Creating Spaces for Expression in Franklinton
In this Community Partnership spotlight, we look at Wild Goose Creative’s impact on the community they call home.
After nearly 15 years in Columbus’ North Campus area, Wild Goose Creative is heading south to the city’s Franklinton neighborhood. The move was initially conceived as an expansion, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused the nonprofit multi-disciplinary arts organization to downsize its plans.
Now only operating in Franklinton, Wild Goose is temporarily housed at the Bridge Gallery at 400 West Rich Studios while their new space at 188 McDowell is being worked on. Though these moves weren’t what the nonprofit was anticipating in 2019, it now seems fortuitous.
After all, Wild Goose believes in two things: providing accessible arts experiences for the community and space and resources for local creatives.
“We’re all about saying ‘yes’ and listening to what the community needs,” said Lydia Simon, executive director at Wild Goose Creative.
The nonprofit aims to help its new community and artists with any ideas they have by providing resources, whether that’s marketing and promotion or physical space. In a normal year, Wild Goose offers over 320 events, ranging from visual to performing to literary to culinary arts.
For that reason, Wild Goose refers to itself as a “supportive parent” of local creatives — a role many of the arts organizations in Franklinton take on. They don’t act like a normal gallery with a specific look — they're a building and platform for artists to expand their audience and display their art. They want to encourage more artists to create art in Franklinton, since it’s considered by many the new art center in Columbus. They want to use their resources to bridge that gap for people who may not consider art their priority.
“There’s a need for arts programming here,” Lydia said, emphasizing the need within schools and the community. “Wild Goose is really trying to put their foot down as a positive influence in the community and integrate well through the programming they offer.”
One such program, which CoverMyMeds is proud to sponsor, is T-Talks or “Trans Talks.” The storytelling event with Felicia DeRosa, a transgender activist and artist in Columbus, aims to create an inclusive, intersectional platform where trans-identified individuals can create community and share their experiences and stories. It also creates an educational opportunity for those outside of the trans/queer community to learn what it means to be trans and eliminate any stigma. So far, the program explored dating in the transgender community and celebrated the Transgender Day of Visibility
Wild Goose’s mission and commitment to investing in the Franklinton neighborhood gave us even more reason to collaborate with them. We’re both setting down roots in the Franklinton community. Our new campus opens this summer, and with Franklinton growing as an arts destination, Wild Goose also wanted to invest in the community. We’re both equally excited to get into our new homes and be a resource and partner to our neighbors.
One of the people who’s played a huge part in bringing our new CoverMyMeds campus to life, Occupancy Coordinator Gabe Michael Kenney, also volunteers as the secretary of the Wild Goose Creative board of directors. As a resident of Franklinton, Gabe was thrilled to serve on a board at the intersection of his interest in art and design and his neighborhood.
“I get to pull on my history of working with CoverMyMeds for design,” Gabe said about his experience helping Wild Goose build their new location in Franklinton. “We designed our spaces to host events and so did Wild Goose.”
Leftover materials, including tables, chairs and couches, from the CoverMyMeds campus were also donated to Wild Goose to help with their new building.
One of the main ways Wild Goose Creative acts as a resource to the community is by providing spaces to host events, like the T-Talks, to build a sense of community around the arts. The new location in Franklinton will offer that and more.
CoverMyMeds is also exploring additional ways to be a sponsor on events and programming, including hosting some of the T-Talks in our new community spaces and creating resources for the community to use to continue their growth as artists.
Lydia said Wild Goose is excited to develop resources for local artists, including mentorships and workshops, to help artists learn about the business side of the industry and give them free space to create and display their work. And as the Franklinton community continues to grow, they’re excited to keep supporting this thriving arts district in the heart of Columbus.
“We share a common goal, which is to act as a community partner, rather than just being the new kid who moves to town,” said Gabe.
To learn more about the great work Wild Goose Creative is doing to support the arts in Franklinton, visit their website. To learn more about our commitment to the community we call home, check out Our Community Commitment page.