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Hip New Creative Collective Opens Their First Pop-Up Exhibition

The Chattahoochee Valley is home to a rich cultural landscape that continues to produce more and more talented creatives every season. They are the fruit of seeds sewn decades ago by Columbus leaders that intentionally invested their efforts into local developments in the arts. It was these leaders that provided the opportunity for Columbus to grow into what it is today.

Gone are the days of wandering down Broadway searching for things to do or see. The cultural wellness of our city is on display on nearly every corner, and this weekend it's reach will expand again.

A new organization has been formed that has the potential to transform the cultural landscape of our community even further. The Columbus Collective is a group of local young artists that have banded together to provide an avenue for the arts to build community in our city.

Many of the young creatives involved have been educated or are still studying at Columbus State University where they met and decided to work together. After months of preparation and support from local business owners, The Columbus Collective will open their first pop-up exhibition this Saturday in Uptown.

So who are these young artists? What do they do? And where can you find their work?

To better understand the concept behind The Columbus Collective, we corresponded with Eliza Daffin, one of the group's founders. Continue reading for Daffin's take on why she believes the new collective is essential to our community, who all is involved, and what you can expect to see this weekend at their first show.

Rachel Short hand painting The Columbus Collective's new banner. Image courtesy of the artist.

Q: What inspired the idea behind this new collective? Please describe your mission. 

A: The Columbus Collective was created to build community through art. As a community of practicing artists, we share the goal of making art more accessible, to redefine the meaning of art culture and art collecting, we are able to introduce art that invites. Our goal is to make art a more casual and spontaneous occasion in Columbus and the surrounding area. In doing so we seek to build a community through art rather than self-promotion. The Columbus Collective was established by four local artists, myself, Jessica Kennedy, Trey Walker, and Matt McGuire. Together they share the vision to expand the idea of what art can be, extending it outside of the conventional. They are helping to make it possible for artists who do not have the means or resources to participate in something bigger than themselves, in the community.

Some of the participating artists in exhibit. Clockwise from top left: Rachel Short, Eliza Daffin, Matt McGuire, McKenzie Wilkes, Jessica Lyn Kennedy, and Trey Walker. | Images courtesy of the artists.

Q: For this show, is each featured artist a member of the collective? 

A: Since this is just the beginning, the only consistent members of The Collective are Jessica Kennedy, Trey Walker, Matt McGuire and myself. Our goal is to create an official group page on Facebook for The Columbus Collective artists to join. This would allow us to connect with other local artists in the community who also share the same passion and vision in creating community rather than self-promotion through art.  

Q: Who are they? How are you all connected? How did you get together?

A: For the most part everyone who is participating in our first art show went to college together at Columbus State University, except for Trey Walker and Matt McGuire. 

Jessica and I first met Trey and Matt at their "Here and There" adventure photography exhibition they had back in December at the "Second Story", located above Freeze Frame on Broadway. We really enjoyed their work and even entered for a chance to win a piece from their show. The next day, Jessica and myself received an email from Trey saying that we were the winners of their giveaway pieces. We met the guys at the Second Story later that day to claim our prize and introduce ourselves. We expressed our interests in their unconventional gallery and how it was a breath of fresh air compared to the conventional gallery settings we are used to seeing. We asked if they were interested in collaborating with us in having an art show and the rest is history...

Q: What are you personally excited about for the show?

A: We are all very excited to see all of our hard work and dedication come together at our first pop-up art show. We are hoping to meet more local artists that would be interested in becoming a part of The Collective! We’re hoping this will be the start of many pop-ups and that we will continue to build community through art in Columbus.  

Closeup of a floral installation by Jessica Lyn Kennedy.

Q: You are a photographer. What other mediums are represented in the show?

A: Yes, I am a large format film photographer. My works are a documentation of my family’s land and of the animal bones that are discarded from my family’s butcher shop.

Including myself there are four photographers, two digital and two film. There are also three painters and two illustrators participating in our first pop-up. Trey Walker and Matt McGuire’s digital photographs are travel and adventure based. Their works range from Trey’s cityscapes shot in Seoul, South Korea to Matt’s natural landscapes of the south east. McKenzie Wilkes is a film-based photographer. Her works are black and white portraits, of abstracted figures, the figures are abstracted though motion, masks, or the physical scratching of individual negatives. All manipulation resulting in abstracting the figure’s identity.

Installation of photography equipment by members of The Columbus Collective.

Jessica Kennedy, Rachel Short and Miranda Fortenberry are painters. Jessica Kennedy is best known for her vibrant floral inspired oil and resin paintings, and floral installations. Her colorful, abstracted brushstrokes are meant to inspire happiness. Rachel Short is an oil-based painter. Her works typically focus on the interaction of light in nature and how it influences the overall mood of a scene. Miranda Fortenberry is a painter and collager. Her abstract gestures such as ripping, scratching, melting, pasting and pouring are used to achieve compositions filled with chaos and emotional intensity.

Nathan Long and Erin Aler are digital illustrators. Nathan’s work is a result of leisure drawing for the sole purpose of creating objects that can spark joy and be easily integrated into day to day life. Erin’s illustrations are colorful figures that relate to pop culture.

The entrance to Pop-Up Columbus at 1234 Broadway.

Q: What are you hoping to achieve by putting together this first pop-up show?

A: We’re hoping that this will be the start of many pop-ups and that we will continue to build community through art in Columbus.  

Q: Will the Columbus Collective be involved with Artbeat at all this year? If not, would you like to be?

We are interested in finding out more about Artbeat and what our role would be in participating during the three-week period.

Q: What else would you like for our audience to know?

A: We are having a free art giveaway at the show on Saturday from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Please come and enter a chance to win a free original work of art from the show! ◼︎

If You Go:

What: The Columbus Collective Pop-Up Exhibit

When: February 23, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Where: Pop-Up Columbus, 1234 Broadway

Cost: Free to enter.

More information can be found here.


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