“We have some happy accidents sometimes, but we don’t make any mistakes.”

Alizarin Crimson. Cadmium Yellow. Dark Sienna. Phthalo Green. Prussian Blue. Titanium White. Van Dyke Brown.

If you can rattle off these colors, you’re likely familiar with the dozen oil paints Bob Ross used to create landscapes in “The Joy of Painting,” his iconic public television series. And you’re probably equally familiar with the appeal of this genuine, soft-spoken man who has encouraged countless people to try their hand at his painting technique and find satisfaction in doing so.

The Bob Ross Experience, MinnetristaNow you can tour the similarly unassuming television studio in which Ross filmed 182 episodes of “The Joy of Painting.” The former studio of public broadcasting station WIPB in Muncie, Indiana was once the home of the Lucius Ball family and is now part of the Minnetrista cultural complex. Minnetrista has transformed the first floor of the home into an interactive exhibit of original artifacts and Bob Ross paintings honoring this iconic television series and its creator.

In 1983, the little-known art instructor toured the country, giving workshops on the wet-on-wet oil painting technique. The Bob Ross Experience, MinnetristaBeginning with an undercoat of white paint on the canvas, he added successive layers of paint to the wet background, sweeping a brush or wiggling a knife to blend and pull colors into deep, vibrant hues that became trees, mountains, clouds and lakes in seconds.

For one of those workshops, Ross packed up his supplies and drove his Datsun camper to Muncie. The warm welcome he received there led him to conclude that Muncie would be the perfect home for his television series, and WIPB would be its producer. For the next five years, he came to Muncie four times a year to film episodes.

During filming, WIPB staff who worked upstairs in the Ball home had to sit still to prevent the floor from creaking, as well as turn off the heat off so that the system’s hissing wouldn’t be heard on the episode recordings. During breaks, Ross and his crew would relax, tell jokes, eat lunch and drink iced tea together on the front steps of the home.

The Bob Ross Experience, MinnetristaThe recreated television studio, complete with its plain, black curtain to keep the viewer focused on Ross and his work, includes several original Ross artifacts. There’s the palette on which he layered and blended oil paints, two of the three cameras used for filming, and the converted stepladder Ross fashioned into an easel on which to “beat the devil” out of his brushes.

Across the hall, an Eighties-style living room is a comfortable haven for us Generation Xers. Bookshelves are filled with period crock-pot cookbooks, Sunset gardening guides and LaVyrle Spencer novels. LIFE magazine’s “The Year in Pictures,” a TV Guide and a Mead Trapper Keeper three-ring binder are arranged on a coffee table. A crocheted afghan is draped on the sofa, near a rotary-dial phone. An E.T. videotape rests atop a television console playing “The Joy of Painting” clips.

The Bob Ross Experience, MinnetristaThroughout the exhibit, I discovered several fun facts about Ross, many of which are presented in clever ways. Did you know that before each show, he took a whiff of Vicks VapoRub, clearing his sinuses to ensure a smooth, velvety voice? He also kept a hair pick in his back pocket to fluff out his signature permanent, which he initially adopted to save money on haircuts while trying to get by as an art instructor.

The exhibit conveys how hard Ross worked to make “The Joy of Painting” a success, making at least three paintings for each 22-minute episode to get a scene just right. He carefully planned each composition, thinking through the best way to present the process, and executing each painting with patience and without hurrying. His calming, encouraging ways continue to resonate with viewers.

It also provides interesting details about Ross’s status as a member of the Muncie community, joining friends to go antiquing in nearby towns, participating in Habitat for Humanity events, giving special painting demonstrations for PBS fundraisers, and even owning a home there for a time.

I left Minnetrista’s “Bob Ross Experience” with increased admiration for how much this gentle man put people at ease and encouraged them to try something new. He may have found fame, but he stayed true to his quiet, genuine self.

To complement the exhibit, Certified Ross Instructors teach classes at Minnetrista in the wet-on-wet painting technique. The Bob Ross Experience, Minnetrista

For more on Bob Ross, see Happy Clouds, Happy Trees: The Bob Ross Phenomenon, by Kristin G. Congdon, Doug Blandy and Danny Coeyman; and Life Lessons from Bob Ross: Be a Peaceful Cloud, Bob Ross and Peapod the Squirrel, and The Bob Ross Cookbook: Happy Little Recipes for Family and Friends, all by Robb Pearlman. To see Lee Cowan’s February 28, 2021 CBS Sunday Morning segment that inspired my plans for this field trip, click here.

