Jason Vies, owner of the Inn at Honey Run and the Open Air Art Museum, spoke a little bit about his motivation for creating such an unusual artists’ retreat. “I have family from Latvia, and I’ve been over to Latvia. It’s a small country in the Baltics. They have an open air art museum, and I went with one of my cousins to an opening. I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, so when I bought the inn eight years ago, I thought that I wanted art integrated somehow.”
That was the start of this unique venture. Today the trails at the Open Air Art Museum are dotted with interesting works, starting with a haiku walk that leads you through the forest as it tells a story about the changing seasons. Each haiku stone features two steel plaques in the shape of gingko leaves engraved with English and Japanese versions of the poems. This was the first art installation, starting in 2015. Today there are 30 stones, each with their own poems.
“That was a contest that was started with the Haiku Society of North America,” Vies said. “They had, I think, 2,000 entries and selected down to the 30 best.”
Once you’ve walked past some of the haiku stones, you’ll come across other works of art. “Face of the Nations,” created by Jan and Vince Bowden of the locally owned Bowden Bells & Garden Art, is a Native American-themed steel totem pole. Following that comes “Woven,” a fantastical creation from the mind of Walter Herrman, an artist from Columbus. This piece is constructed solely from sticks gathered in the woods around the Inn, and it offers an interactive experience, allowing people to walk through sweeping archways or peer through holes in the structure’s design.
Other installations include “Archer’s Roost” by Lauren Skunta, an interesting work of wood and rope that undulates in the breeze, and “Being Time,” an organic archway by Katharine Marie that concludes the walk through the woodland trails.
Each piece is commissioned and funded by the Inn at Honey Run with up to three or four new installations constructed yearly. “We are one of the few places where everything is commissioned,” Vies said. “The Inn owns it now. It’s a permanent installation here. It’s not on loan; it’s not temporary.”
This means the art will be there for people to enjoy for years to come unless, that is, a storm or falling tree happens to damage it. But Vies isn’t worried about that.
“There’s nothing you can do. It’s nature.” And that’s part of the beauty behind the Open Air Art Museum. It’s constantly changing with each new installation, with the seasons, with rain, wind and snow.
That desire for change and fresh ideas is the driving force behind the inn’s partnership with the Greater Columbus Arts Council. Together the Inn and GCAC have put out a call for artists to create new pieces for the Open Air Art Museum. Information about the Call for Artists can be found online at the inn’s website.
As to advice for up and coming artists, Vies merely said, “I want new. I want creative. Give me your best.”
And that’s in keeping with the museum’s theme, which has no limits on style, medium, size or vision. Vies wants to build a diverse collection, not just sculpture and organic art, but mediums of all kinds.
To that end one of the newest installations commissioned for this summer will be a larger-than-life mural. Details are still in the works, but as of now Vies said the mural will be 80 feet long, an underwater seascape featuring fish and sharks in bold colors to contrast the woodland setting.
Keep an eye on the inn’s website at www.innathoneyrun.com for more information about this upcoming piece. Construction will start in July, and the public is welcome to come and watch the artist work. In fact Vies invites people to come and see the Open Air Art Museum at any time during the year. The trails are always open.
Published: April 20, 2017