Laura Ziegler 1927-2017

Laura Ziegler

In the 1940s, Columbus native Laura Ziegler won a scholarship to the Columbus Art School (now Columbus College of Art and Design), graduated from Ohio State where sculptor Irwin Frey was her mentor, and studied at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. She received a Fulbright Fellowship in 1949 to study polychrome sculpture in Italy and afterwards made her home in the small Tuscan town of Lucca where she lived until her death on May 4 of this year.

During the 1950s, Ziegler’s career enjoyed a meteoric rise. Alfred Barr, then the director of the Museum of Modern Art, saw her work at the Duveen-Graham Gallery in New York and purchased one of her sculptures for his museum. Joseph Hirshhorn was an avid collector of her work and it became a part of his enormous gift to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. Ziegler’s work has been exhibited internationally including the Venice Biennale in 1956 and 1958. She worked on several important architectural projects such as the Velodrome for the 1960 Roman Olympic Games and she created portrait sculptures of many well-known personalities including Gore Vidal, Zero Mostel, and Isaac Bashevis Singer.

Like Walking Friar, many of Zeigler’s sculptures are small scale and capture the thoughtful facial expressions and bearings of her subjects. But she has also created monumental commissions including two here in Columbus: the 18-foot steel and Plexiglas cross (1951) at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on the Ohio State campus and The Burning Bush (1959) at Temple Israel on East Broad Street. The Columbus Museum of Art presented exhibitions of Ziegler’s work in 1957, 1967, and 2001. In the catalogue for her 2001 exhibition, Laura Ziegler, A Columbus Sculptor Comes Home, the artist stated, “I’m not an ex-patriate. I’m a patriate living temporarily abroad most of my life. I’ve always felt Columbus was my home and I’ve never left it, really. It’s my only home.” She shared her ex-patriate life with Herbert Handt, an American, Julliard-trained opera singer/conductor and fellow Fulbright recipient, whom she married in 1954 and who continues to live in Lucca.

– Carole M. Genshaft, Ph.D.Curator-at-Large

On Becoming a Mentor

On Becoming a Mentor in Teen Open Studio

Andre Williams has been coming to the museum since 2014. He started coming because he heard there was a free music studio available at Teen Open Studio. In 2016 when he turned 20 he was brought on as official staff and became a Mentor. Pretty quickly Andre also joined the Visitor Engagement team, and is also helping visitors in the galleries. He went from donating plasma for money to pay for studio time to helping teens and visitors engage creatively. Below are excerpts from an interview from Spring 2017 between Andre Williams and Michael Voll, the Teen Programs Coordinator at Columbus Museum of Art.

MV: Andre I wanted to talk to you and ask you a couple of questions just so people can know a little bit more about your story. So can you tell me about the first time that you came to Teen Open Studio?

AW: I emailed (you) Mr. Mike and got in contact and got more information about the museum, but specifically the studio.

MV: The music studio?

AW: Yeah the music studio. That was the first thing I was interested in. I had seen ‘free studio’. I was donating plasma for recording studios. We were able to come in, create some stuff, learn some stuff and it expanded from there. Then I figured out that I didn’t want to actually make music. At first I was rapping, but now I make more so records. I might share the ideas. Give the record to somebody and do more behind the scenes with management and marketing. I just started a company not too long ago. I just got my LLC papers back from the Secretary of State. So I have that now.

MV: Congrats!

AW: YEAH. So pretty much I figured out I wanted to do that. I was very artistic and needed ways to express my art but I didn’t know if fully being an artist was my thing. I think more it is me bringing the art out of others and helping people to their potential. I think that’s my thing.

MV: Why did you keep coming back?

AW: The environment. Because after a while, yeah it was the free studio, but after a while people. I brought people to the studio because we were chasing the dream together. But one by one people start falling off. But I still kept coming because I built a foundation and bondage with a lot of people. Like you, Mr. Alvin, and it was good, it was an outlet. I was going through a lot of stuff at the time. Up and down with school, money situations with different stuff. And it was (being) able to talk to you all, coming in to talk with you all on Thursdays and Fridays, and I was able to create something even if I was painting shoes and I was failing.

