Sunapple Studio artists sketched their interpretation of several landmark Columbus buildings and recreated the design in clay. This work was commissioned by The Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, a board that operates the Greater Columbus Convention Center, the Hilton Downtown and Nationwide Arena, as well as our four parking facilities.
We would like to thank Sally Bloomfield, Barbara Nicholson, and Rhett Ricart, board members who see Columbus as a mecca for artists and have spearheaded this initiative. You will see beautiful art added to our downtown through this grant. Our work is located in the Vine street garage, where student and emerging artists will be featured.
The mural is on the seventh floor of a parking garage, but the artists who made it couldn’t be more thrilled if it were in the Louvre.
The ceramic-tile montage of Columbus scenes — the Statehouse, Huntington Park, Ohio Stadium— was created by Sunapple Studios, which produces work by adults with developmental disabilities.
I was there recently when the artists emerged from an elevator on the roof of the Vine Street garage, just south of the North Market in the Arena District, and saw their mural for the first time.
They applauded and immediately began pointing out the tiles they’d worked on.
“It looks like the actual field,” said Heath Woodruff, 44, of his interpretation of Ohio Stadium.
Others identified their own work: the Ohio State Fair, Nationwide Arena, the Wexner Center for the Arts.
The Vine Street Garage is one of three, all owned by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, featuring 34 artworks created by people ranging from elementary school students to professional artists. The Vine Street artwork is mostly from students.
Creations by other artists can be seen at the Goodale Street and Convention Center South garages. The Goodale garage, for example, showcases murals of bicycles, fish and neon "Columbus" signs.
The facilities authority bills the art as a way to promote local culture, impress visitors with Columbus’ creativity and help people find their cars.
“I may not remember I was on level 3A, but I do remember that I was on the level with the zoo animals,” said Don Brown, executive director of the authority.
The Sunapple mural was primarily the work of eight people, with about a dozen others contributing along the way, said Jackie Boyle, who oversaw the project with staff members Marge Mitcham and Mariann Brush. Sunapple is a division of ARC Industries, a nonprofit workforce-development organization of the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
It took about three months to complete the mural, Boyle said.
“They worked so hard on this,” she said. “It’s interesting because every time you start a new project with new people, it just morphs into a new thing. . . . Everything is always new and always fresh.”
The Sunapple mural hangs below a bank of windows outside the elevators on the top floor of the Vine Street garage. It’s not the biggest or most prominent display, but it means a lot to the people who created it.
Ask how he felt about seeing his drawing of the Columbus Cultural Arts Center turned into a clay tile, Daniel Wycuff, 29, responded with one word: Happy.
Joe Blundo is a Dispatch columnist.