Music, Drama, Dance

By: Emerson Burkhart

Considered too risqué for high school students, Emerson Burkhart’s mural was whitewashed. Decades later, high school students restored it and it was relocated here at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Music, Drama, Dance was painted by Columbus artist Emerson Burkhart in 1934. It was painted on seven canvases and installed about the proscenium arch in the auditorium of Central High School, located along the riverfront in downtown Columbus. Only four years later, Central’s principal had the mural covered with whitewash. By the mid-1980s, Central High School was closed and the property was eventually sold to the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) for a new museum. The restoration of Music, Drama, Dance was made possible through the dedication and hard work of many – especially the students, faculty, and administration of Ft. Hayes Metropolitan Education Center. Approximately 1,000 students worked over a six-year period to remove the layers of over paint and to restore the painted surface of the mural. It was precise and painstaking work and was accomplished one square inch at a time. Music, Drama, Dance was one of only two murals painted by Burkhart. The other is located at Stillman Hall at Ohio State University.

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