Alum Marshall Shorts discusses Columbus’ thriving arts scene
A passion for art and design—whether we’re talking his own creative practice or his support for arts in Columbus—serves as the connecting thread between the many projects Marshall Shorts has taken on since graduating from Columbus College of Art & Design.
Shorts (Industrial Design, 2006) is the founder/creator-in-chief of Columbus creative agency Artfluential; in addition, he founded the Maroon Arts Group (a collective promoting Black culture and art); has a newsletter, Shut Up and Create; and, with fellow alum—and CCAD Trustee Corey Favor (Illustration, 2003)—is co-founder of artist conference Creative Control Fest. He’s also supported fellow Black creatives through such projects as PitchBlack, which uses crowd-funded microgrants to fund Black-led creative projects.
In late 2021, Shorts appeared on the Experience Columbus podcast Live Forward Live, in the episode “Live to Inspire: The Arts Are Alive in Columbus,” to discuss Columbus’ thriving arts scene and his role within it.
Shorts started selling his artwork in elementary school, he told the podcast hosts. “Art is where it started with me,” he said. With Artfluential, he works with clients to help better tell their stories—whatever the medium. And when it comes to his volunteer and passion projects, a lot of his work centers around culture and organizing art spaces, he says.
“There are more opportunities (than ever), and we are trying to create more of those opportunities through some of the stuff we’re doing,” Shorts said.
Ultimately, he said, “Because I am an artist, I hope I can open the door wider for artists.”
In 2020, Shorts helped lead Deliver Black Dreams, a partnership between MAG, the city of Columbus, and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. The initiative “uses public art as a vehicle to increase racial equity in Columbus,” reported Columbus Monthly in a December 2021 profile of Shorts. In addition to all of that, in 2021 Shorts was named to the board of the nonprofit GCAC, which plays a vital role in funding individual artists and arts organizations in central Ohio.
Given his long standing involvement in the Columbus arts scene, it’s little surprise that Shorts got creative when asked by the podcast hosts to recommend art-based stops for Columbus visitors. Included in his must-visit list were: large-scale murals created through Deliver Black Dreams, MAG’s BoxPark in the King-Lincoln/Bronzeville District, and the North Market.
Listen to the full podcast episode here, and find Marshall Shorts online here.