floor Stage

3:30 pm - Poetry Readings: Featuring Joy Sullivan, James Croal Jackson, and Charlene Fix
2nd Floor Stage

4:00 pm - Performance: Featuring Transit Arts

CAC ART ROCKS!  is a community art project that we invite everyone to participate in during the entire length of the Community Celebration event on Sunday, July 15! CAC ART ROCKS!  is a creative approach to spread not only art but positivity and fun throughout the city! Participants can visit the CAC ART ROCKS!  table outside, in our Courtyard, during the event to design and create your very own art rock! Then we challenge you to take your rock to a Columbus Recreation and Parks Department park and leave it there for someone else to find and share! Help us spread creativity, positivity, and art throughout the city with this project. 

The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department has over 200 parks throughout Franklin County, so you are sure to discover a variety of outdoor fun while visiting a park at any location! We challenge you to take your CAC ART ROCKS!  to your favorite CRPD park, the one in your neighborhood, or to one you have never visited! At a CRPD park you can also find spaces to play, courts and facilities for athletics, pools for summer fun, and much more! Find a list of CRPD parks by clicking here! Happy hiding and finding CAC ART ROCKS! 

Food - Fetty’s food truck and the JPops treat cart

Games - Provided by the Friends of the Cultural Arts Center

Prizes -  Provided by CAC
                (Includes: (10) $40 gift certificates for CAC classes, 40th Anniversary Tees, & a limited edition Tracy Steinbrook

Caricatures - Provided by Vas Nini

Parking - Downtown meters are free on Sundays, Surface Lot corner of 2nd & Mound is $3

The Cultural Arts Center is housed in a renovated building that connects us to the earliest plans and places in our community's history. In 1812, the high east bank of the Scioto River was designated as the capitol of the new State of Ohio. In 1814, Columbus' first penitentiary was built on this plot of land only to be razed in the 1850's when The Ohio State Penitentiary was built at the corners of Spring and Neil Streets.

In 1861, this building, one of the first Ohio State Arsenals, designed specifically for the storage of arms, was completed at a cost of $14,000. It continued to operate as the Ohio State Arsenal until the mid-1970s.

In 1973, Melvin B. Dodge, then Director of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, toured the Arsenal and saw its unique possibilities. At the time, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department's very popular Adult Art Center was housed in a restored firehouse on Oak Street. The community glowed with praise for the artists and professional atmosphere that had emerged serendipitously in the proximity of our local art college. The firehouse was operating above capacity, serving hundreds of adults in various art classes each year. Dodge decided to move the Art Center from the over-crowded firehouse into the capacious Arsenal.

By 1975, at Governor James A. Rhodes’ order, the National Guard and the State of Ohio had negotiated a 99-year lease arrangement with the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.

The City of Columbus raised $250,000 to secure the development of the Center, and then Mayor Tom Moody signed the 99-year lease agreement for the sum of $1.00 per year. In 1976, Schooley-Cornelius Associates were chosen as architects from a field of eleven area architectural proposals. On December 24, 1976, the United States Department of Commerce for Economic Development Administration awarded a grant of $1,371,733.00 for Phase II of the renovation, and contract for the work was awarded to the Altman-Coady Company.

The Ohio State Arsenal was officially dedicated as the Columbus Cultural Arts Center on Monday, June 11, 1978. 

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