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Check Out Alison Colman’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alison Colman. 

Alison, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I founded the Fuse Factory in 2006, shortly before leaving academia. I had previously come across a number of art and technology initiatives in the U.S. and abroad while doing my graduate research and was deeply inspired by the work they were doing. I felt that Columbus’ cultural landscape would benefit from a similar initiative, so I took it upon myself to learn how to start a non-profit organization. With the help of a few artist friends, I formed a board of directors and became an “official” 501c3 in early 2007. 

Our first event took place at the office space of a Fuse Factory board member in March 2008, a juried exhibition featuring the work of central Ohio artists working in digital media, electronics, video, and film. Our desire to expand our audience led us to launch our first performance event in November 2010 featuring electronic musicians, sound artists, and circuit benders. Our Frequency Friday’s monthly performance series grew out of this event and has evolved into our flagship program, featuring nearly 500 musicians and artists since its inception. We launched our workshop program in 2011 in order to provide the artists and musicians we served additional opportunities to share their knowledge and expertise with the general public. In addition to these programs, we also host touring experimental musicians and sound artists throughout the year. During the pandemic, we launched our online program Live Vids for Covid, which allowed us to continue serving our various audiences while live performances were put on hold. We are very fortunate to have received invaluable support from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Columbus Foundation, as well as from a range of individual donors and supporters. This support was (and continues to be) integral to our growth as an organization. 

Throughout our existence we have partnered with many different arts organizations around Central Ohio, including Junctionview Studios, the Ohio State University Department of Art and Technology, the Columbus College of Art & Design, Wild Goose Creative, It Looks Like Its Open, Skylab, the Shot Tower Gallery, the Pearl Conard Gallery at OSU-Mansfield, the Idea Foundry, and the Columbus Cultural Arts Center (our current home). 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
While it hasn’t been an entirely smooth road, as bumps are inevitable, our growth has been slow and steady. We are very fortunate in that our board members and volunteers are committed to the organization and passionate about our mission to facilitate practical and critical engagement with performance, sound and visual arts, high and low technologies, and new media. We continuously strive to create an inclusive and accessible creative community and developing the talent of local experimental musicians and digital artists by facilitating experimentation with digital media and electronic tools. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
In addition to running the Fuse Factory, I began learning how to play the violin in 2015. My kids started taking violin lessons when they were small, and they would let me try out their little bitty violins, just for fun. At some point, a little light bulb went off in my head: why don’t I start taking violin lessons too? I played piano throughout my childhood, and although I enjoyed it immensely, I had always wished I had learned to play the violin instead. 

It would be an understatement to say learning to play the violin has been a humbling experience. It was (and still is) much harder than I anticipated! Even so, it is incredibly gratifying and profoundly fulfilling. I have even been able to form an improvisational duo with a close friend, an electronic musician, and experienced improvisor, and we now have a few performances and live streams under our belt. 

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc.?
Right now, my favorite apps are hypnogram.xyz, p5js.org, Touchdesigner, and Google Colab. 

Pricing:

  • Frequency Fridays tickets are $9.25 pre-paid, $10 at the door
  • Workshop prices range from $35-$65
  • Shows featuring touring musicians ticket prices are $6.19 pre-paid, $8 at the door

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Alison Colman

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