Category Archives: Community Work

The Face of Art

© Larry Hamill

Columbus: Inside Out Project – a community art event – was part of the worldwide art initiative, Inside Out.  As the brain child of artist/photographer JR, the recipient of the 2011 TED prize, the event called on participants to  express themselves through a global art project.

© Larry Hamill

In the spirit of JR’s work – as a French street artist, he uses a camera to show the world its true face by pasting photos of faces on massive canvases – portraits of volunteers at TEDx Columbus, held at COSI, were digitally captured by seven Columbus-based photographers.  TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a series of global conferences started by the Sapling Foundation to disseminate “ideas worth spreading.”

© Larry Hamill

TEDx events were created to further TED‘s mission, by offering local communities the opportunity to share dialogue in a setting similar to the larger conferences.

Images in Franklinton © Larry Hamill

Poster-sized portraits are displayed on community buildings in the Franklinton area and at COSI. Images at COSI will be in place for the next year.

© Larry Hamill

© Larry Hamill

© Larry Hamill

© Larry Hamill

More info can be found  @

Knowing Jack: A Lesson in Carnivorous Plants

Savage Gardens, an exhibit of real and imaged plants paired with a juried art exhibit and larger-than-life sculptures, opened this month at the Franklin Park Conservatory.  

An Appetite for Art

Our photographic image, Jack with Fangs, was selected for the art show, which serves up 11 pieces from Ohio artists. Franklin Park Conservatory began incorporating art into their exhibitions five years; a move executive director Bruce Harkey believes has lead to increased visitors. THINK CHIHULY!

Jack with Fangs by Larry Hamill

The sculptures, grown from resin and metal, allow viewers to see the plants from an insect’s perspective. Step inside a 10-foot-tall tropical pitcher plant, experience the lure of a nine-foot Venus flytrap or witness an eight-foot sundew as it comes to life through fiber optic illumination.

Tork Sculpture

Gastronomy – The Art of Good Eating

The largest variety of carnivorous plants in the world is native to North America. Presently, the Conservatory is catering to more than 3,000 voracious carnivorous plants.

Living in mineral-deficient soils such as wetlands, bogs and sand, these plants are masters of culinary adaptation – luring, catching and digesting insects for nourishment.

A Vanishing Food Chain

In a recent Ohio Magazine article, Franklin Park Conservatory horticulturist Amanda Bettin said she hopes the exhibit will increase awareness about carnivorous plants – an extraordinary group of plants that is disappearing in the wild.

“In North America, 95 percent of native habitats have been destroyed – the need for conservation is great and educating the public on the importance of preserving our bogs and wetlands will be part of our educational message.”

Also on the menu in the Conservatory’s North Atrium Gallery is 12-minute video of a behind-the-scenes look at the planning and production of four sculptures created by Tork IndustrialARTifacts for the Savage Gardens exhibit.  A preview of the video can be seen on You Tube.

Visit the Conservatory at 1p.m. for a presentation about these ravenous plants, their origins and a feeding demonstration.

Franklin Park Conservatory, 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH  614/645-8733.   Daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Wed. 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

Savage Gardens on view July 10 – Nov. 14.

Posted by Pamela J. Willits

Public Art: In the Eye of the Beholder

Leatherlips © Larry Hamill

Art in Public Places, a program developed over 20 years ago by the City of Dublin and the Dublin Arts Council, has highlighted regional Native American history, as well as the agricultural history of the area showcasing these art installations.

The first, and perhaps most impressive, is Leatherlips.  Created by Boston artist Ralph Helmick in 1990, the 12-foot high limestone sculpture of Wyandot Chief Leatherlips sits on a rise in Scioto Park, overlooking the Scioto River.

I covered the dedication for the Miami, Oklahoma News-Record.  Both artist and then Wyandot Chief Leaford Bearskin of Oklahoma traveled to Columbus for the dedication.

“We tend to lose our bearings in a growing community. I wanted to create a place to reflect upon the land; to remember when the land belonged to everyone and no one,” said Helmick that day.

Chief Bearskin spoke of Helmick’s work – “He has captured something of our people, something of our spirit and Indian world that no one has. When you see the monument, you will see its power, its spirit, its dignity and its honor.”

Watch House © Larry Hamill

Eight years later, Columbus artist Todd Slaughter would create Watch House, a copper house situated on top of a circular Native American-inspired earthen mound.  Prairie grass and sunflowers cover the mound, mimicking crops once planted by Ohio’s first farmers, the Hopewell Indians. 

The house has a planetarium-like domed ceiling with cut-outs of household items. These shaped portals of light were designed to carry a double meaning; revealing the expanding universe while referencing changes in contemporary society.

Field of Corn © Larry Hamill

In 1994, Columbus artist Malcolm Cochran created Field of Corn. Cast in concrete, the human-sized ears of corn stand upright in front of a backdrop of Osage Orange trees in Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park.

Again, the artwork addresses the farming history of Dublin, an area now consumed by urban development. The trees hark back to days when farmers used them as natural fencing.  Sam Frantz, a pioneer in corn hybridization, once owned the site for Field of Corn.

