Monday, March 31, 2008

Trailways Bus Terminal in Short North

Before the Haiku Restaurant, Hubbard and High St. was the site of the Trailways Bus Terminal. (click on picture to see detail) Trailways ran buses East and West out of Columbus, but would connect to Cleveland at Zanesville. This was the auto dealer and car care part of the Near North back in the 1960's and before. Trailways didn't come in until the early 1980's. In the background is Taylor Tower public housing that was torn down recently to make way for New Town Village of retro look houses and apartments.

KC Hamburgers to Murals

Before the Short North gallery hops in the early 1980's there was a KC Hamburgers and Plasma Donor Center between Russell and Popular St. on High. The white building above (Plasma Donor Center) was removed and a parking lot was built. The bar between these two businesses was the Lucky Leg Lounge (now East Village).
After the gallery hops started the Lucky Leg Lounge was renovated into Prophet's On High, a very popular bar for everyone. On the walls facing the new parking lot murals of the Union Station Arcade were painted. The arcade was torned down in the 1970's to make way for the Ohio Center (Columbus Convention Center's first name). Above, you can see the original artist starting one of the murals.

North Short North Early 1980's

This the window of either the Collector or Biashara. The picture is reversed to read the signs across the street (click on image to enlarge) This building burned down in Sept., 1988. The Sandbar is now the Surlygirl Saloon. Wick's Lounge is "What The Rock" now.
You need to click on these two images to see detail. You have a Glass Shop (Stained Skin Tattoo Shop today), a barber, Kathryn's, Luigi's Pawn Shop, the 1190 Shop (a brief new shop), H&H Trasmissions (High Five Bar today), and another Coney Island Hot Dog shop next to BancOhio (now American Apparel). A man on the left holds a sign for a book sale. The branch of the Library system was in that shopping strip behind him at the time.
This is infront of the Garden BURLESQUE Theatre (now sitting empty). You see a Swan Cleaners and a Simmons Dept. Store (past the Garden). On the other side of the street everything is empty between the Friendship 7 Beauty Salon and State Savings. Hoffman's Dept Store (now "The Garden") was a clothing store that had recently left. One space had been used for a "straight edge" punk rock club known as "No Thanks" a couple years earlier.
The Garden District was home to one of the early Chinese Restaurants on High St. GOLDEN CITY RESTAURANT was about the only sit-down chinese restaurant for many years. Not until the take-out shops opened on campus in the mid-1980's did they have much competition. It moved a few doors north of Fifth and High in the 1990's where High Five Nightclub is today.
The building next to Michael's Goody Boy at 4th & High had a couple of unique used furniture stores: Schizophrenia and Nostalgia. The lettering for Schizophrenia was dayglo bright. Maybe the merchandise didn't match the sign, but people could dream of a hipper big city High Street in the late 1970's (this photo from 1979). Mary Catherine's actually took-over for Schizophrenia selling antique furniture not long after this photo was taken. Then they bought the entire building moving Nostalgia out before the middle of the 1980's.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Great North of the 80's Short North

Before the Short North Gallery Hops had run for several years nobody worried about whether you were at Buttles and High St. or King and High St. The Northern regions of the Short North were quite interesting with many unique shops. The transition from Pawn Shops to Hipster Galleries took longer. The coat hanging on the sidewalk above is in front of Kathryn's which is still there and deals in vintage clothing and bridal gowns. Also still there is Luigi's Pawn Shop a decades old business.
Biashara and the Collector at Fourth & High St. were part of the old and part of new Short North. You could shop for those vintage clothes or get an appliance from your parents childhood. This building became the victim of the 1988 fire that wiped-out three buildings. The Jackson Condos are being built on the site today. Only the Geoffery Taber Gallery moved-on from the fire and re-emerged as ACME Art Co.
Doo Wac Hair Salon and Atlantis Clothing Shop brought the Gallery Hops north. Doo Wac took-over a double storefront when Tirojo Studios disappeared (an early 80's art concern) and began monthly gallery openings of Columbus's best cutting edge artists. Sometimes Doo Wac would have musicians at the openings as well. ATLANTIS was a vintage and hip clothing store best known for its regularly changing mannequins in the window. Peggy Barry started Atlantis in the early 80's and even expanded into a second store, Putt'n On The Dawg, in the heart of the gallery district for a few years.
Mary Catherine's Antiques at Fourth and High St. has been in the Shorth North from the early 80's. It could obstensibly be considered the last of the old Short North of used furniture and antique businesses. Over the years they have slowly taken to the new artsy character of the neighborhood. Upstair apartments have had studio openings in the past. Today, they are giving over half of their store to the Ohioanna Market project. The Sandbar, as seen above, is the current Surlygirl Saloon that became the Downtown Connection nightclub for many years in the late 80's.
Monthra's Wrapped in Black was a hip clothing store at the northern extremes of the Short North. Because Doo Wac was so active in the Gallery Hops, Monthra's could do monthly openings and expect a crowd as well. This probably couldn't happen today. The location hasn't been the kindest to businesses, but in the late 80's and early 90's Monthra's had monthly art exhibits and musical acts on gallery hop nights. Luckily their clothing racks could be easily moved out of the way.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

OSU's Urban Art Space: opens too soon

I don't know if the first show at OSU's new Urban Arts Space needed to open in February, all I know is that the building just isn't ready for an art gallery, yet. The gallery occupies the lowest level of the Rich St and High St. corner of the former Lazarus Building downtown. You can look into the newly revealed windows of the building (Lazarus had covered most of its windows decades ago) and there is a sign pointing down Rich St to the apparent door of the gallery. However, I couldn't find a way into the gallery. The door immediately next to the sign lead to a stairway with signs saying it was a "Hard Hat Area", but nothing about the gallery. On down is a new huge atrium over the former alley with public service offices. The gallery entrance might be from the atrium, but there is a huge empty space inbetween that you can see from the street.

