TRANSIT ARTS is a citywide youth development program of Central Community House and the Columbus Federation of Settlements and works in partnership with the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education. TRANSIT ARTS is rooted in a rich history of community engagement and enlists young artists, ages 12-21, in intensive programs of coaching by outstanding artists and other professionals from the creative industries. TRANSIT ARTS started in 2006 and became a partner of SURGE Columbus in 2016.
I (Sara Ryan from Multnomah County Library) recently had the opportunity to drop by TRANSIT ARTS at their
Central Community House location and hear from Youth Administrator Katerina Harris and master artist BBX about their programs. It was clear the moment I walked in that there's a lot going on at TRANSIT ARTS. At a piano out in an open space, a young woman and her voice teacher were in the middle of a lesson. A hip-hop dance class was about to start in a large room also equipped with basketball hoops. Upstairs in another room artists were gathered, painting and chatting.
The space is filled with art -- by youth, teaching artists, and other notable creators. Here are some parts of installations using recycled materials:
BBX and Katerina told me that TRANSIT ARTS youth are exhibiting at the downtown Hilton in the Short North, and also some youth got to exhibit along with master artist Richard Duarte Brown. Dancers have performed at the McConnell Arts Center and the Columbus Arts Fest.
Dancers at Columbus Arts Fest
Youth have also been part of TEDx Columbus and the Harmony Project, a giant choir with 200 members. The Harmony Project brings people together from all backgrounds — elected officials, people just out of prison, to sing songs & speak about peace.
A drum circle at TRANSIT ARTS
I asked what they most want people to know about TRANSIT ARTS: "Openness, accepting everyone. Open and family-like, with amazing opportunities." When BBX describes TRANSIT ARTS to people who don’t know about it, he says: "We're cool people and we have a cool place and we do cool people stuff."