Most of my first creations I was failing. Most of my time the shoes that I painted sucked in the beginning. They were horrible. My clothes that I was making on the sewing machine sucked. My tailorations on clothes sucked in the beginning, but I still was coming because it was a bond and it was really cool and there were a lot of people here that I was able to vibe with and do different things. I just appreciated it because I needed it. I needed to get away and express my art. And yeah it was real stressful but that kept me going. Coming back was the people. The people here, really, that was really it.

MV: is there anything else that you did as a teen?

AW: Yeah, the music, fashion, mentorship. That’s the number one thing. Like literally people like Beibs, well I call her Beibs but Teen Mentor Morgan, or just some of the other teens I would just sit ant I would admire their art. I didn’t know that I was helping them on their journey, but I was just being sincere. I was being sincere and like I really love your pieces. (Saying) I really love this or the way you did this. I was being sincere and I was seeing that it was motivation and it was helping them. That was the other main thing that I got into and I found my passion. My first year at SURGE and my senior year of high school it showed me that I am supposed to be in something with mentorship.

And mentorship goes a long way, like management, when you’re a manager you are really a mentor. Or when you are leading people you are a mentor. Those are the best leaders not people that are just bosses of people but when you are mentoring people, helping people, when people can see that you are by their side, that you are there to help.

MV: So you were telling me a story earlier when you were about to turn 20.

AW: I was stressing before I turned 20, like what am I going to do? I was like dang. And I had no clue there was a job opportunity available. Before I turned 20 you and Mr. Alvin offered me a job. I was really appreciative because I did not want to leave and I didn’t know what I was going to do next. I didn’t have anything to do next. I was working, at that time, I was working three jobs. I was working a third-shift job. I was working at Foot Locker, and I had taken two classes at Columbus State, but I started failing one of my classes so it was bad. That time was a learning experience. Having three jobs, I was in school and I was still coming here. And here was giving me the outlet with everything with stress. Thinking that myself I was not going nowhere because I was doing too much. I didn’t have any goals or aspirations or anything, but coming here it kept me and it shined the light on what I was supposed to do.

MV: When Mackenzie left, the previous mentor, because of college conflicts I remember asking her, “Hey do you have any friends who you would recommend to be a mentor?” She said, “100 percent hire Andre. He already does everything a mentor needs. He has the mindset, he has the knowledge, he has the skills.”

AW: I appreciate it.

MV: So my last question is: Where do you see yourself in the future?

AW: I definitely see myself still mentoring. Definitely when I get to a place I am giving back to SURGE. And I definitely see myself running an entertainment company like I am starting to do. Helping artists and different people. Building a brand, Slim Hype, with my brand I am doing self-help and education, but also music and entertainment. The main thing is helping. I want to help everybody reach their potential, reach their goals and reach their destiny. That is my end goal, to build that. It’s about collaboration. That is the number one thing that I have learned here, it is about collaborating.

MV: I think you will do it. So do you have anything else to say?

AW: Man um it’s weird. I am getting emotional. I appreciate you Mr. Mike I really do, like sincerely from the bottom of my heart every, every, everything that you have done. And you will prolly look and understand, but know that you impacted a lot of us. And I know you impacted me.

MV: Thank you. You inspire me, and you inspire a lot of people. I hope you see that in yourself too.


The Columbus Museum of Art has provided more than 200 hours of programming annually for Columbus teens like Andre Williams, who now serves as a program mentor in Teen Open Studio.

Help shape unique experiences like Teen Open Studio, and nurture an environment that fosters teens’ creative thinking skills, exploration, and learning.


Get Inspired with PNC Free Sundays and Share Your Story

Share Your PNCFreeSundays Story

Bring your friends and family and enjoy PNC Free Sundays at Columbus Museum of Art. Be inspired by current exhibitions such as The Sun Placed in the Abyss, Bodies@Work: The Work of Ruben and Isabel Toledo, Aminah’s Presidential Suite, and Ronald Wimberly Graphic Novelist Exhibition. Explore the new Walter Wing, play in the Wonder Room, or build a puzzle together in a gallery. Then share your memories with us using hashtags #PNCFreeSundays and #myCMA.