The Atrium is approached from Rich St. but it is currently torn-up for utility work. The former Lazarus is a huge building covering 3/4th of a city block 5 stories high. They are doing a great job bringing it back to life, but it seems way too soon to bring in art. With its connection to the City Center Mall it would be nice to dream that all the art galleries in town could move down here. You would have year round protection from weather and connection to theaters.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

ZonaCorazon Gallerie SALE

Little Overlooked, the ZonaCorazon Gallerie at Fifth and High is quite a gem for collectable Mexican Art. This March they have everything on Sale. An excellent time to buy a colorful figurine or a wrestler mask. Usually the time before the Mexican Day of the Dead in October is the time people think of skeletans and hand carved animals. But, this March is when you can truly save money on your shopping on all things Mexican. Stop by Tuesday through Saturday 1-6pm and help keep this gallery in the Short North.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Changes For March, 2008

Studios on High has added this nifty video window of the artwork inside. It looks High-Tech even if it is small with a simple slideshow of works. Great Innovation from one of our oldest art businesses.
Another Coffeeshop bites the dust: Emack and Bolio's a Boston franchise known for their fancy ice cream cones has given up on its High Street location. The coffee was always good, plush living roomstyle seating, and gallery hop dance shows are what Emack will be remembered for. That and the cute young barristas. Unfortunately, their art displays were forgettable. Why they didn't do a serious monthly art show is a mystery. Unlike other coffeeshops and hair salons, the walls were easy to see the art on. This kinda relates why they didn't fit into the Short North. It was a neighborhood coffeeshop, not something to attract gallery hopper.
The Yukon Building goes to the dogs: Another Three Dog Night Bakery will be opening soon within view of "the Cap" and in the middle of restaurant row. Doesn't seem like the best place to sell fancy dog biscuits, but who knows.
A new tradition for Gallery Hops is the monthly opening of the Soap Stone Studio above the East Village Bar. Walk up the steps and you'll be amazed at the explosion of art and videos by several artists that are friends of the Studio's owners.
Smart Cars invade the Short North. Now that they are available here, you no longer have the excuse you can't find a parking space in the Short North.

March Gallery Hop: Choose Your Camp

As anybody who attended the March, 2008 Gallery Hop knows, Politics were out in force. The was a shouting match across High St. between Hillary and Obama supporters that wouldn't let up. Then there was this rocketship being pulled up and down High St. with John McCain's image and a message "Not Another war". It would stop and point skyward (see above), then be on its way.
Franklin Copy Center is open at Fourth & High St., has something to do with the Columbus College of Art & Design and there was a private (of sorts) party called "Good For Nothing". Need more info on this.
Sole Classics Shoe Shop rocked the hop with a hip hop show at the end of Gallery Hop that paked the small shop with young people sporting lights. DJ Krate Digga is on his Store Tour that will include the Milk Bar next Saturday as well as the Newport and Skullys and Embassy. Check-out Flyunion on Myspace.
Rivet Gallery (Fifth & High St.)did another Group Show, this one by the Collectors of Art and Vinyl Toys called "This Time It's Personal". Luckily it wasn't as heavily packed as the artists' group show last month.

In the vane of Rivet's style of art the Sean Christopher Gallery in the basement of the Greystone Apartments had the best show for March. The artwork of Sharon H. Bell titled "Birth, Toil, Death, Rebirth: was both emotional and well executed. with varying shapes. Let's hope we see more of her art.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Body Shop Opens in 1986

Few people realize it today, but when Sandborn Woods renovated the old Chevy Body Shop at Warren and High St. in 1986 it was the first increase in Short North storefronts in decades. This whole block was made up of Auto service businesses. The Body Shop was a two story garage that had been turned over to Ohio Auto Electric when the car dealers left the Short North. By renovating and turning it into 7 first floor storefronts and an equal number upstairs, the Short North found more places for art galleries and other businesses a feat that wasn't repeated until 1994 when the Victorian Gate apartments opened.
The Body Shop businesses have come and gone frequently over the years. Nicolae had opened a compliment to its Grandview Heights gallery in the corner space called Nicolae De Figaro which ended in 1988 with a show of Paris art posters from the late 19th century. Nicolae moved his gallery to the Short North later in two different spaces bringing famous artists like Peter max to town. Augie's was one of several art and interior design businesses. There was even a lingerie shop in the beginning.
The Body Shop retained its parking lot infront of the storefronts. This became the scene of several sculptural displays, band concerts, and even fashion shows. Galleries included Art for Community Expressions, a long running non-profit for African American artists, RoyGBiv Gallery which opened first in the Body Shop in 1989, C.R. Obetz Gallery which first opened in an upstairs space, and several other art businesses over the years.
In the early days the front of the Body Shop was bright and exciting.