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Explore Ohio’s Appalachian Towns while Road Tripping along The Ohio Art Corridor

The Ohio Art Corridor is a public art trail that features everything from murals to oversized sculptures and winds through Ohio’s scenic Appalachian region.

Explore the Ohio Art Corridor through Ohio's Appalachia.Keep in mind that while pieces along The Ohio Art Corridor is available for viewing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you may find restaurants and other attractions that we share in this post temporarily closed. 

Did you know Ohio has a brand new art trail that features everything from murals to oversized sculptures? As a huge fan of public art, I couldn’t wait to explore The Ohio Art Corridor and see it for myself!

I set off last fall to learn more about this new Ohio attraction and was not disappointed. I can not wait to see more installations pop-up throughout the state.

What is the Ohio Art Corridor?

The School of Fish piece is the first sculpture made specifically for Ohio Art Corridor.

While exploring the trail, I had the pleasure of meeting David and Rebekah Griesmyer, founders of the Ohio Art Corridor. David is the artist and sculptor of the first art piece made specifically for the art trail.

David’s sister-in-law, Rebekah, serves as the executive director for the non-profit. Together, they hope to boost tourism to areas often overlooked and draw attention to the small Appalachian towns and communities located in southeastern Ohio.

I had so much fun talking to David and Rebekah as we shared our mutual love of travel, roadside attractions, and public art.

David’s colorful “School of Fish”, the first piece of art made specifically for the trail, can be seen swimming 15-feet in the air, along the Muskingum River in McConnelsville. Each fish measures 15-20 feet in length.

The Beautiful School of Fish that are part of the new art trail in Ohio.

Photo Provided by David Griesmyer

In addition to this large piece, the corridor has incorporated existing pieces of art in Circleville, Lancaster, Athens, McConnelsville, Zanesville &  Portsmouth with more locations planned for the future.

In order for a community to be included in the Ohio Art Corridor, the available art piece must meet specific criteria.

  1. The piece must be outdoors and free of charge.
  2. Stand-alone sculptures must be of generous size.
  3. If the artwork is smaller than 12 feet, there must be a collection of three or more sculptures in one location.

The idea for the art trail is that the pieces are to be accessible to everyone.

How long does it take to drive the Ohio Art Corridor?

These giant fish sculptures are the signature piece on the Ohio Art Corridor.

The trail can be driven in one very full and very LONG day from most central Ohio locations, but if you’re like me, you’ll prefer to break it up into a series of day trips, or better yet, a weekend getaway so you have ample time to explore each of the small towns you find along the way.

This fun trail featuring an eclectic variety of public art officially begins in Circleville. Soon there will be an official gateway, but you can access the trail from any point along the way.

Exploring the Ohio Art Corridor

The trail winds its way through:

  • Circleville
  • Lancaster
  • Athens
  • McConnellsville
  • Zanesville
  • Portsmouth
  • with more to come!

My plan is to make planning as easy on you as possible by offering additional suggestions of things to see and do in each of the locations along the route.

If you’re looking for a fun and inexpensive mid-week or weekend getaway, or simply need some ideas for several day trips in Ohio, be sure to check this out.

The art corridor is currently over 150 miles long but there are plans to grow it to 230 miles. In addition to the installations that are included in the Art Corridor, here are a few other things to see along the way:

Things to do in Circleville

One of two murals located in Circleville where the Ohio Art Corridor kicks off.

Circleville is the gateway to the Ohio Art Corridor featuring two murals that were painted by Circleville native, Eric Henn. The murals highlight the area’s history and much-celebrated Pumpkin Show.

You’ll find the murals at the following addresses: 

Bicentennial Mural can be seen at 150 West Main Street, Circleville
The Pumpkin Show can be seen at 116 E. Main Street, Circleville

 

Giant Pumpkin Water Tower in Circleville behind the octagon house.

