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Barricades become canvases for Short North public art project

Seven CCAD students have teamed up with the Short North Alliance to create a 23-piece art display that aims to beautify the eyesore construction of the High Street Streetscape Improvement Project. Credit: Courtesy of Short North Alliance

If the world is an artist’s canvas, then does that include construction barricades? Students from the Columbus College of Art and Design say yes.

On Monday, seven CCAD students and the Short North Alliance will begin installing ArtPaths, a 23-piece art display that aims to beautify the eyesore construction of the High Street Streetscape Improvement Project.

Betsy Pandora, executive director of SNA, said the idea came from the community business owners who are most affected by the ongoing changes.

“Construction changes the environment down here,” Pandora said. “Our community was learning about what it would look and feel like during the implementation of some really needed improvements … the idea was ‘hey, if we are going to see these barricades everywhere, is there a way we can make that feel like a Short North experience?’”   

The challenge for the selected CCAD artists was to create a cohesive design based on themes of change. Their final product features iconic Short North events like Dooh Dah Parade and Highball, as well as the community’s everyday pleasures such as dog walking and pizza eating.

Alma Kim, ArtPaths’ lead artist and a second-year at CCAD, said their goal is for this art to remind the community that though change can be chaotic and messy, the spirit of the Short North is still there.

Embracing this change and construction also is the goal of SNA, Pandora said.

“We’re kind of owning the fact that this is taking place this year,” she said. “We’re de-mystifying what it means to live our lives around all those orange barricades.”

To continue this acceptance of change and also capitalize on an opportunity for art, SNA is launching two other public art projects for 2018: ShortPop and Modulation.

These projects give artists like Hailey Corrigan, ArtParths contributor and a third-year at CCAD, as chance to show the community their support and appreciation.

“I came to Columbus from the east coast, so I was a complete stranger here,” Corrigan said. “But when I found the Short North it was like finding a little piece of heaven because the people are so wonderful, the stores are diverse and they’re so accepting of artists. I just hope this project gives to the Short North what it has given me.”

Project ArtPaths, the first of its kind for the City of Columbus, will be installed on more than 400 barricades throughout February. SNA’s artist call for its two other performing and public arts projects, ShortPop and Modulation, is open through March 5.

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