Vote! Vote! Vote!

by Matthew Williams


Three artists presented their visions for a new work of public art in Harrison Park. From left to right, Todd Kime, Xan Palay and Jon Barlow Hudson.

Art lovers and amateur chefs were out in force on Saturday, July 25, 2015 from 6 until 9 p.m. to welcome and feed Jon Barlow Hudson, Todd Kime and Xan Palay, the three finalists in the Harrison Park Art Competition.

Each artist spoke for 10 to 20 minutes explaining his or her vision for a new public work of art in Harrison Park and showing examples of past work. After the presentations, attendees had two hours to spend noshing, studying models of the proposals and chatting with the artists about their work and their visions. If they could settle on a favorite (a very tough task) attendees could vote right then and there.

For those of us who are still struggling to narrow down the three excellent proposals to a single favorite, the city of Columbus will launch an online site where we can review the artists presentations and vote. The Website——will launch at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 and will remain open until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11, 2015.

The proposal with the most votes will be announced on the Harrison West and city of Columbus websites in mid-August, after which, the proposal will be submitted to the CAC for conceptual approval. Once this approval is secured, the Department of Development will enter into contract with the artist and determine a timetable for completion. The goal will be to have the final sculpture installed in summer or fall of 2016.

A Bit of Project History

The Harrison West Society and the Columbus Public Art Program sought to commission a $90,000 sculpture in Harrison Park. The project budget included $30,000 from the Harrison West Society’s Gowdy Field Fund and $60,000 in matching funds earmarked by the city for public art.

Administered by the city, a call for artists was issued in November 2014. Ohio artists were invited to submit examples of their past work, and 21 artists responded. Their submissions were reviewed by an art advisory panel consisting of neighborhood representatives, nonparticipating artists, a design professional, a member of the Columbus Art Commission and a nonvoting advisory representative from the Recreation and Parks Department.

The panel was charged with recommending three artists to create site-specific public-art proposals for the park. The qualifications of the artist finalists were then submitted to the Columbus Art Commission (CAC) for review and approval. The CAC has code-required approval authority over any art placed on city property or in the public right of way.

Special Thanks

I would like to offer special thanks to sponsors and helpers without whom Saturday evening’s event would have been much less fun and tasty.

  • Zeno’s, who donated pizza to the event, and Katalina’s, who donated pancake balls
  • Lori Baudro with the city of Columbus, whose vision for and advocacy of our competition and whose guidance and advice from beginning to end ensured a smooth process
  • Christine Leed, also with the city but who moved on to other projects before we got to this point, was invaluable early on in getting the competition up and running
  • Nicci Adelmeyer and Stephanie Doughtery of the HWS Social Committee, who organized the potluck
  • Mark Hollern for taking great photos at the event, all of which can be viewed here
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