In addition to the murals, you’ll find:

  • Wittich’s Candy Store– the oldest family owned and operated candy store in the U.S. which is part of the Ohio Buckeye Candy Trail.
    Address: 117 W High St, Circleville, OH 43113
    Phone: 740-474-3313 (Call ahead for current hours)
    Website: http://www.wittichscandyshop.com/
     
  • Octagon House you can’t go inside, but it does make a fun photo opp with the Pumpkin Water Tower in the Background.
    Directions: Turn left on S. Court Street to the edge of the parking lot and turn right onto Twp. Road 235. This will turn into Crites Road. The Octagon House is located on the corner of Crites and Progress Parkway (coordinates 39.583799, -82.941596). You’ll also get a great view of the Pumpkin Water Tower from this angle. 
     
  • Lindsey’s Bakery– pop in for a pumpkin donut (available year-round) and to see the enormous pie pan that held the World’s Largest Pumpkin Pie.
    Address: 127 W Main St, Circleville, OH 43113
    Phone:  740-474-3871 (Call ahead for current hours)
    Website: https://www.facebook.com/LindseysBakery

You can read about more about these attractions as well as a few others here —-> Circleville, Ohio: A Unique, Small Town Experience 

Things to do in Lancaster

Checking out some of the art installations in Lancaster along the Ohio Art Corridor.

On the edge of the popular Hocking Hills region, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to spend time outdoors as well as boutique shopping, a great farmer’s market, and regional museums.

The Tree of Life stands in front of the Sherman mural in Lancaster.

Pieces on the Ohio Art Corridor include the Flight of the Hawk Sculpture Park which is visible from State Route 33. While the focal point is the hawk, nesting 40-feet in the air with its wings extended, you’ll find deer, turkeys, and other woodland animals normally seen in Ohio in the roadside park that is open from dusk until dawn.

Address: 4750 Old Logan Rd SE, Lancaster, OH 43130

Flight of the Hawk park is located just outside Lancaster.

The Downtown Lancaster Sculpture Exhibit was created in partnership with area school art programs and can be viewed at the junction of Main and Broad Streets.

Along the trail, you’ll find murals and a variety of sculptures.

Metal Sculptures that are part of the io Art Corridor Downtown Lancaster

Other highlights include:

  • Ohio Glass Museum– with ever-changing displays, and a chance to get hands-on and create your own glass beads, you’ll leave this museum with an appreciation of Ohio glass and the triumphs and struggles of the industry as a whole.
    Address: 124 W Main St, Lancaster, OH 43130
    Phone: 740-687-0101 (Call ahead for current hours)
    Website: https://ohioglassmuseum.org
  • Stonewall Cemetery– This small cemetery is surrounded by a unique 12-sided stone wall that is considered the best example of dry-stone masonry in Ohio.
    Address: 2375 Stonewall Cemetery Rd SW, Lancaster, OH 43130
  • Covered Bridges– Fairfield County has more original covered bridges than any other county in the state of Ohio.
    Website: https://www.visitfairfieldcounty.org/coveredbridges.php

Checking out The Well in Lancaster, Ohio.
There are plenty of places to stop and explore along the way not to mention fabulous places to eat. I highly suggest grabbing a quick lunch at
The Well or, JB’s Downtown Grill or if you have a bit more time to hang around, pop into the Ale House 1890 for dinner.    

Things to do in Athens

Home to Ohio University, you can take a stroll along the beautiful campus while admiring the gorgeous brick buildings. Currently, the “The American Woman,” sculpture in Wolfe Garden ( located in the College Green, between Alden Library and Cutler Hall) is the only piece on the Ohio Art Corridor but you’ll find the community has a large “arts” focus.

The Miner's Mural is located in Downtown Athens, OHio.

This mural can be seen on the side of Lucky’s Tavern at 11 N Court St, Athens, OH 45701

Don’t miss:

  • Passion Works Studio-Pop in to learn more about this studio that caters towards adults with developmental differences who create unique pieces of art. The signature piece is the Passion Works Flower available in several different sizes.
    Address: 20 E State St, Athens, OH 45701
    Phone: 740-592-3673 (Call ahead for current hours)
    Website: https://www.passionworks.org/
     
  • The Ridges– Take a stroll along the grounds of the former Athens Lunatic Asylum and pop inside the Kennedy Museum of Art.
    Address: 100 Ridges Cir, Athens, OH 45701
    Phone: 740-593-1304 (Call ahead for current hours)
    Website: https://www.ohio.edu/museum
     
  • Dairy Barn Arts Center– A restored dairy barn, that was originally part of the Athens Lunatic Asylum property, that has been converted to an art gallery. In addition to displays, they also have a beautiful gift shop and offer workshops for creatives.
    Address: 8000 Dairy Ln, Athens, OH 45701
    Phone: 740- 592-4981 (Call ahead for current hours)
    Website: https://dairybarn.org/

Grab a bite to eat at O’Betty’s Red Hot for a fun lunch of hot dogs in a burlesque-themed setting, Bagel Street Deli or Casa Nueva.

