Columbus, Ohio, May 26, 2020 — Cartoon Crossroads Columbus will hold its program online in October instead of a physical show.
Concerns about coronavirus mean that the sixth year of this festival of comics and cartoon art will be different from previous editions, but organizers are excited to see how they can retain the values and vibe of CXC, while also looking to explore opportunities to fulfill the show’s mission in new ways.
This means celebrating comics and the people who make them and providing meaningful connections between cartoonists and the public. It also means finding new ways to showcase the city of Columbus and CXC’s partners, including The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, The Columbus Metropolitan Library, the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Columbus College of Art and Design, and the Columbus Museum of Art.
“The goal will be to reproduce the easy fellowship and rapport unique to CXC and open the festival to a wider audience that can experience it from anywhere in the world,” said Jeff Smith, CXC’s artistic director. “We’ll still have great guests, professional tools to bolster our community, lots of fun, and some new surprises. We have a mission to promote our art form and its creators to the wider public, and this is a unique opportunity to connect with cartoon lovers everywhere!”
The new format means that people who couldn’t easily come to previous shows may be able to experience it.
Attendees will be able to participate in live-streamed events with special guests. Kids and families will be able to try their hand at cartooning with online workshops and playful drawing demonstrations. Working cartoonists can benefit from new professional development workshops. The events will be, as always, free to attend.
“When you adopt a book to a film or vice versa, you acknowledge that each medium can do something that the other can’t,” said Jerzy Drozd, CXC’s interim executive director. “The same is true of moving from a physical to an online event. We’re going to work hard to celebrate the unique qualities of online events in order to provide experiences you couldn’t have anyplace else.”
The festival will be on Oct. 1-4, but organizers are leaving open the possibility of extending events before and after the main show.
An important part of CXC is that partner organizations across the city put on their own events as part of the festival. Partners are now in the process of deciding what their participation might look like this year.
The CXC board made the decision to move to a new format in the interests of having some certainty at an uncertain time and to protect the health of guests, exhibitors, and volunteers. Table fees paid by exhibitors accepted to the physical CXC expo will be fully refunded, and those exhibitors will be invited to participate in the new event without charge.
“We are very excited about our robust list of exhibitors for CXC 2020,” said Rebecca Perry Damsen, president of CXC’s board. “In the absence of the face-to-face expo, one of our goals is cushioning the loss of revenue for participants at no cost to them. We are exhaustively investigating ways to replace this for creators in a manner that could help sustain them long term, and all table fees paid to date will be immediately refunded.”