Glass Axis is breaking grounds on their new home in Franklinton. Making moves down to Franklinton in the near future, they will need all the help they can get, so don’t forget to keep in touch and volunteer! Check out the full story below!
by Joe LoGiudice
COLUMBUS, OH 6/10/14 – “Make it happen!”
That was how Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman said he responded when he heard Glass Axis, a non-profit art center in Grandview, was considering moving to the Franklinton section of the city.
Coleman joined approximately 75 dignitaries, artists, and members of the arts community Tuesday to celebrate the ground-breaking ceremony at the art center’s soon-to-be new location: 610 W. Town St.
But there were no shovels, no dirt, and no actual breaking of ground. Instead, the mayor used a glass hammer and nails, forged by Shawn Everett, the group’s facilities manager and member artist, to affix the official Glass Axis logo to a pedestal. “Since we are an organization of artists, you really wouldn’t expect us to show up with a shovel and a pile of dirt anyway,” said Rex Brown, executive director of Glass Axis. “We decided to begin the transformation of Franklinton into an arts creative neighborhood, and this fits exactly into our original concept,” the mayor added.
Glass Axis provides artists, students, and community members with the tools necessary to create innovative glass-blowing works while learning, sharing, and teaching.Member artists have access to affordable cold, warm, and hot glass facilities plus studio, exhibition, education, outreach, and income-producing opportunities all under one roof. “This will allow us to be in a location where we can be a better service to the community and (provide) better access to our facility for tourists and tourism,” said Brown. “So we’ll be able to create jobs, improve the Franklinton community, and promote tourism in Ohio.”
“This is a huge jump forward for all of Franklinton,” acclaimed Jim Sweeney, executive director of the Franklinton Development Association. “Bringing a well-established, highly professional arts organization like Glass Axis to our community is really going to help spur revitalization.”
Sweeney explained that because Glass Axis is one of the art leaders in Columbus, Franklinton will benefit simply from its proximity. “Everybody else wants to be closer to them.”
Alex Bandar, founder and chief executive officer of the Columbus Idea Foundry on West State St., echoed Sweeney’s sentiment.
“Glass Axis has been a pillar in the creative Columbus community for the last quarter century, and the fact that they’re coming down to Franklinton shows that there is a gravity that is really being built here that’s attracting other arts groups, other entrepreneurs, and other artists,” he stated.
“We love our neighbors,” exclaimed Brown. “We are going to have partnerships with all of them, and we will welcome any newcomers to this area just as much as the established members have welcomed us.” He said he has already contacted several Franklinton Arts District members concerning partnerships, and thanked Brioso Coffee, which provided free coffee to the gathering and will operate a coffee shop in the art center’s gallery when it formerly opens in the late fall, for becoming Glass Axis’s first formal new partnership. Brown added that in addition to providing jobs and improving communities, organizations like Glass Axis promote tourism.
“That’s where this organization’s really going to shine,” he said. “We’re on a major street, we have windows that are going to look right into our glass-blowing studios, and we have a curriculum of first-experience classes that are just made for people that are visiting Columbus.
“There’s over a dozen different classes that we offer for somebody with no experience blowing glass, and our instructors will help them through that process,” said Brown. “We are proud to be part of the revitalization of East Franklinton. Mayor Coleman has the right idea by establishing an arts area and letting everyone else fill in and complete the picture.”
“I’m excited about Glass Axis,” Coleman exclaimed. “When you want to find the future, you follow artists. If you want to know what tomorrow is going to look like, then you follow the thinkers. When you want to get a glimpse of the greatness of what the future will be, then you follow those who have imagination. That’s how you make communities.
“This is a neighborhood that will be composed of people with great imagination,” the mayor continued. “This is a community that will be composed of a people that will be able to create a future for a city: jobs, opportunity, and quality of life. And that’s what Franklinton’s all about. That’s why I’m proud to be here once again with all you great folks that we will follow into the future with your thinking, your imagination, your creativity, and your artistic gifts.”
The mayor explained he committed himself to revitalizing Franklinton several years ago because “it was where the city was founded. At the time it was forgotten, abandoned, and very few had interest in it. I put a steak in the ground and said: ‘We’re going to bring this area back because it’s the heart, the beginning of the city.’ We owe an obligation to the past and to those who follow us to make sure that Franklinton is the great place that it can be by spending the resources and focusing on development to make a place that is attractive to work, to create, and to live, all in this neighborhood.
“In five years, maybe sooner, this neighborhood will be teeming and beaming with people that live here as well as come here to visit,” he said. Glass Axis and other members of the arts community just might make that happen.
Name: Rex Brown
Title: Executive Director
Email address: email@example.com