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“She was a little shy. She was scared all the time.”

It would have been wonderful to be Betty Ball’s friend.

The Oakhurst Experience, MinnetristaThe only child of George and Frances Ball, Betty lived her entire life in a fabulous home on Minnetrista Boulevard in Muncie, Indiana, completely wrapped up in her interests in reading, collecting, traveling and gardening. The imaginative young child who held court in a “Doll House,” dressed in a faerie costume, grew into a likeable girl who invited her friends to join her for hat parties. She became a curious, creative and knowledgeable lady, inspired by books and the beauty of nature, who generously shared her gifts with others.

Six years ago, I roamed around Betty’s largely empty home, Oakhurst, on my first visit to Minnetrista, the complex of Ball family homes turned cultural center. I could only imagine what it would have been like to live in this wonderful shingled house with magnificent woodwork, decorative glass windows and a sleeping porch, all surrounded by a grove of oak trees.

Thanks to the Oakhurst Experience, a relatively new interactive opportunity I happened upon during a visit to Minnetrista this summer, I got to know this engaging family much better through a variety of clever hands-on displays.

Facsimiles of family letters, postcards and photographs arrayed on the dining room table documented Ball family travels. The Oakhurst Experience, Minnetrista

I learned more about home food preservation in the kitchen where Frances executed her recipes and George wrote the directions, creating the first Ball Blue Book that remains an invaluable resource for today’s home canners. Turning a knob on the stove burner allowed me to watch a video on canning through the years.

BThe Oakhurst Experience, Minnetristaest of all is the library, with wallpaper printed with passages from Peter Pan and chairs upholstered in fabric silkscreened with quotes from children’s literature and Ball family primary sources. In this enticing place, you can play children’s games and page through any of the books on the shelves that were part of the distinguished collection she created with her father. You can also study her bookbinding tools and admire her butterfly and moth specimens, evidence of the botany degree she earned from Vassar College.

The Oakhurst Experience, MinnetristaBetty shared an interest in writing with her childhood best friend, Emily Kimbrough. Their mothers were also best friends, so they were inseparable.

After attending Bryn Mawr College, Kimbrough pursued a career as a writer for Marshall Field’s department store in Chicago, an editor for Ladies’ Home Journal, a New York-based author of freelance magazine articles, and as the author of 16 books, including Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, which she wrote with Cornelia Otis Skinner about their 1920s European tour. How Dear To My Heart is a memoir of her happy childhood in Muncie.

“Betty was little with blue eyes that were nearly always solemn and usually anxious,” Kimbrough wrote in How Dear To My Heart. “She was a little shy. She was scared all the time.”

Emily Kimbrough home, Muncie, INKimbrough’s memoir documents Muncie’s heyday, after natural gas was discovered nearby in 1886 and the city became east central Indiana’s commercial and industrial center. Its most prosperous residents built homes of various architectural styles in the neighborhood where the Kimbroughs built a home at 715 E. Washington St. in 1898 and lived there until they moved to Chicago in 1910. The home was restored for use as a museum and visitor center in 1976, when the city redeveloped the neighborhood and created the Emily Kimbrough Historic District. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places two years later.

Posted in Architecture, Books, History, Indiana, Museums | Leave a comment

“A return to normalcy”

Our collective return to normalcy may be taking longer than I hoped, but there have been some comforting glimpses of those carefree days roaming around in search of a fun fact, energized by a change of scenery and a subject to research. One of those long-awaited jaunts took me to Marion, Ohio, where I saw my old friend Petey the canary safely ensconced in his new home.

Petey’s formerWarren G. Harding Presidential Museum, Marion, OH nest, the home of Warren and Florence Harding, was closed in Fall 2017 to restore it to the way it appeared during Harding’s 1920 Presidential campaign. The Ohio History Connection had planned to celebrate the campaign’s centennial not only through this restoration, but also by building the Warren G. Harding Presidential Library and Museum. The new museum includes space to store the 5,000 original objects in the collection, event space and an exhibit gallery. The pandemic delayed these plans; the first phase of the project was finished this spring, and it proudly re-opened in May. The second phase will add a wing for administrative offices, a research center and a secure area housing the Harding Presidential Papers.

