Experience Arts in the Alley

When I am looking for a hip, creative vibe and a place to find unique art or experiences in central Ohio, I hop in my car and head to Grove City. With a vibrant and reimagined historic downtown, Grove City brings together the best places to enjoy the arts. Grove City is home to places to paint, candles to pour, friends to gather, throw some clay, or come to one of the art festivals. It is no surprise when I tell you that I can spend the whole day or even the weekend here enjoying all the creative things there are to do.

Arts in the Alley is the longest-running art show in central Ohio and is curated by the Grove City Chamber of Commerce, which hand-picks all the artists. The Heart of Grove City is lined with 100+ tents filled with an array of fantastic hand-crafted items and artists creating their craft in real time, which are for sale. I enjoy strolling through each installation and eyeing all the beautiful creations. What I love about this gathering of creatives is the diversity and variety that comes to share their talents with us.

Another unique thing about the Arts in the Alley show is the way they involve artists from young and old in bringing together entries for an art installation that will not disappoint. Young budding artists from K-12 are encouraged to enter their projects for a chance to win the best of show. Quilters who have stitched up something bring their never before seen quilts to be displayed for all to admire beautiful handiwork. That’s not all either; photography capturing moments in time, and fine arts and crafts are on tap for viewing pleasure. 

Arts in the Alley is not just art; they have thought about everything a weekend festival needs to be and have brought in some bougie food trucks that will entice any palette. Streets are lined with all the local favorites and some new ones to entice you. The hardest part of this is picking out what you will want to eat. 

And if all that isn’t enough to tempt you to visit the show, check out the Voice of Grove City, a competition to find the best vocalist in the area. For three days, local artists come to sing and compete for a prize check of $2,500.00. I find this to be entertaining and one of central Ohio’s best opportunities for budding vocalists to be noticed. Voting for the People’s Choice Award is a great way to get involved with boosting an up-and-coming singer. The competition takes place at the Heartland Stage, and judges will be on-site, with performances enjoyed on Friday evening, Saturday from about 1 to 6, and Sunday from about 11-3, with final awards on Sunday at 3.

Pour a Candle

While you are exploring Grove City, stop at the Chandler and pour a candle! You can be your own master pourer for the day while you create a personal candle. One might think this is a throw-it-together kind of thing, but it is more than that. You pick out the vessel you want to use for your creation, then the real work begins. The first thing you do is the sniff test. You can choose different scents to mix to make your own personal smell. When I made my first candle, I was a tad indecisive, but eventually, I settled on something that suited me. Pouring and mixing come next; this only takes a few minutes. After that step, the candle needs to rest before you can take it home.

Pro-tip: Grab coffee next door while you wait at Transcend Coffee.

Paint Ceramics at Coffee Break Pottery 

My creative senses were ready to explode the first time I stepped into Coffee Break Pottery. While it is tempting to like everything, you eventually have to choose your project. You can stay as long as you need to finish your work of art, but it needs to stay behind for it to be completed in the kiln. 

Pro-tip: Schedule an appointment before you come because they can be busy with parties or other groups. 

Tanglebrook Park

If you brought the kids with you to Grove City, Tanglewood Park is the perfect place to run off some steam! You’ll find a playground and running track to get the kids active. Since you’ve come to Grove City to check out the art scene, visit the two trees with four carvings. Ted Scherer of Scherer Wood Forest Chainsaw Art transformed these ash tree trunks into visually stunning designs. He took these 100+-year-old stumps and turned them into masterpieces.

The Laser Foundry

Are you an artist? If you have a project you want to see taken from paper to a laser-cut design, the Laser Foundry is a place to check out. You can have tumblers, wall art, wood plaques, and glass items made into whatever you have dreamed up!  They can take your creation and make it into something you can hang on the wall or display.

Creative Clinic

The best thing about the Creative Clinic is you don’t need to bring a thing; they provide all the supplies you need to help you bring to life what you have conceived in your mind. Come in for a class or book a group experience for the artsy time of your life. With the tagline, “Discover your inner artist,” you know you are in good hands to imagine and make whatever you desire in a non-judgment zone.

At the heart of Grove City is art; it emanates from historical architecture, storefront windows, and the pieces you see throughout the town. Arts in the Alley is like a pillar showing the endurance of the arts here, as the longest-running art show in the area. Don’t miss this weekend of creativity and beauty.
Pro-tip:  If you come for Arts in the Alley or a sporadic weekend getaway, stay in one of the 18 well-appointed hotels in the area.