Throughout 2016, PNC is providing support for the Columbus Museum of Art’s Free Sundays through the PNC Foundation. A grant from the PNC Arts Alive initiative provides free general admission for museum visitors, each and every Sunday. PNC Free Sundays increase accessibility for all residents of Central Ohio, regardless of their ability to pay. We are pleased to be able to continue this gift to the community through the support of PNC.

CMA’s Chief Engagement Officer Receives Marsh Award for Excellence in Gallery Education

On Thursday 13 October, the sixth annual Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education celebrated the hard work, dedication and innovation of colleagues working within the sector of gallery, museum and visual arts education. The awards are funded by the Marsh Christian Trust and run by engage, the support and advocacy organization for gallery education, whose mission is to increase access to the visual arts.

Merliee Mostov

Chief Engagement Officer Merilee Mostove was one of 5 individuals to receive the prestigious Marsh Award for Gallery Education.

CMA’s Chief Engagement Officer Merilee Mostov was one of five individuals who received awards, presented by Professor Roderick Bugg, Ambassador of the Marsh Christian Trust, and Lesley Butterworth, Chair of engage, during the annual engage International Conference in Liverpool. The awards are open to those working in galleries and visual arts organizations, and colleagues are invited to nominate deserving co-workers every summer. The winners receive £500 to spend on their professional development, and are open to both UK and international colleagues. Feedback from previous winners has been overwhelmingly positive – they have been delighted to receive recognition for their work and have reported increased confidence and opportunities as a result of winning the award, as well as, benefits for the organizations where they worked.

“This is the sixth year that engage has celebrated the achievements of colleagues through the Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education. As ever the panel were extremely impressed by the quality of nominations received from individuals at all stages of their careers, working as freelancers and employees across the UK and internationally. We are proud to work with the Marsh Christian Trust to mark the valuable contribution made by colleagues in making the visual arts more accessible,” said Jane Sillis, Director of Engage in the Visual Arts.

As Chief Engagement Officer at the Columbus Museum of Art, Merilee Mostov leads the museum exhibition planning process, as well as, developing a diverse range of in-gallery experiences. She also curates several experimental galleries within the museum, including The Wonder Room, the Big Idea Gallery and the Creative Lounge. Mostov was nominated by Deputy Director of Learning and Experience, Cindy Meyers Foley. “Merilee developed our strategy for Visitor Engagement by rallying an interdepartmental team, prototyping ideas, and researching the results. She developed an outcomes-based exhibition form to ensure that we are not only intentional about learning outcomes but are also providing opportunities for visitors to “think like artists. Merilee’s work has had an incredible impact on our community.” said Foley.

Last Days for the Picasso Exhibition in Columbus

Last days for Picasso

Exhibitions are in and of themselves creative acts. The Picasso exhibition is an original exhibition organized by Columbus Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. You bring these great works of art from all over the world, in this case London, Paris, New York, Zurich… and they live together for a brief period of time before they go back to their homes.

Only a few more days to see the Picasso exhibition in Columbus before it closes September 11, 2016. We’ve extended hours on Friday September 9 and Sunday September 11 until 9pm, with hours on Saturday September 10 from 10am – 5:00pm.

For details and tickets visit the Picasso exhibition page.



Announcing the 2016 LEGO Design Challenge

2016 Lego Design Challenge

Once gain we’re partnering to present the 2016 LEGO Design Challenge: 50 Years Past, 50 Years Future. 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act which works to preserve important places all across America. The 2016 LEGO Design Challenge is to create a structure based off of something built 50 years ago, or what you think buildings might look like 50 years from now.

Selected LEGO Design Challenge Winners On View
Ohio History Center: Nov. 9, 2016 – Jan. 15, 2017
Columbus Museum of Art: Nov. 11, 2016 – Feb 26, 2017
Ohio Statehouse: Nov. 23, 2016 – Jan 30, 2017
Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center: Jan 5 – March 5, 2017

Check out the National Register of Historic Places for inspiration.

Categories for the 2016 Lego Design Contest are: Youth, Group/Family & Adult. The deadline for submissions is Monday, September 26.

Visit to submit your design and for more details.

The 2016 LEGO Design Challenge is partnership between the Ohio History Connection, Columbus Museum of Art, the Ohio Statehouse, and the Peggy R. McConnell Center of Worthington.