WCHS art teacher and WCHS alum team up for public art project at Dublin Bridge Park
A column near the entrance of Valentina’s, a new Italian restaurant at Bridge Park in Dublin, features the latest public art project by Westerville Central High School art teacher Jennifer Kiko and her husband and Westerville North High School alum, Eric Rausch.
Krissy Beck, a 2016 WCHS alum and Kiko’s former student, served as lead assistant artist for the art installation that brings the flora and fauna of the area into the Bridge Park development.
“The title of the piece is ‘In The Neighborhood’ and it makes you think that with these beautiful buildings, bars and restaurants being constructed, there’s a river with a huge ecosystem,” Rausch said. “We want you to take a moment and see that these are all around you.”
Kiko and Rausch created the 3,444 hand-cut ceramic tiles with the help of Beck and studio assistants that surround the 13-foot-tall pillar at the entrance of the latest Cameron Mitchell restaurant.
For Kiko, the mosaic column serves as an interactive piece where visitors can learn more about what lives among them such as cardinals, spotted salamanders, cicadas, cornflowers, shamrocks and sunflowers. Also featured in the art piece: the hellbender, an amphibian placed on the endangered species list in Ohio, and the ladybug, the state bug of Ohio.
Kiko and Rausch designed the piece last summer and proposed the idea to the Dublin Arts Council and Crawford Hoying, Bridge Park’s developer. They approached Beck, who graduated from Otterbein University in 2020, to help support the project.
“It was an exciting opportunity to work with both my former art teacher and my boss,” said Beck, who works at Kiln Room, a ceramic production and community studio space in Columbus that Rausch owns and operates.
Beck dedicated 40 hours a week for more than three months to the project, ensuring ceramic pieces were cut, filed, organized, catalogued and packed so they were ready for installation.
“It’s exciting to be able to tell people I’ve been able to be part of a public art piece,” she said.
They wrapped up their year-long art project in May — a month before Valentina’s opened. The Dublin Arts Council is hosting a dedication ceremony for the installation in late September.
Dublin isn’t the only public space to see Kiko’s public art footprint. She and Rausch created a 30’ by 11’ hand-made, ceramic tile mosaic called “Fish Marks the Spot” at the Greater Columbus Convention Center’s parking garage.
They also designed “The Messenger Wall,” which can be found along a historic building on 5th and High streets. It features 26 birds sculpted along a brick wall that honors the legacy of the Short North Alliance’s founding director, John Angelo.
- Westerville Central High School
- Westerville City Schools
- Westerville North High School