In this series, join us as we explore Columbus’ most vibrant neighborhood, the Short North. In five segments, we’ll introduce you to the series and then detail the neighborhood’s surprising history, world-class arts and culture scene, stellar lineup of events, and unparalleled dining and drinking options. Thanks for checking out our Short North Series.
From Columbus to Nashville to Austin, and everywhere in between, public art is having a moment.
In the era of Instagram, we’re better appreciating art that is visible from streets, sidewalks, alleys and parks, creating a more enjoyable pedestrian experience. And the Short North is second to none.
These public art works are much more than just a place to pose for pictures. They make you think and feel. They evoke an emotional response. And they’re why the Short North is called the “Art and Soul of Columbus.”
As part of the Short North Mural Series—a partnership of the Short North Alliance and 13 partner galleries and art institutions, with the support of the Greater Columbus Arts Council—many of the neighborhood’s classic brick buildings are host to rotating murals. These high-resolution images of art works are printed on vinyl and adhered to the buildings to look like they are painted on.
Here’s a list of the Short North’s coolest murals—some temporary, some permanent—based on an extremely unscientific observation of the most Instagrammed ones, along with our own not-so-scientific opinion of what’s cool. 😎 (note: we’re sticking just to High Street for this list but, yes, the sideways Mona Lisa is dope)
Did we miss a favorite? Drop us a line!
Spread More Love
Location: High Street and Starr Avenue
Details: Spread more Love is an ongoing campaign to ignite positivity and social awareness. With so much injustice, inequality, and hatred flowing around, we need something more uplifting and positive to counteract it. Love at its basic form is to at least be kind and respectful.
Artist: Edmond Boateng
Location: High Street and 6th Avenue
Details: Breaking Loose is a self-portrait depicting breaking away from industry boundaries, stereotypes, and obstacles that have held back Boateng, freeing him to be the creative, open-minded artist he has grown to become.
Tending Gardens of Ash and Symmetry
Artist: Christian Faur
Location: High and Brickel streets
Details: It was Christmastime in 2005 when Faur was building a wooden crayon box as a gift for his daughter that inspiration struck. He was painting and sculpting with encaustics then, and had come to enjoy the versatility and properties of wax, “this fantastic surface quality that’s neither glossy or varnishy or highly polished, nor matte or dull.” But handling those crayons, observing how their tips absorbed light and conveyed dimension and texture when piled en masse, spurred his imagination. He’s been playing with crayons ever since…with [four] solo shows at Columbus’ Sherrie Gallerie since 2007.
Artist: Terry Norman
Location: High and Lincoln streets
Details: Norman was inspired by Richard Pryor’s ability to use humor across all racial backgrounds to address controversial issues in the 1970s. Norman used charcoal to capture the true essence of Pryor’s face.
These Words Aren’t Enough For Us
Artist: David Skeens
Location: High and Poplar streets
Details: In his mural ‘These Words Aren’t Enough For Us,’ David Skeens uses six words to ponder the limitations of language and a struggle for intimacy.
Passing Through Logtown, Georgia
Artist: Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson
Location: High and Russell streets
Details: Aminah Robinson’s Passing through Logtown, Georgia is what the artist referred to an a “rag painting,” a multi-panel work on paper that includes fabric and buttons. Fourteen figures are depicted in a format that seems to have been inspired by the classical friezes of antiquity. Themba, Robinson’s great aunt, wears a mask and occupies the right half of the composition. The four figures to her right may be interpreted as representing her African past, while the figures to her left their North American counterparts. Themba came to Columbus by means of Logtown, Georgia, and, along with many other individuals of African descent, escaped to the North or arrived here via the Great Migration.
Artist: Denise Romecki
Location: High and Warren streets
Details: “Teaching at the Cultural Arts Center, I was able to observe downtown’s transformation over time. It was amazing to watch. The river was brought back to life as a natural waterway surrounded by grassy banks, trees and native plants. Now it is described as an “urban oasis,” attracting wildlife and pollinators — as well as people. My artwork is a ceramic mural depicting the vitality of a young tree appearing to lift the city as it grows — a metaphor for the environment that Columbus is working to create — that force of urban energy and growth, while simultaneously balancing and nurturing a green environment.”
Blue within a Sea of Red
Artist: Adam Brouillette
Location: High Street and Price Avenue
Details: Blue Within A Sea of Red examines the current political climate of the country and Columbus’s place in the discussion, through a cartoon magnifying glass. The samurai fights against the onslaught of shifting and merciless waves, protected only by his principle and dedication to a noble cause.
Short North Gothic Mural
Artists: Steve Galgas, Mike Altman
Location: High and Lincoln streets
Details: The Short North Arts District’s twist on Grant Wood’s iconic classic, American Gothic, is one of the images for which the District is most well known. Located on the corner of N. High Street and E. Lincoln Street, Short North Gothic is on the outer wall of another famous Short North Arts District spot — Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. The original piece depicts a farmer and his daughter, while the District’s skillful reproduction by Steve Galgas and Mike Altman has flipped the daughter on her head and switched the subjects’ positions. The beautiful mural embodies the spirit of the District and makes a statement of its own.
Ohio Exterminating Co.
Location: High Street and Clark Place
Okay, so this isn’t exactly public art, but we have to include it. C’mon, who doesn’t think this is 🔥?