The Fuse Factory finds a new home at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center
In the months leading up to the pandemic, the Fuse Factory, which operated out of It Looks Like It’s Open, began exploring the idea of moving, having outgrown the cozy space of Clintonville.
Around the same time, in late 2019, Fuse Factory hosted the first of two Frequency Friday events at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center (CAC), which led to a conversation in January 2020 between the two organizations.
“I met with Geoff Martin, who is the head of ACC, and told him we were putting in probes for a new space,” said Fuse Factory founder and executive director Alison Colman. “And then he mentioned, ‘Oh, well, we’re looking to expand our audience and get back to where we started,’ because in its early days, the Cultural Arts Center included music in its programming as well as the visual arts.”
According to Colman, Martin expressed a desire for the CAC to reconnect with its original mission, opening up the space to more music, in addition to partnering with smaller organizations in the city. “And then he asked, ‘How do you feel about moving here? Is this something you would consider? ‘” Colman said. “And I basically said yes.”
With mutual interest established, conversations continued throughout the early months of COVID-19, with Fuse Factory ensuring that any deal would not only allow him to continue the standards he had set over the past few years at It Looks Like It’s Open, but to expand in ways he had planned since Colman founded the electronic and digital arts incubator at the now-defunct Junctionview Studios in 2006. (After Junctionview closed, Fuse Factory spent time at the former Wild Goose Creative in the Old North before moving to It Looks Like It’s Open in 2014.)
Get news and entertainment delivered to your inbox: Subscribe to our daily newsletter
In addition to larger event space, which will allow for increased social distancing between patrons – a pandemic-era bonus for any arts organization – the Cultural Arts Center also features enhanced Fuse Factory sound and lighting, venues classrooms fully equipped to host workshops, and the possibility of developing a regular summer program for children.
The partnership also allows Fuse Factory access to the Performing Arts Center for large-scale events, the first of which, dubbed Frequency Festival, will take place May 20-21. Colman said the two nights of the festival, funded in part by a grant from the Ohio Arts Council, will feature local experimental electronic musicians paired with filmmakers and artists, collaborations meant to create an immersive sonic and visual experience. for attendees.
“There’s a lot of room for us to grow, and a lot of opportunity to grow our programming in ways that we couldn’t before,” Colman said.
Fuse Factory will inaugurate its new space with a soft opening on Friday, March 18, featuring music from Attorneys General, Jeanne Vomit-Terror and Keith Hanlon. Two weeks later, on April 1, Fuse Factory hosts what Colman dubbed “our first big comeback event” with the return to an in-person frequency Friday.
When the pandemic hit, Fuse Factory, like many companies and organizations, managed to pivot to an online model, which allowed it to continue its usual programming in the form of live streams, in addition to giving artists new opportunities to excel artistically. “We have a number of artists who weren’t doing much when it came to visual accompaniments before the pandemic,” Colman said. “And that was great, because they really leaned into the visuals of the live streams, creating quite an elaborate visual storytelling to go along with the sound.”
Despite these virtual artistic advances, Colman said she is looking forward to seeing audiences reconnect with live music in a room after a few years that many have spent in relative isolation. “During this period, I think some members of our audience felt cut off in general,” Colman said. “I think everyone is ready to go back to live shows, that’s for sure. … were happy. We’re all looking forward to getting back to some normality, seeing friends and seeing the community we’ve built. We missed everyone.