The Beeler Gallery of the Columbus College of Art & Design reopened to the public in spring 2021 November, an immersive lens-based exhibition curated by CCAD alum Heather Taylor (Cinematic Arts, 2015). Open until March 6 by appointment, this is the first gallery exhibition Taylor has curated and a departure from Taylor’s full-time night job as a videographer for local news channel WSYX Scenes. Below she discusses her creative practice and work in Columbus.
Jennifer: How did November come about? How does the final show compare to what you originally envisioned?
Heather: November arose from Tim Rietenbach, the Faculty Director for Galleries, asked me if I would be interested in curating the first exhibition under his new position as Director of the Beeler Gallery. We discussed, with the support of FotoFocus Cincinnati, a group exhibition loosely dealing with the 2020 theme.
The show turned out nicer than I could have imagined. I find myself lost in it, and I need that personally now. It’s video heavy which is the first for the gallery so there were some challenges we faced first, but overall it turned out to be great. The artists worked very hard.
Jennifer: Where do you find inspiration in central Ohio?
Heather: I find inspiration in Audubon Park! My favorite park here. It reminds me of the landscape I grew up in, in the countryside of northern Ohio.
Heather Taylor with her work camera. Photo by Brian Kaiser.
Jennifer: What’s the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Heather: I don’t know that I can speak specifically because of the pandemic. However, I find that the art scene here is small and very specific. There are many talented people embedded in this city. It makes Columbus more charming and enjoyable for me to know that these creative, progressive-minded like-minded people are here, even though they may not be showing their work in public or sharing much of what they do with a wider audience. I see them and I appreciate them.
Heather Taylor with her work camera.
Photo by Brian Kaiser.
Jennifer: You have experience as both a curator and an artist. what do you prefer? Why?
Heather: I feel that my curation is part of my artistic practice as a whole. However, if I had an option I would currently choose curation as it is easier to collect work from artists who are constantly creating and sharing their work with an audience. I don’t feel like I’m producing as much work as I want. It took me years to come to terms with calling myself an “artist”.
Jennifer: What is your creative process like?
Heather: It’s spontaneous, but as I’ve gotten older I do most projects with a plan. I like to keep things flexible, to leave room for changes and adjustments. I tend to overwrite; It seldom happens that I keep a lot of savings and privacy, unless it is extremely personal or anything but “complete”. I like to share what I do and what processes go into it, and folx’s answers inspire and motivate me to keep creating. I feel like my process involves thinking and healing for others and the community that Instagram is and what my work can do for them.
Jennifer: What’s next for you as an artist? As a curator?
Heather: Who knows lol! I can’t afford to be a full-time artist, so I include my personal work while balancing a full-time job. I have some filmmaking plans that I could carry out, but these will be private for now. As soon as it is safe to have gatherings of people again, I will surely do something on a larger scale to share and celebrate.
Still images from The Work by Lexie Smith.
November in the Beeler Gallery shows 12 emerging national and international artists from Columbus and is part of a collaboration with the non-profit organization Cincinnati FotoFocus. Taylor selected each of the artists and asked them to create works of art in response to the threatening tone of 2020 and the uncertainty of the near future. The exhibition was originally scheduled to open in November 2020 but has been postponed due to COVID-19. It retains its original name as a reminder of the ominous hypothesis of the month, its prophetic realization, and the pending gratification we still control. The dozen artists working in the exhibition are: Dru Batte, Natasha Cantwell, Cameron A. Granger (Cinematic Art, 2016), Kalaktiv Duo (Bahareh Khoshooee and Sareh Imani), Dawn Kim, Susu Laroche, Bobby T. Luck, Calista Lyon, Adee Roberson, Lexie Smith and Benjamin Willis.
Columbus makes art gifts is a bi-weekly column made available to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council that supports and promotes the arts and culture of Columbus. The column is an Art Makes Columbus campaign project and tells the inspiring stories of the people and organizations that create Columbus art. Find out more about local artists, organizations, public art and events below ColumbusMakesArt.com.
Jennifer Wray is from Columbus and is a writer at the Columbus College of Art & Design. She lives in Clintonville with husband Kyle and son Sam.