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Got an idea? Urban Arts Space can help

Morgan Green began volunteering with the Art Bridge Studio during her sophomore year. She had worked at the studio, a smaller part of the United Cerebral Palsy of Central Ohio, once a week for almost a year when, in a meeting with an adviser, she found a way to increase her contribution to the association.

Her adviser suggested Idea Lab, a grant program for Ohio State students in collaboration with the Urban Arts Space. The Urban Arts Space is meant to “function as an art lab and a professional launching pad for Ohio State staff and students,” said Rachel Smith, coordinator of the Idea Lab.

Idea Lab, now in its second year, is a “student run project development program,” Smith said.

“What we do is, students have an idea — it can be a community project, an art exhibition — and we can help them with that,” Smith said. “If you have a really good idea, you just need a push. This program is set up to do exactly that.”

Students can receive up to $2,000 in grant money, but the amount varies with each project, Smith said.

After learning more about the program, Green decided to apply.

“It was money to do something I normally wouldn’t be able to do,” said Green, a fourth-year in education. “There were things I wanted to do with the Studio, but I just couldn’t use my own money.”

Applicants are required to submit a proposal, loosely outlining their intentions and plans.

“It doesn’t have to be finalized,” Smith said. “We help people finalize.”
Green’s proposal was to organize an art collaboration between the artists with disabilities she had been working with at the Art Bridge Studio and fellow OSU student artists.

The disabled artists “don’t really get a chance to interact with the art community,” Green said.

Green was one of five people chosen from around 30 applicants for the program last year. She organized five visits to the studio throughout Winter Quarter, pairing five student artists, including herself, with a disabled artist. Each set of artists worked on two paintings.

“I was able to organize and also to participate,” Green said. “At first, I was freaking out because I couldn’t find a fifth artist and then I realized I could be a part of this too.”

In addition to the studio visits, Green and the other Idea Lab participants were required to attend four to six workshops at the Urban Arts Space, including a marketing workshop with a professor from the Fisher School of Business.

“We don’t have a set amount of workshops,” Smith said. “They are very tailored to the projects that are selected. In general, there are workshops on event planning, project management and marketing.”

The Idea Lab program lasts for roughly two quarters, winter and spring, ending with a presentation of all the student projects.

Students are also encouraged to take their projects further and Green was able to do so.

“I actually organized a tour of the paintings to three galleries in the summer,” she said.

Applications are currently being accepted for the program until Jan. 15. Chosen participants are usually notified in early February, Smith said.

“We’re hoping to get a lot of diversity. It’s not just visual arts or art-related at all,” Smith said. “We’re looking for innovation and ideas that help the community.”

For Green, the program provided an opportunity that she wouldn’t have otherwise had.

“You get to use all these resources — financial support and programming help,” she said. “We’re all college students with no money. It was great to have that opportunity. No matter what, I would encourage people to apply.”

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