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Cat Sheridan (Fine Arts, 2003) believes we all deserve original artwork in our lives, regardless of our age, race, gender, or socioeconomic status. The idea for Columbus Collects, her grassroots project designed to help show Columbus and beyond that anyone can be an art collector, came to Sheridan as she was brainstorming ways to help close the gap between emerging artists and potential buyers.  

In August 2018, Sheridan launched an Instagram account, @columbus_collects, to act as a hub where she shares the art she has collected with her partner, artist Lisa McLymont, and recruits others to share their own collections via weeklong guest takeovers. The project has gotten attention in the local media, with a recent feature in The Columbus Dispatch.

“I felt really passionately about this so I decided to take the action I thought might be helpful,” Sheridan says. “I wasn’t sure if it would catch or if it would have the impact I was looking for, but there certainly seemed no harm in trying.”

We caught up with Sheridan, an established ceramic artist (her latest exhibitions: "Lip.Body.Foot." at Blockfort and 2-Piece at Streetlight Guild) who also works full-time as the Riffe Gallery director for Ohio Arts Council, to learn more.

Why was this something you wanted to do?

I understand the transformational power of art, and I want to help others understand that they, too, have the opportunity to collect, enjoy, and enrich their lives through the collection of original art. I want them to know that they can curate a space that speaks to their values, interests, and aesthetic and, in doing so, develop and perpetuate the beautiful symbiotic relationship that art has from maker to viewer, to owner, to visitor, etc. That it is not and should never be an act relegated only to the affluent.

What is your favorite item in your art collection?

Cat Sheridan Work

This is a terribly hard question. If I must, it’s Rachel Dove’s piece, the second piece I posted to the account. I went to art school with Rachel and this was the first time I purchased a piece that felt like raw unbridled power and feminism in art form.

What kind of response have you gotten from Columbus Connects?

Generally, people are really lovely about it. I’ve had quite a few tell me they look forward to seeing what the guest taking over will post each day. And the folks that participate say things like, “I didn’t realize how much more original art I have than I thought,” or, “Wow, that was way more intense than I imagined. I wanted to write a novel about each piece!”

Any surprises along the way?

We’ve had a few unforeseen but great returns. People are purchasing work from artists they’ve discovered by following the account. The artist’s work also gets a broader audience. When a piece is in our homes, typically only a handful of people get to see it. In this platform, the opportunity to be seen multiplies exponentially. After doing a takeover, most folks talk about how they see their collection with fresh eyes and intention, and that’s exciting! 

How does your CCAD education influence the work you do today?

I think it might be better to ask how it doesn’t. I feel so fortunate to have had the experience I did and the formal training I had. I’m not quite sure I was ready for the world when I exited CCAD, but I definitely had a mass of technical and problem-solving skills at the ready—and a willingness and understanding that hard work, persistence, curiosity, and kindness will take you through nearly anything. 

Why is Columbus a great place to be an artist (or a supporter of the arts)?

It’s big enough to have a great cross-section of folks to develop communities with, and small enough that you actually can with a little elbow grease and good humor.

Follow @columbus_collects on Instagram, and watch a feature on the project on WOSU Public Media's Broad & High program. Learn more about CCAD’s Fine Arts major or apply today.