The Columbus Printed Arts Center, which opened inside the Fort in the southernmost tip of Columbus in late 2018, had just started to gain momentum when the pandemic brought together the common workspace. , the printing house and the exhibition space at a standstill.
Lately, however, the nonprofit has started to come to life. On a recent tour of the airy second-floor space, flooded with natural light from the many windows of the former fireworks factory, Columbus Printed Arts Center co-founder Elisa Smith highlighted recent additions to the center, including a huge Chandler and Price press with original foot pedal, vintage paper shears and a “mind-boggling treasure find” from the now defunct Logan Elm Press, a letterpress printing store that was connected to the Ohio State University.
“We only had lead – small, metallic type – but [Logan Elm] had all this amazing type of wood in all the different sizes, like the jumbo type, ”Smith said. “It’s good because we can keep the relics of the press here, honor them and use them in our community. ”
Following:Travel inside the fort for the “News from Golgonooza” exhibition
The new equipment, along with a recent grant from the Ohio Arts Council that will allow the center to hire part-time staff, has helped reinvigorate the space, but Smith gives most of the credit for the survival. from the Columbus Printed Arts Center to its recent group of Print Fellows: Kat Arndt, Catie Beach, Felicity Gunn, Alissa Ohashi, Nicholas Warndorf and Michael Weigman.
The Printing Bursary is “a kind of professional job, where you can come in and help take care of the space and let people in and help working members, in return for full access to the studio and the room. community that we ‘I’ve tried to grow,’ said Smith. “This is a good opportunity for the city folks who maybe looking to create a portfolio for something or take a job further or learn new processes to add to their work. These people have basically kept us. open.… They all stayed there. COVID. ”
Until August 29, fellows present recent work as part of CPAC’s new exhibit, “Exposition Spatial”. Smith encouraged each artist to use different surfaces and processes in making and presenting their work, and the fellows took the instructions to heart. Warndorf’s screen-printed cyanotypes stretch the length of a steel beam from floor to ceiling, while Catie Beach has installed her three-dimensional multimedia works on the floor.
“We intentionally let the studio workspace take over,” Smith said. “I’ve always been a really process-based artist, so I think it makes sense for the space to define its own gallery within the studio.”
Ohashi’s large circular autobiographical installation, which alludes to the symbolism of the mandala, covers almost an entire wall. Around the corner, Weigman’s striking series of colorful intaglio, one-design and multimedia prints (a must-see for anyone venturing near the Fort until the end of August) reveals a fascination with the history of the industrial era and underground subcultures of extreme metal music. “These two disparate sources clash, creating an abstract mythology used to illustrate my view of contemporary issues,” Weigman wrote in an artist statement.
In the middle of the “Spatial Exposure” rooms is a private studio under construction that CPAC will rent, as well as a community reading room featuring works by Indigenous authors courtesy of guest librarian Léuli Eshrāghi. Smith also hopes to launch other initiatives soon at CPAC; she is currently considering ideas for a curator-in-residence program.
“We’ve tried to be really forward thinking with people who come into space, asking them what they need and what the city needs,” Smith said. “The stock market has been a great way to invite people in and understand what’s available and what’s not in the big city. Our response to this preparatory work and research is that I think it’s important to create more opportunities for emerging artists and curators.