Wild Goose Creative was founded by six friends in September 2006 to support, encourage, and promote all forms of art and artists in Columbus. In doing so, the nonprofit organization has also helped local creatives develop their work and become better businesspeople.
Located at 2491 Summit St. in Clintonville, WGC has hosted numerous events that showcase artists in a particular discipline, like the Columbus Comedy Festival, the Etsy Team Columbus Trunk Show, BaconCamp, and Asparafest.
“We provide rental space to artists who need a venue in order to create an event at a reasonable, accessible, competitive rate, ” says Elizabeth Dekker, co-founder and general manager of Wild Goose.
“Within our own events, we’re interested in the community that develops around the creation and sharing of art,” she adds. “Our goal is to allow the audience to meet with artists, ask them questions, and be involved in their process. For instance, we had a composer named Jeffrey Horvath share a composition of his during one of our Third Thursdays. He was still in the middle of writing the piece and he let the audience listen to his inspirations −other pieces of music, sound effects, text− and what he had written so far. He then solicited feedback from the audience to help him improve and continue the work.”
Perhaps part of Wild Goose’s success, and the success of the many artists it has assisted, lies in the fact that the founders understand that working artists are entrepreneurs.
“Whether their art is individual or collective, they have to be visionaries and so often have to hustle for audiences, for a wage, or for a venue or platform for their work,” Dekker says. “A significant part of entrepreneurship involves creating and selling an idea, and artists need to do that for their whole career and for each individual piece of art− a song, a performance, a painting. They’re working to establish the idea, communicate it to an audience, and get them to buy into it− and buy it!”
To give them a chance to get their name out, Wild Goose focuses on small businesses and emerging talent when looking for sponsors for its events.
“This has connected us with some amazing companies and artists that make Columbus so incredible and allowed us to encourage our audience to sample their wares,” she says.
Wild Goose also fosters connections between like-minded creatives, which can, and has, resulted in new ventures.
For instance, Wild Goose held its first Columbus Comedy Festival in February 2009, which lead to a collaboration with several comedians.
“That event helped establish our Monday Night Live monthly comedy event, it got our own Comedy Cabaret sketch troupe writing more, and it sparked the creation of the Columbus Comedy Collective,” she says.
Since May 2007, when Wild Goose’s founders were hosting monthly meetings out of their homes, Dekker says its role in the Columbus community has evolved.
“We’ve moved toward a model where we either give these people a venue through renting our space or work with them to create something,” she says. “We’ve been able to incorporate the work others are doing by providing a space for their programming and from this has come opportunities to become more of a nexus for creative, educational, and multidisciplinary pursuits. We’ve also become known as a place where you can experience the fruits of these pursuits in a consistent and surprising way.”
To date, Wild Goose hosts more than 20 events per month and has outgrown its current space.
“We are looking for a much larger venue that could house several types of artists and performances, as well as more permanent workshop and teaching space,” she says. “Our calendar for 2011 is looking great, with a Wild Goose Women’s Month in February, the Columbus Comedy Festival in April, and Bike Month in May. We are always looking for new businesses, artists, and entrepreneurs to feature, collaborate with, and support, and can’t wait to meet new up-and-comers in Columbus!”
To learn more about Wild Goose, visit WildGooseCreative.com.