I.D.E.A. in the Short North Arts District

The Short North Arts District is the art + soul of Columbus. As a community that is both a gathering place and a show spot of all that makes Columbus unique, we are a community that deeply values being a place that is welcoming to all. 

The Short North Alliance is a non-profit that provides programs, services, and leadership to all in the Short North Arts District community. We are committed to transparency on how we are dedicated to being a leader in advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, and access across our community. Here’s what we believe and how we’re putting our beliefs into practice. 

Mural: “Be The Light” by Adam Hernandez  |  Photo: Benjamin Eye

Our Journey

In May 2020, our community was shaken by events that profoundly exposed how systemic racism pervasively lives in our daily lives and can no longer be tolerated. While our community took to our streets, our business community took to their windows, and both in unison declared that attention must be paid to a need for equity, justice, and change. 

In June 2020, the Short North Alliance joined hundreds of other local organizations in co-signing a letter that requested our Columbus City Council declare racism as a public health crisis. An immediate action that our organization took was to form a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. Comprising leaders from our board, the Task Force guided the hiring of a consultant to conduct an audit of our work in serving the community, to gather feedback from our community, to provide training to our leadership and team, and to make recommendations on how we can respond to what we learned. 

In April 2021, after many months of diligent work with our consultant to evaluate our organization, engage community stakeholders, and determine our road map for action, the Short North Alliance began implementing changes our community needs, changes that will make our organization better in serving the community, and changes that will truly showcase the Short North Arts District as the welcoming place that spurred entrepreneurial revitalization so many years ago and that embodies the art + soul of Columbus. Since that time we have:

  • Formed the Short North Arts District Council on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access. The following community members serve on our council:
    • Anjali Chavan, Co-chair, Battelle, SNA Board Member (she, her, hers)
    • Dionte’ Johnson, Co-chair, Sole Classics (he, him, his)
    • Amy Aspey, Short North Church (she, her, hers)
    • Habiba Bankston, Columbus Urban League YP Group/Lbrands (she, her, hers)
    • Nick Bankston, Gladden Community House (he, him, his)
    • Sharareh Bayegan, Entrepreneur (she, her, hers)
    • Edmund Boetang, Artist (he, him, his)
    • Zac Boyer, Stonewal Columbus (they, them, theirs)
    • Wilson Browning, BeecherHill, SNA Board President (he, him, his)
    • Sterling Clemmons, MoZaic and Equitas (she, they)
    • Shayla Favor, Member, Columbus City Council (she, her, hers)
    • John Page, Greater Columbus Convention Center (he, him, his)
    • Stephanie Tersigni, Jolie Occasions (she, her, hers)
  • We collaborated with the council to review and change over 50 organizational policies, programs, and services, including an inclusive restructuring of our organization to prioritize outreach, engagement, and inclusion in marketing, events, promotions, and all that the Short North Alliance does in service to the community.
  • We restructured our District safety programs and services to be orientated to inclusion and community well-being in addition to programs that prevent crime.
  • We have created the Short North Good Neighbor Pledge Program that includes a call to action for members of our business community to focus on educated staff and operationalizing inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.

As an organization, we know we do not have all of the answers. But we are dedicated to being bold, vocal, leaders in pursuit of advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in our daily work. 


Photo: Experience Columbus

Statement on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA)

The mission of the Short North Alliance is to nurture the Short North Arts District, High Street, East 5th Avenue, and North Fourth Street commercial corridors as vibrant, creative, and inclusive communities, and leading arts destinations. 

We believe that diversity represents the differences among people, equity means fairness, regardless of differences, and inclusion is achieved for all through intentional engagement and welcoming behavior. 

We value inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in the Short North Arts District community. 

We recognize that there are differences among the many individuals who call the Short North Arts District their home, their place of business, and their playground. It is our vision that those differences define the Short North Arts District as a diverse community; are to be embraced, celebrated, and treated with fairness – equitability; and that intentional engagement of all individuals, regardless of differences, is paramount to the Short North Arts District existing as a community where all people can feel welcome, supported, safe, and, equal. 

We are committed to fostering inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in the programs and services we offer to the community, in the policies that guide our organization, in public positions we take, and in how we model leadership behaviors in the community. 

We will actively work to educate all in our community about actions, services, or business models that are exclusionary, propagate structural inequity on the basis of race, class, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability, or nation of origin, or fail in their opportunity to be anti-discriminatory. 

We value the diverse perspectives of all Short North Arts District stakeholders and will actively seek out those perspectives in the ever-evolving delivery of our programs and services. 

Explore the Short North Alliance IDEA Strategy

Learn about our strategic approach to fostering inclusion, diversity, equity, and access through the work of the Short North Alliance and in the Short North Arts District community. 

Download our plan. 

Check back often for updates on the status of implementation of our plan. 

Join the SNAD IDEA Council

The purpose of the SNA IDEA Council is to support keeping inclusion, diversity, equity, and access at the forefront of the Short North Arts District community through continuous feedback and evaluation of Short North Alliance programs, services, public positions, and models of leadership behavior and the continuous contribution of diverse perspectives in the co-creation of the Short North Alliance’s evolving vision for the District. 

Email us to let us know if you have an interest in being considered for the inaugural SNA IDEA Council. 

Check back often for updates on the SNA Idea Council. 

Open a Business

The Short North Arts District is a place that is open and welcoming to anyone and everyone who wants to start or grow a business. 

Send us an email for information on vacant spaces, resources to help in the development of your business, and general support. 

Report Issues of Discrimination, Exclusion, or Harassment

The Short North Arts District is a community where everyone deserves to feel safe, included, heard, and supported. If you believe that you have experienced or witnessed an incident involving discrimination, exclusion, or harassment we encourage you to report your experiences through a number of channels so that we can hold everyone to the highest standard of accountability. 

Call the Short North Ambassador hotline at 614.636.5100. Short North Ambassadors are trained to use techniques that prevent escalation of conflicts and aid in conflict resolution, while ensuring all involved parties are safe. Short North Ambassadors can stay on site with a person who calls for support in an instance of discrimination, exclusion, or harassment until they feel comfortable to leave the site.

Email the Short North Alliance. The Short North Alliance is deeply committed to offering programs, services, education, and leadership to the community. If members of our community are falling short of advancing the Short North Arts District as a welcoming place for all, we want to know about it and make an intervention.  

Contact the City of Columbus Community Relations Commission. The City of Columbus Community Relations Commission is tasked with administering programs that eliminate discrimination in our community. 

Share Feedback

We are here to listen and actively encourage candid dialogue as we work to foster the Short North Arts District as a welcoming community.

Email us to share your thoughts, ideas, reflections, and perspectives.