You can read about more about these attractions as well as a few others here —-> 24-Hours in Athens Ohio: What to See and Do in Limited Time

Things to do in McConnelsville

The Fish Sculpture is part of the Ohio Art Corridor.

McConnelsville is a small community that is situated along the Muskingum River. The School of Fish is the signature piece on the Ohio Art Corridor. The sculpture can be see along the river on Route 376 near the Morgan County Fairgrounds. Use this address for the fairgrounds and keep an eye out along the river:  2760 S Riverside Dr, McConnelsville, OH 43756

Visitors to the Miner's Memorial Park in southeastern Ohio can see what's left of the engineering marvel, the Big Muskie.

In addition to viewing sculpture, you may enjoy the following:

  • The Rousseau Covered Bridge– Located across the street at the Morgan County Fairgrounds, the bridge is visible just inside the gate.
    Address: 2760 S Riverside Dr, McConnelsville, OH 43756
  • Downtown McConnelsville– Small, but charming, you’ll find the Twin City Opera House, gorgeous architecture and historical sculptures in a very walkable downtown.
  • The Big Muskie– This attraction is a bit out of town, but I think it’s well worth the trip, but then I do have fond memories of watching this amazing machine in action when I was growing up. Learn about the mining history in the area and step inside the bucket of the Big Muskie at the Miner’s Memorial Park.
    Address: 4470 OH-78, McConnelsville, OH 43756

Things to do in Zanesville

The Alan Cottrill Sculptures in Zanesville are on the Ohio Art Corridor.

Zanesville is full of beautiful buildings, antique stores, and quirky finds.

The Native American Indian stands on the roof of the Alan Cottrill Gallery.

You’ll find the Alan Cottrill Sculpture Studio and Gallery at 110 S 6th St, Zanesville, OH 43701. Parking is available along the street.  You’ll know you’re approaching because you’ll see the sculptures that range from realistic to whimsical lining the block.

war memorial in zanesville

You’ll also find some moving war memorials on the lawn of the Muskingum County Courthouse which is nearby at 27 N 5th St #301

Things to do in Portsmouth

Portsmouth may be known for its beautiful and realistic looking floodwall murals that cover 2,000 years of Ohio’s history, but there is more to see in this small town located on the Ohio River. Type this address into the GPS to find them easily: 429 Front St, Portsmouth, OH 45662

The newly added Human Rights Garden is an interdisciplinary outdoor learning environment on the campus of the Portsmouth Public School District. Address: 1225 Gallia St, Portsmouth, OH 45662

  • Shawnee State Park– Outdoor lovers will enjoy the hiking trails, beach access, and scenic views. The park also offers cabins for those who want to spend the night and extend their stay. You’ll find the park at 4404 OH-125, West Portsmouth.
    Address: 4404 OH-125, West Portsmouth, OH 45663
    Phone: 740-858-6652
    Website: https://ohiodnr.gov/wps/portal/gov/odnr-core/divisions/parks-wc/div-parks/div-parks-wc
  • Southern Ohio Museum– Housed in a Beaux-Arts style building in downtown, this art gallery features the largest collection of work by local artist Clarence Holbrook Carter (1904-2000) as well as a large collection of prehistoric Native American objects.
    Address: 825 Gallia St, Portsmouth, OH 45662
    Phone: 740-354-5629
    Website: http://www.somacc.com/information/

I can’t wait to watch The Ohio Art Corridor continue to grow and draw more visitors to Ohio!

Visit www.theohioartcorridor.org to learn more.

Have you visited any of these small towns or seen any of the art pieces along the Ohio Art Corridor? Leave a comment below and tell me what you thought. 

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