Visits now begin in Petey’s new home – a white-brick, columned building that Ohio History Connection architects designed to complement its surroundings. Stone inserts above each window feature the monogram the Hardings used on their linens and stationery. New portraits of the Hardings by Marion native Danny Day, whose great-grandparents rented the Hardings’ home while they were in the White House, introduce visitors to the couple.

Warren Harding's office creed for The Marion Star, Harding Presidential Museum, Marion, OHExhibit designer Bill Mahon and his team present the Hardings’ story through an engaging mix of historic objects, primary sources, and audiovisual experiences. It begins with the Hardings’ Civil War childhood and continues through the ambitious, principled newspaperman’s ownership of The Marion Daily Star, supported by his wife, who contributed to its bookkeeping operations and mentored the boys who delivered it.

Harding’s political contributions are conveyed through audio recordings of his speeches and film footage of campaign appearances. Personal possessions, such as the suit the president wore to his inauguration and the beaded dress that expresses the First Lady’s appreciation for Egyptian motifs, help to make the couple three-dimensional figures with approachable personalities.

Detail of a dress belonging to Florence Harding, Harding Presidential Museum, Marion, OH

Egyptian scarab detail on a dress belonging to Mrs. Harding

A highlight of Harding’s presidential term is conveyed through a “slice” of the “Superb,” the private Pullman train car the Hardings used during their 15,000-mile “Voyage of Understanding” through the American West to Alaska and Canada. It also displays a selection of gifts they received during the trip before Harding died en route on August 2, 1923.

Continuing to the Hardings’ restored home, visitors will notice that the exterior has been repainted in its 1920 color scheme of Kelly green with buff-color trim. The expanded kitchen, added in 1920 to handle so many campaign supporters, but removed in a subsequent renovation, has also returned. But the home’s most notable exterior feature is the front porch, from which Harding addressed more than 600,000 people who came to Marion during his three-month “Return to Normalcy” presidential campaign. In 1903, Columbus architect Frank Packard designed the home’s bandstand-style second front porch. Just before the campaign, the Hardings updated it with concrete and mosaic tile flooring, which suffered widespread cracking. Those cracks provided a great challenge to restorers, who determined that the cracks had been present in 1920, a cause of the tile being installed too soon after the concrete was poured.

Harding home, Marion, OHMany of my favorite features of the home’s interior remain, such as the buckeye unity circle window in the dining room, the wedding china with the pink roses Mrs. Harding loved, and her ingenious “dress box” to store her wardrobe. However, the wallpaper in each room – even some ceilings, as was the decorating fashion of the day – has been replicated to its 1920 appearance. Original fragments found during restoration, as well as receipts discovered in the Harding Presidential Papers, photographs and historic wallpaper sample books, informed that effort. Designs featuring sweet peas, morning glories and buckeye leaves are complemented by grasscloth floor matting; burgundy burlap was reinstalled as a dado treatment beneath the dining room chair rail. Additionally, the team salvaged porcelain fixtures, a needle shower and linoleum flooring similar to what the Hardings installed in their bathroom in 1920.

Exterior signage indicates how neighboring homes featured in the campaign, including information on “The Girl Next Door,” a series of articles written by local teacher Eleanor Freeland. The “shack” where newspaper reporters submitted their stories has been converted from the former vistor center to a space for rotating exhibits. A grape arbor, apple trees and the makeshift horseshoe pit — all of which were part of the reporters’ campaign experience — have been re-introduced in the Hardings’ back yard. Apple trees and grape arbor, Harding home, Marion, OH

Scandals, myths and misinformation have plagued Harding and his presidency, but the site has worked hard to set the record straight, creating exhibits that provide a more balanced sense of the Hardings. That’s a fitting goal to convey the story of a former newspaper editor who considered all sides of an issue as he strove to achieve an equitable solution. Now, it is hoped that visitors leave with a better sense of the Hardings’ positive legacy.

I left with a better sense of what Marion offers beyond the Harding home.

DSCN6274After Harding’s death in August 1923, a nationwide fundraising campaign began to construct a memorial to the late president in Marion. More than a million people contributed, including pennies collected by 200,000 schoolchildren. The circular white marble, columned monument is reminiscent of a Greek temple, was completed in 1927. The Hardings were relocated from temporary interment in the Marion cemetery (Mrs. Harding died in November 1924) to the open “cloister” at the center of the memorial, in keeping with the president’s wishes to be buried in a simple grave under a tree and under the stars. President Herbert Hoover officially dedicated the memorial in 1931.