Other public artworks include Out of Bounds (a large soccer ball), a tribute sculpture to Jack Nicklaus and a piece entitled, Going, Going…Gone! See the DAC’s website for images and locations.

Public opinion has been as varied as some of the pieces commissioned by the Dublin Arts Council, but perhaps none as interesting as the opinion of Columbus Dispatch columnist, Mike Harden.  In his commentary titled, Inspiration Rich for Public Art in Dublin, Harden pens some art proposals of his own.

Dancing Hares © Larry Hamill

As Harden points out, “When we discuss Dublin art treasures for the people, we need to discount the rabbits cavorting on psychedelic ‘shrooms. The boogying bunnies are not public art.”

The 15-foot bronze sculpture called Dancing Hares can be found in its Alice in Wonderland style pose in Ballantrae Park, at the entrance of its namesake subdivision.

As it is in Dublin, and it can be viewed by the public eye, you have to wonder where to draw the line at public vs. private art. Some might call that splitting hairs, but Harden isn’t afraid to take on the role of art critic or cynic. Read more @ The Columbus Dispatch.

Post written by Pamela J. Willits

MedFlight Soars To Aid Patients

© Larry Hamill

Ready to serve night or day, rain or shine, a MedFlight Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU), pictured above in Columbus’s Short North district, exemplifies the theme of the 2010 MedFlight calendarPatients First.

© Larry Hamill

As a not-for-profit company, MedFlight maintains a fleet of eight helicopters and four MICUs and covers 10 counties within Ohio, providing transport for the critically ill and injured.

© Larry Hamill

Each year photographing for MedFlight’s calendar brings it own unique challenges, whether it be angling a helicopter just right over a snow covered Serpent Mound or being mindful of safety issues like the powerful effect of prop wash.

© Larry Hamill

In addition to transporting over 6,000 patients last year, MedFlight made over 250 community visits, including the Prom Promise drug and alcohol accident simulation event  to help educate teens about the perils of DWI.

We salute the pilots, drivers and medical crews who have made an impact in the lives of many, as well as the pilots who make these aerial photographs possible.

Marathon Evolution: Stepping to the Sound of Your Own Drummer

Runner's Legs

Columbus Marathon © Larry Hamill

Marathon Evolution is our latest in slow motion videos.  Filmed in part during the recent Columbus Marathon, it juxtaposes runners and rain puddles.

Once again, we’ve incorporated music by Kevin MacLeod.  The piece, entitled Birch Run, is reminiscent of Native American pow-wow drumming.  This selection seemed fitting, as Native Americans were the first long distance runners on this land.  While the drumming keeps pace with the runners steps and perhaps their heartbeats, the jingling sound mimics falling rain.

H20 Drums

Rain Puddle © Larry Hamill

As a side note, women of the Ojibwa and Chippewa tribes wore dresses covered with metal cones, creating a jingling sound as they moved. Jingle dresses were traditional worn during the healing dance.

The 2009 Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Columbus Marathon and drew nearly 15,000 athletes.

For a look at the growing use of social media in such events, particularly TweetMyTime, visit marathon runner Nate Riggs’ blog.

Gay Pride Parade Marks 40th Anniversary


The largest parade to take place in memory flowed from the Ohio State Capitol to the Short North District, celebrating Gay and Lesbian Pride month. Columbus police estimate between 180,000 to 200,000 people participated in the peaceful celebration. Local evening news carried a brief story – half of which covered the two dozen protesters condemning the gay lifestyle.

The first Gay Pride marches took place in Los Angeles and New York on June 28, 1970, to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots. As noted in Wikipedia, the Stonewall riots were a series of demonstrations against a police raid that took place on June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, located in Greenwich Village.

The riots are cited as the first instance in American history when gays and lesbians fought back against government persecution against homosexuals, and have become the defining event marking the start of the gay rights movement.

The African American Civil Rights Movement, the Counterculture of the 1960s, and antiwar demonstrations served as catalysts for the Stonewall riots. Today, Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world in June to remember the riots and advocate for change.

In recognition of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton issued the following statement:

“Forty years ago this month, the gay rights movement began with the Stonewall riots in New York City, as gays and lesbians demanded an end to the persecution they had long endured. Now, after decades of hard work, the fight has grown into a global movement to achieve a world in which all people live free from violence and fear, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In honor of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and on behalf of the State Department, I extend our appreciation to the global LGBT community for its courage and determination during the past 40 years, and I offer our support for the significant work that still lies ahead.”

Further Clinton comments can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s official website.

German Village Family Portrait Marks Another Era

GV Family Portrait-2

Since 1986, residents and friends of the German Village Society have gathered in Schiller Park for a springtime family photo. The event is the brainchild of Fred Holdridge, a German Village Society trustee and German Village landmark in his own right.

“I’ve taken the family portrait since its inception,” said Larry Hamill, a village based photographer. “In a way, it’s a study in demographics – marking not only how people have changed over the years, but the park as well.”

Erin O’Donnell, executive director of the society, noted that these photos will become part of the German Village archives. Years from now, when new residents of the village look at these portraits, hopefully they will look past the clothing and hair styles and wonder how the stories of each individual added to the essence of life in the village.

Copies of the photograph can be obtain through the German Village Society.