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Arts Council Granted Funds for Public Art

The Columbus Area Arts Council was awarded the Efroymson Award for Excellence in Cultural Tourism Development for the Columbus Indiana Sculpture Biennial. The $25,000 award was presented to Karen Shrode, executive director of the Arts Council, at the Midwest Cultural Tourism Conference on Monday, April 22, 2013 in Bloomington, IN.

The Arts Council’s grant application was one of 37 submitted by arts, cultural, and tourism organizations from five Midwest states that included Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois.

“This is a great day for the arts in Columbus,” said Shrode. “This award allows the Arts Council to once again bring the work of regionally and nationally recognized artists to our community. It will help to energize the newly-formed Columbus Arts District and serve as a tool to engage local residents and tourists in conversations on public art,” added Shrode.

Beginning in 2014, the Biennial will bring a collection of eight to ten large outdoor sculptures to Columbus and immerse observers in a dynamic physical experience with public art.  The rotation of temporary works on a two-year basis will encourage repeated visits by tourists and will help ensure continued engagement and dialogue within the local community.  “Having sculptures temporarily dot the Columbus landscape will expand the collective conversation regarding the arts and will supplement the city’s permanent public art collection in ever changing ways,” said Shrode.

The Columbus Indiana Sculpture Biennial will be an inaugural project of the newly created Columbus Arts District and hopefully serve as a launching point for the facilitation of a public art master plan for the city. This will include temporary works and an increase in the inventory of permanent works through purchase prizes. The sculptures will be sited in high-traffic areas and along the recently enhanced Columbus People Trail system. “There is a dynamic synergy here that draws on our internationally recognized reputation for art and architecture,” said Bryan Brunner, president of Columbus Area Arts Council board of directors. “This will help to elevate the conversation of the arts not only in Columbus, but throughout the Midwest,” added Brunner.

The Efroymson Award for Excellence in Cultural Tourism Development is awarded to a nonprofit organization for a creative, emerging cultural tourism initiative. The award is intended to recognize midwestern nonprofit institutions with annual budgets less than $1 million that have or will have demonstrated innovative ideas that attract new residents and visitors and promote the Midwest as a tourism destination. The grant criteria states the initiative should create substantial local economic impact and generate statewide or national attention as a cultural destination.