Union Station, Marion, OHMarion was a major railroad hub, and more than 100 freight trains continue to pass by Union Station, at 532 W. Center St., daily. The restored train station, built in 1902 at the intersection of five railroad lines, now houses a collection of railroad-related memorabilia, such as the interlocking machines and model boards that guided the trains through this junction. Visitors can also see the former ticket office, main waiting room, and the Atlantic Crossing Tower, which was once the main switching facility for the Marion division of the Erie Railroad. Train enthusiasts still make a day of it watching the trains go by.

Wyandot Popcorn Museum, Marion, OHLocated under a colorful circus tent in Heritage Hall, the Wyandot Popcorn Museum at 169 E. Church St. presents the largest collection of restored antique popcorn wagons in the United States. These fancy creations featured beveled-glass windows, roof vents, steam engines and agitators that both popped corn and roasted peanuts. A parade of some of these wagons takes place during the annual Marion Popcorn Festival, held the Thursday, Friday and Saturday after Labor Day. Since 1981, the world’s largest popcorn festival has celebrated Marion’s contributions to the corn-based salty snack food industry. In fact, Marion was once the largest popcorn exporter in the world.

Portraits of Warren and Florence Harding by Danny Day, Harding Presidential Museum, Marion, OHFor this visit to Marion, I read Warren G. Harding and the Marion Daily Star: How Newspapering Shaped a President, by Sheryl Smart Hall; First Lady Florence Harding: Behind the Tragedy and Controversy, by Katherine A. S. Sibley; Images of America: Marion, by Stuart J. Koblentz; and The Marion Popcorn Festival: A Fun-Filled History, by Michelle Rotuno-Johnson. Watch these WOSU Columbus Neighborhoods episodes on Marion’s Union Station, as well as Frank Packard’s unrealized design for the old Harding family farm in Blooming Grove, Ohio.

Thanks to a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Ohio History Connection has begun a two-year project to enhance several archival collections about Harding’s career, including more than 900 boxes of his presidential papers. Descriptive metadata will add relevance to and facilitate new research on the collections.

Posted in History, Museums, Ohio | 1 Comment

“He bore the grand old name of Gentleman.”

Extending an entire city block, the richly colored and textured brick-and-stone building with the arched entryways and deep-set windows has attracted me every time I visit downtown Springfield, Ohio. Heritage Center of Clark County, Springfield, OH

Designed by Charles Creager, Springfield’s native architect, this Richardsonian Romanesque gem has stood in the center of Downtown since 1890. Inside, the first floor once served as Springfield’s market, while the upper floors housed the city’s offices and police department. Now, it’s home to the Clark County Historical Society, which has transformed the historic space into a series of exhibits conveying informative, fascinating details about the county’s heritage.

Have you ever walked into a place and realized that you’ve picked just the right time to visit? That’s what happened when a gentleman offered to show us around. Who could refuse such a welcoming offer, especially from one dressed up and wearing a tie? That’s my clue that a man takes what he’s doing seriously.

So off we went to the first exhibit gallery, dominated by a large wall graphic of an area map dating from 1780. That helped our new acquaintance introduce George Rogers Clark (the county’s namesake); Tecumseh, the Shawnee Indian leader; and the Battle of Piqua in a way so knowledgeable and relevant you’d think he was an experienced history teacher.

The saga of Springfield continued with a Conestoga wagon, the logical visual to convey the early settlement of “the town at the end of the pike” and how it was transformed by the building of the National Road. Parting company with our guide, we continued, noting the building’s original tile flooring and architectural features saved from local buildings, displayed alongside facts about local inventors and the patent attorney who wrote five patents for Orville and Wilbur Wright.

Champion Mower poster, Heritage Center of Clark CountyIn a modern-day Exposition Hall recreating a turn-of-the-20th-century exposition, we spotted a model of the City Market fashioned from corn kernels. A greenhouse represented how Springfield became known as the “City of Roses” in 1919, as its 33 greenhouses produced 24 million roses to ship worldwide. And a display of farm equipment told of the development of “Champion” reapers, mowers and other agricultural implements, which made Springfield the international leader in manufacturing harvesting machinery. Related interests, such as agricultural publishing, led to the growth and wealth of the “Champion City.” Even President Benjamin Harrison cut the White House lawn with a Champion mower, a circa-1889 poster for the company proclaimed.

