10 Columbus Art Galleries Off The Beaten Path

There was a time when the Short North was undoubtedly considered Columbus’ arts district, as evidenced by this same article written a decade ago. But the area now has fierce competition, and not just from the Franklinton Arts District. Today, many art galleries double as event spaces and community gathering places, turning away from the arrogant or pretentious feeling that art galleries are supposed to have.

(Not) Sheep Gallery

(Not) Sheep Gallery inaugural exhibition, September 2018. Photo via (Not) Sheep Gallery Facebook page.

Since opening in 2018, (Not) Sheep Gallery has clearly aligned itself with the most “controversial” aspects of art. Whether commenting on politics, race and ethnicity, the environment, or women’s issues, the gallery and its star artists have a much more radical attitude towards art than its neighbors in the Short North.

For more information, visit notsheepgallery.com.

3060 works

Gallery exhibition at 3060 Artworks in May 2019. Photo via 3060 Artworks Facebook page.

Artist-run gallery and event space 3060 Artworks is a tenant of Westgate BusinessWorks in Hilltop, as one of many businesses invited to contribute to the economic growth of the neighborhood. With Summer Jam West, whose owner Patti Von Niessen serves as executive director, Hilltop residents have increasing access to public art through spaces like this.

For more information, visit 3060artworks.net.

Urban Cultural Arts Foundation

Established in the 1970s as the Urban Cultural Arts Foundation, the William H. Thomas Gallery, aka “The Art Gallery in the Hood,” is said to be the oldest black-owned gallery in Columbus. This community gallery in the Near East Side African Village seeks to provide a venue for a wide range of artistic presentations, while serving as a gathering place and resource for the global community.

african american art columbus ohio

For more visit galleryinthehood.com.

Close Quarters Social Gaming Club

Photo via Close Quarters website.

Close Quarters is a gaming club and training space for casual and dedicated gamers, but the facility also participates in Franklinton Fridays and hosts a regular series of gallery shows. Often, the work of featured artists has some sort of influence from comics or gaming culture, making Close Quarters the perfect venue for their shows.

For more information: socialgamingclub.com.

Chromedge Studios

It was important to decide whether places like Chromedge, 400 West Rich or Gass Axis should be considered low-key, given Franklinton’s emergence as a competing art district of the Short North. But there’s an unpretentious charm to Chromedge, one of the newest tenants in Franklinton’s Arts District, that makes it anything but pretentious. In addition to a photo lab and studio spaces for artists, Chromedge also hosts workshops and an open house on the second Friday of the month for Franklinton Fridays.

For more information, visit chromeedgestudios.com.

Elijah Pierce Gallery

Photo via the King Arts Complex Facebook page.

The Elijah Piece Gallery is located in the King Arts Complex and named for the late Elijah Pierce, Near East Side resident, 20th century carpenter and folk artist. The gallery showcases historic and contemporary works by local, national and international artists from a variety of mediums. The gallery also organizes tours of exhibitions, conferences and practical workshops on art education.

For more information, visit kingartscomplex.com/elijah-pierce-gallery.

Lamps Guild

Art exhibit at Streetlight Guild featuring the work of award-winning Columbus painter and educator Richard Duarte Brown in June 2019. Photo by Taijuan Moorman.

The official Streetlight Guild venue only opened in June 2019, but the organization’s mission to organize events for underrepresented voices based in Columbus is sure to make it a modest gem. The first floor was built for performances, but local artwork exists in every room, through the stairwell, and in the second floor gallery space.

For more information: streetlightguild.wpcomstaging.com.

934 Gallery

Photo via the Facebook page of the 934 gallery.

Opened in 2015, 934 Gallery was born out of the Columbus-based artist community Milo Arts, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019. Focused on a “new perspective,” the community’s neighboring gallery in Milo Grogan hosts locals , national and international. artists who present not only art shows and exhibitions, but also installations and performances.

For more information, visit www.934.gallery.

Highline Cafe Art Space

Don Scott’s work, featured in the Highline Coffee Art Space, Spring 2019. Photo via Highline Coffee Co.’s Facebook page.

Located inside Highline Coffee Co. in Worthington, Highline Coffee Art Space is an art gallery that showcases the work of new and established Central Ohio artists. Highline Coffee says it strives to provide a welcoming and rich environment and in 2019 it made some renovations in an effort to make its space a better place for local artists.

For more information, visit highlinecoffeeco.com/cms/highline-coffee-art-space.

Billy Ireland Comics Library and Museum

Photo via Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Facebook page.

There are a few galleries on the Ohio State University campus, but the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is often overlooked. Named for the late Dispatch cartoonist Billy Ireland, the museum and library is said to house the world’s largest collection of cartoon and comic-related materials. This includes original artwork and manuscripts, as well as editorial cartoons, graphic novels, and comics.

For more information, visit cartoons.osu.edu.

Mildred D. Field