The Columbus Arts and Entertainment District is the heart of Columbus, Indiana. Here you'll find downtown dining, shops, boutiques, and architecture that make it a one-of-a-kind destination. We like to think of downtown as everyone’s neighborhood. You’re going to love it here!
Creative jobs in the zip codes surrounding the Columbus Arts and Entertainment District in 2019. (Source)
Creative industry earnings in the zip codes surrounding the Columbus Arts and Entertainment District in 2019. (Source)
Cultural nonprofit revenues in the zip codes surrounding the Columbus Arts and Entertainment District in 2019. (Source)
Excerpts from “Making themselves at home,” by Jon Shoulders, Columbus Magazine, Jan-Feb 2020
Alisha Gaddis and Lucky Diaz consider their house on Lafayette Avenue to be more than just a place to live (well, for part of the year anyway, but more on that later). They see it as an opportunity for the kind of artistic expression that is so integral to their lives and careers.
Alisha and Lucky tour extensively as Latin Grammy and Emmy-Award-winning music act The Lucky Band, previously known as Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, which they formed 11 years ago in California. The group, which has released several successful albums of catchy kids tunes, has been covered by CNN, PBS, Billboard, The Washington Post and People magazine, among other media outlets. Touring takes them all over the United States and abroad to Japan, China and Mexico.
When the couple and their children, Ella, 16, and Indiana, 3, aren’t out on the road or at their home in Los Angeles, they’re likely to be found enjoying their Columbus home with friends and family. They began looking for a home in Columbus after their youngest daughter was born to be closer to Alisha’s parents, Bob and Karen Gaddis. The Gaddises reside on the west side of Columbus, and Bob is approaching his 20th year as Columbus East High School’s head football coach.
While the family connection brought them here, Lucky and Alisha say their love of the community, art and architecture in Columbus drew them in even more. They consider their residential surroundings here in town to be as optimal a place for creativity as any stage or recording studio.
Lucky, a northern California native and former session musician, met Alisha, a native of Evansville, 12 years ago at the famed Comedy Store in Los Angeles where Alisha was headlining, and they married five years later. Alisha says her background in musical theater and acting is an ideal fit with Lucky’s musical chops for the various kids music projects and additional artistic endeavors they have undertaken through the years.
According to Lucky, they and their kids currently split their time into thirds between touring with The Lucky Band, residing in southern California and living in Columbus.
“I’m California through and through, but I’m also a design fanboy, so when I started learning about Columbus and the monumental architecture here, I got excited fast,” Lucky says. “Being so used to warmer weather back out West, it’s sometimes a shock to walk outside and suddenly you find it’s 25 degrees, but that’s not the biggest deal in the world. We’ve totally grown fond of Columbus.”
Alisha says she and Lucky have come to appreciate the walkability and sense of community that they feel pervade Columbus. “It’s such a unique area, and we try to spend as much time as we can here, even though it’s hard with touring and constant meetings on the West Coast,” says Alisha, who says Jill’s Diner on Seventh Street is her favorite place in the world to write. “We love the whole downtown, and there are people doing cool things everywhere here. As far as the home, we feel like the best way to pay homage to the art and architecture that’s here is to continue creating.”
Statement from the local design team, LAA Office (Daniel Martinez and Lulu Loquidis)
“In 2019, we were fortunate enough to have several opportunities to use design as a tool for community engagement and as a way of injecting energy into Columbus, Indiana's burgeoning arts scene. The 411 Community Studio project was the direct result of our Creative Residency with the Columbus Area Arts Council. Through a generous grant from Heritage Fund: The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, an underused room at the gallery was converted into a flexible studio space for local and visiting artists to work, meet, and collaborate. The project establishes a catalytic forum in Columbus that continues to serve the community as a place of creative interaction. Furthermore, the 'Learning Patterns' mural project, also at the 411 Gallery and funded by a grant through the Columbus Museum of Art and Design, allowed us to create a new, public artwork in Downtown Columbus connected to an important aspect of the city's design legacy. The design and installation of the mural was a true community effort. Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives supplied the inspiration, while a team of energetic, young creatives helped outline and paint the mural's intricate patterns and shapes.”
Exhibit Columbus, an annual exploration of art, architecture and design, draws visitors for alternating symposium and exhibitions. Approximately, 30,000 people attended the 2019 exhibition, Good Design and the Community. The 2019 exhibition featured 18 site-responsive installations by architects, designers, academics, artists, and graphic designers. These designers created outdoor installations and experiences that use Columbus’ built heritage as inspiration and context, while highlighting the role that visionary community plays in growing a vibrant, sustainable, and equitable city. Over the duration of the 2019 exhibition, additional programming was developed by community partners in concert with the installations, including a site-responsive performance featuring Dance Kaleidoscope organized by the Columbus Area Arts Council and advocacy group, Save the Crump, coordinated an event in honor of the Crump Theatre's 50th anniversary. Both events attracted large crowds to the district.
The annual Ethnic Expo event features food, crafts and entertainment of the diverse cultures represented in our local population. Each year a different host country is featured and in 2019 nearly 30,000 people attended the two festival. Community members are invited to participate in the Ethnic Expo parade, which attracted 500-600 people.
In addition to these signature events, the Columbus Area Visitors Center hosted groups from 24 University Architecture and Design Programs and 23 Architecture Firms.