Thriving Creativity in Columbus
July 13th, 2015
Artists must live in a large metropolitan area to be inspired and taken seriously, right? Not so much.
Two key factors – the cost of living and the concentration of creative individuals – influenced the findings, which Smart Asset based on its evaluation of the largest 176 cities in the country. It’s no surprise cost of living favored cities away from the coasts, but the concentration of creativity – running the gamut from performing artists to graphic designers – is something to celebrate.
Our team, based in Columbus, Ohio, is overjoyed (and not surprised) to discover Columbus on the list. In fact, the affordable cost of living in Columbus is one reason Minerva Financial Arts grew from a nights-and-weekends business to a full-time endeavor in 2011.
We’re biased, of course, but from our perspective the creativity in Columbus is thriving, with support from individuals, businesses, and political leaders alike.
Columbus is home to cultural districts as varied as the Short North, German Village, Franklinton, and Olde Towne East. Neighboring Upper Arlington, Dublin, and Westerville boast thriving arts districts as well. The Create Columbus Commission supports young professionals from all sectors, particularly creative ones, with financial and community resources. And Mayor Coleman and City Commissioners continue to focus on making Columbus an amazing place to live.
Colleges and Universities including Ohio State, Capital University, Franklin University, Otterbein, and of course Columbus College of Art & Design fill our streets with energy and an entrepreneurial spirit. Alumni fall in love with Columbus… and stick around. And a community full of students and professors makes for a thriving place to be.
The Columbus Museum of Art’s Center for Creativity welcomes all to the museum, and its new modern art wing, opening Fall 2015, is attracting lots of attention. Ballet Met’s artistic director, Edward Liang, is doing incredible (and incredibly modern) things with the ballet in Columbus, and I’ve witnessed first hand the enthusiasm for the arts as packed audiences watch the ballet’s work on stage. Short North Stage brings classic, edgy, and interesting work to the historic Garden Theater, including one I’m really excited about: “The Flick” by Annie Baker coming next spring.
And of course the Greater Columbus Arts Council makes it all happen, behind the scenes and in front of them with a new citywide campaign, “Columbus Makes Art. Art Makes Columbus.”
The break-even point of any small business – particularly a creative one – is much easier to reach when costs are low. And a lower break-even point makes a business inherently less risky, allowing it to grow organically. Instead of focusing on any and all sales to satisfy growth metrics or investor demands, creative businesses with lower break-even points can focus on the right projects and the right revenue. It’s a more authentic way of running a business, particularly a creative one.
Certainly, no one is denying the creative atmosphere of urban hubs. New York City alone has charmed the hearts and minds of such famous creatives as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Roy Lichtenstein (who studied at Ohio State University) and Robert De Niro to name a few. There is something magical about running into Allison Janney over brunch or passing William H. Macy in Central Park. That will never change.
But creativity isn’t a zero sum game. New York can thrive. And so can Columbus. And so can Austin, and New Orleans, and Kalamazoo, and the rest of the cities on the list from Smart Asset.
And that’s why #ArtMakesColumbus. And #ColumbusMakesArt.
Keep on thriving.