As a lifelong Columbus resident, there is no place I’d rather be. But as a CEO, it is imperative that I keep all my options open.
For more than 25 years, I have led Shadowbox Live. As we have grown and thrived, we have had opportunities to relocate to other cities. Because we are serious business people, as well as artists, we have carefully examined each one. However, we have never found any other destination that can give us everything that Columbus offers.
Columbus is quite simply the best city in America in which to be an artist or run an arts organization.
A symbiotic relationship
Now the largest resident theater company in the nation, Shadowbox Live has 60 full- and part-time actors, musicians, designers, writers and administrators. With a new home in the Brewery District, we have a theater space that can, and often does, accommodate more than 250 patrons.
Columbus offers a cost of living that is among the very best in the world for the quality of life that the city has to offer. Columbus audiences are diverse, sophisticated and more than willing to try new and different things.
The corporate community in Columbus is aggressively interested in creating the best possible environment for artists to grow and thrive in, because they recognize that a powerful arts community creates a living and working environment that is attractive to the best and brightest from around the world.
Earlier this year, our community launched Art Makes Columbus/Columbus Makes Art, the largest campaign to support the arts in Columbus’ history. It is mobilizing our business community, unifying our artists across different mediums and capturing the imagination of our residents.
For me, it brings to mind the symbiotic relationship that Shadowbox Live enjoys with our home city. Just as I hope we have played a part in the success of our community, Columbus has been integral to who we are as a company.
Risk and reward
A quarter century ago, Shadowbox Live consisted of only seven itinerant actors and musicians volunteering for a company without a home.
Today we operate 52 weeks a year, offer 21 productions a year and perform an average of 10 shows every week. Shadowbox has become a staple of the Columbus arts scene.
The fact that Shadowbox Live has excelled in Columbus is no small way due to the fact that the city has been by our side every step of the way.
The people of Columbus prove again and again that they will support risk taking that is accompanied by stewardship.
We are sprinting toward the future and the creation of even more original work and even more challenging, large-scale productions, which require financial assistance. Because Columbus actually cares about such things, corporate and community leaders have been willing to join us in our artistic explorations.
I am convinced that this is only possible in a city that is as forward thinking and generous as Columbus. There’s no place we’d rather be.