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Grateful to Columbus for being Columbus

in Tom Katzenmeyer April 20, 2020 3 min read

I’ve been practicing gratefulness a lot more lately. It’s an interesting twist of human nature that we often struggle to truly appreciate and feel thankful for the good things in our life–until they are gone.

Tom Katzenmeyer, president & CEO of the Greater Columbus Arts Council

Tom Katzenmeyer, president & CEO of the Greater Columbus Arts Council

But today I want to talk about all that I’m grateful for that is still here—and will still be here when we emerge from this crisis. Both Ohio and Columbus have been attracting national and international attention for our successes in battling this pandemic. In Columbus doing things this way—working together and helping each other—is simply part of our DNA, and I am very grateful for that.

I’m grateful to every frontline health care worker as well as our two generals in this war against the virus, Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton. These two leaders have been fighting 24/7 for the lives of Ohioans and providing us guidance, inspiration and peace of mind with their daily press conferences.

I’m grateful to the city of Columbus, our mayor, city council members and the many city departments and our Franklin County Commissioners who have contributed to the numerous projects that are shining examples of innovation and cooperation in a turbulent time. Projects like the Mobile Produce Market at all 15 Columbus City Schools free lunch sites, created through a partnership between Columbus Recreation and Parks, Columbus City Schools and MidOhio Food Collective; the partnership with the Community Shelter Board and YMCA of Central Ohio that has enabled the expansion of homeless shelter options for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or diagnosed by a doctor; and the preparation of an overflow hospital at the Columbus Convention Center in partnership with the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority. These are just a few examples of our city’s collaborative spirit, and are in addition to a city workforce that turned on a dime to be responsive to residents, a Columbus Health Department working nonstop, relaxed parking restrictions for people stuck at home, and transparent and regular briefings, virtual town halls, and virtual city council meetings, which will resume tonight to keep Columbus moving forward.

I’m grateful to community organizations like The Columbus Foundation and United Way of Central Ohio for their emergency relief fund efforts for our city’s most vulnerable residents, and to the Columbus Music Commission and Film Columbus for finding creative ways to support artists both financially and in their art making.

I’m grateful for broad, community based volunteer efforts like Can’t Stop Columbus, enlisting more than 1,200 volunteers to create technology solutions to deliver services and uplift lives through efforts like Curbside Concerts.

I’m grateful to civic and corporate partners like Equitas Health, Crane Group, The Columbus Foundation and Huntington for supporting the Arts Council’s Emergency Relief for Artists Fund, along with Columbus-based small businesses like Homage and Lost Radicals for donating funds from art-themed T-shirts to the Arts Council.

I’m grateful to our independent artists in all disciplines who keep creating, many donating their time and whatever financial gift they can to support others in need, and I’m grateful to our arts organizations for developing virtual and streaming solutions for delivering creative experiences and keeping families and kids connected to the arts while they are sheltering at home.

And finally, while there are many, many more people and efforts I’m grateful for each day, in the interest of space I will close by saying I’m most of all grateful to Cbus for being Cbus—and for each and every one of you—we are all leaders in this effort, and the world is watching.

— Tom Katzenmeyer, connect with Tom on LinkedIn.