The Public Book was conceived in 1987 in direct response to the city of Columbus, Ohio, announcing its plans for the 1992 commemoration

of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ encounter with the New World.

The Quincentennial

projects were three:

a nine-month international horticultural exhibition, Ameriflora ‘92, a reconstruction of Columbus’ flagship, the Santa Maria, on the banks of the Scioto River, and support for local neighborhood beautification efforts.

All worthwhile efforts, but none engaged the Greater Columbus population as a whole, none invited any citizen who wished--of all ages, backgrounds, interests and even concerns--

to participate actively in something larger, something aimed at capturing the “voice”

of the city at this critical juncture when it was clear that the community was intent on leaving its local and regional focus behind for more national aspirations. It also seemed worthwhile to learn what average Columbians

might want to say to future generations, if given the chance.  On a personal level, I also hoped to bring to light some of the less known living treasures in the city, some of whom I knew but most of whom I only sensed were out there, people not working as professional artists--indeed, most of whom never had an opportunity to have formal training in art--but who worked quietly in their spare hours, driven to be creative either on their own or with others with whom they could create, learn and grow.

A project brochure was created early on, both to help focus individual efforts around thematic areas and  to provide guidelines for creating pages

Workshops held throughout the city, at branch libraries, community centers, private homes--indeed, anywhere interested people gathered to learn more, made it clear that such guidelines were necessary.

© 1991 The Public Book