Endless Possibilities in The Short North

Short North Arch over High Street. Photo, Austin Owens.

Bright lights, trendy boutiques, fine dining, vibrant nightlife, world-class art galleries, and a booming cultural environment. No, this isn’t New York or L.A., rather the eclectic, rapidly growing arts district known as The Short North in Columbus, Ohio. Thistrendy urban area is revitalizing the artsy culture of Columbus and attracting visitors from all over the country, and the world.

What is now the Short North Arts District originally started off as a small area of Columbus in the early 1900s, connecting downtown with The Ohio State University. After the population boomed, the area was covered with trains bustling in and out each day. New arches were built across High Street to light up the city and soon became a symbol of Columbus. Over the decades, the buildings became run down and its once busy atmosphere became desolate. But after the hard work of a few ambitious entrepreneurs, the neighborhood was made back up into a bustling area once again, bringing a burst of vibrant culture back into Central Ohio; even restoring the old architecture and bringing back the archways that had made Columbus so famous in its earlier years.

photo, Austin Owens

Amongst its many attractions, the most-well known aspect of the Short North is its selection of unique art galleries. From contemporary to cartoon, folk and pop art, with a mixture of frame shops and local jewelry artists, there is certainly something to cater to everyone’s artistic interests.

Sherrie Gallerie is a stand out in The Short North with its bright, open space and exceptional glass and ceramics sculptures.

“I always love going into Sherrie,” said Caitie Bussell, a frequent Short North visitor, “The glass sculptures are remarkable, and the artists are truly amazing.”

In addition to Sherrie Gallerie, there are other one-of-a-kind galleries. For example, Mwandiko Traders offers Tanzanian collectables as well as other African pieces for exhibit in their gallery.  Another hot spot, Studios on High, offers daily demonstrations of their artistry and displays Central Ohio artists exclusively.

“The Short North is the heart of the arts culture here in Columbus,” said Terra Gallery owner Jeff Hersey, “We are very fortunate to have our gallery here.”

Terra Gallery, one of the locations offering a diverse set of styles and artists, opened in 2007 in The Short North and has been helping to cultivate the new edgy scene ever since.

photo, Austin Owens

One of The Short North’s main attractions is its Gallery Hop, which is held the first Saturday of each month. During the 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. event, Columbus residents and visitors celebrate the art of Central Ohio by appreciating the artist’s exhibits along the street.

“Gallery Hop can bring in anywhere from 12,000 to 15,000 people,” said Hersey.

Bars, boutiques, and restaurants also stay open later to show off new collections and cater to the massive crowds.

Such restaurants that stay open later are located along the entire stretch of The Short North.  Marcella’s restaurant specializes in Italian with a selection of pizzas, pastas, and wines; and always draws a large crowd. Other favorite restaurants include Sushi Rock, Hyde Park, and Surly Girl Saloon.

In addition to admiring art, there are street performers, live music, and gifts for sale that can entertain guests and expose them to all The Short North has to offer.

“There is something for everyone,” said Alexia Yun, who attended the March Gallery Hop.  “I could get my hair styled, make candles, appreciate art, listen to live music, eat food, taste wine.  It’s different from all of the other nights because there are more activities and people.”

While The Short North is acclaimed for its art, there are specialized boutiques that give it an extra special flavor, both literally and figuratively.

Stores such as Le Chocoholique and Bakery Gingham have helped curb many a Columbus resident and visitor sweet tooth with one-of-a-kind chocolates such as peanut butter and jelly, and delicious homemade cupcakes and cookies.

Your furry friends can also enjoy the short north at specialty stores Posh Pets Boutiques and Three Dog Bakery. After buying them a treat, you can head over to Goodale Park, located in the heart of The Short North, and take them on a walk through Ohio’s first ever park.

While one can write on and on about the wonderful amenities that The Short North has to offer, it is truly a place to experience first-hand, for everyone makes The Short North their own. It can be an array of galleries to an artist, a prime shopping location for a girl’s day, or a place for a family to grab a delicious bite to eat with friends after an Ohio State game. The options are endless in The Short North, and with its increasing popularity, those options are only going to get bigger and better. To learn more about The Short North, check out this great video on its history and attractions.

About: Kelly Rogers

Kelly Rogers is a Senior at The Ohio State University and is majoring in Strategic Communications. She is originally from Moline, Illinois, but her loyalty remains to the Buckeyes. She is involved with sorority life, campus programming, and undergraduate research at Ohio State. She plans to pursue a career in Public Relations and Journalism.