How to Be a Casual Art Appreciator

There are so many ways to view artwork, and so many art forms to view. Artwork can be inspiring, thought-provoking, or simply pleasing to the eye. The majority of people aren’t full-time art enthusiasts, however. In fact, many people think museums are stale and boring. But seeing art doesn’t have to mean going to a museum and looking at old paintings.

The area in Columbus, OH, known as the Short North runs along High Street between Ohio State’s campus and downtown, and is home to not only a whole string of restaurants, bars, shops and music venues, but also many art galleries. On the first Saturday of each month, something magical happens: Gallery Hop. Referred to as, “The best arts event in the state” by Ohio Magazine, Gallery Hop celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015. On Gallery Hop Saturdays, a myriad of people from both campus and downtown converge in the middle to walk through the Short North. Every gallery opens its doors, and some even serve drinks and snacks as people mill about and appreciate work from local artists.

Gallery Hop appeals to so many because, unlike the “boring museum,” it is incredibly lively. It isn’t just about visual art. Performing artists pick different street corners and alcoves to sing, dance or play instruments. You are likely to hear at least three different genres and styles of music walking from one end of the Short North to the other. Really it is up to you to design your night, whether it be stopping in one gallery on your way to dinner, or making a night of it and visiting every single one.

In my opinion, the best way to approach gallery hop is to start at one end and work your way through the Short North. Maybe you are drawn to a more modern gallery, with abstract paintings and eclectic sculptures on the floor. Maybe you prefer a good oil paint landscape. Or maybe you are looking for a new piece of jewelry. All of the galleries have their artwork for sale, but there’s also nothing wrong with just looking around. Gallery hop is not only free of cost, but free of any real schedule. You can stroll down the street and stop in wherever you like for however long you like for an adventure that is easy and requires no planning. It’s also a great excuse to enjoy nice weather and walk around outside. Be sure to mark your calendars this spring if you are looking for a Saturday night activity!

-Anna Weber

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