Asa Bushnell exhibit, Heritage Center of Clark CountyUpstairs, I found my reason for coming: a collection of artifacts belonging to Asa Bushnell, who governed Ohio from 1896 to 1900.

The 17-year old New Yorker arrived in Springfield in 1851; in the years that followed, he industriously worked his way up from a dry goods clerk to become president of the Warder, Bushnell & Glessner Company, which manufactured that Champion farming machinery and later became International Harvester. Bushnell shared his fortune with his community, investing in various initiatives to modernize Springfield and developing a following among fellow Republicans, culminating in his gubernatorial election.

“Not only was his life full of kindly deeds, but his friendly nature shone out always in his courteous, genial manner to every one with whom he came in contact,” a friend of Bushnell’s said. “In whatever company or circle he went he made life brighter and pleasanter. In the best sense of the word Asa S. Bushnell bore the grand old name of Gentleman.”

The same Richardsonian Romanesque style that Bushnell’s business partners chose for their homes in Chicago and Washington, D.C. prompted him to commission New York architect Robert H. Robertson to build the Bushnell family home on a sloping three-acre lot at 838 E. High St. in Springfield in 1888.

Our enlightening visit to the Heritage Center had piqued my curiosity; I was off to explore more of the Champion City.

Former home of Asa Bushnell, Springfield, OHFirst was the exterior of the Bushnell home – totally unlike anything else in Springfield at the time. Eyebrow windows, red turrets, tall chimneys, a porte cochere and a piazza gave grandeur to the home. Alternating shades of red sandstone were used to set the decorative elements apart from the limestone used to construct the home.

The home is complemented by a carriage house and a caretaker’s house, both combining elements of the Romanesque Revival and the Shingle Style. Both have the most marvelous architectural details. After the former governor’s death in 1904, his family sold the property and it remained a private house until the 1930s, when it became a funeral home, which it remains today.

Charles Creager may have designed Springfield’s most notable public buildings, but other local architects left just as lasting an impression on their community. Snyder ParkSnyder Park, Springfield, OH, an inviting example of their work, was next.

In 1895, John and David Snyder donated over 217 acres of land to the city of Springfield to be used as a park. During the years that followed, the park took shape. Neighboring Buck Creek was straightened, an ice skating pond and lakes were formed, hundreds of trees were planted, and roadways were made, the main thoroughfare passing under N. Bechtle Ave. In 1902, a stone arch was placed at the Western Avenue entrance to the park to commemorate the brothers. It became known as “Mrs. Fitch’s Arch,” named for the woman who designed it.

Several historic structures remain in the park today, including a rustic stone bridge, a California Mission Style boathouse, a station where people waited for the interurban, a shelter house, and a green ironwork bridge that connects the northern and southern ends of the park.

Early Ohio Settlers Garden, Snyder Park, SpringfieldRecently, Ohio State University Extension and Master Gardener Volunteers of Clark County have created demonstration, teaching and display gardens at Snyder Park. These include a perennial garden; a children’s garden; and The Garden of Eatin’, a modern-day Victory Garden surrounded by a three-foot groundhog fence. An Early Ohio Settlers garden features plants that would have been popular during the first half of the 19th century, such as heirloom vegetables, hops, medicinal plants, kitchen herbs and flowers used for natural dyes.

Back at home, I discovered that our knowledgeable new friend was not a history teacher after all, but Paul W. (“Ski”) Schanher III, a retired dentist with a passion for local history. In fact, he’s the author of Beautiful Ferncliff: Springfield, Ohio’s Historic Cemetery and Arboretum. That’s the purpose of my next visit to Springfield.

For more on Springfield’s history, see Springfield & Clark County: An Illustrated History, by William A. Kinnison; Images of America: Springfield, by Harry Laybourne; Springfield: An Intimate Portrait, by Kimberly A. Rinker; and No Place Like Home: A History of Domestic Architecture in Springfield and Clark County, Ohio, by George H. Berkhofer. To learn more about Charles Creger, watch “The Architect Who Defined the Champion City.”


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“There are many paths to success. Yours starts here.”

The arrival of the “Renew Your Vehicle Registration” paperwork in the mail means one thing: October 1 is approaching. This year, I’m going to suggest that our department’s annual celebratory lunch occur at Degrees Restaurant, located in Mitchell Hall, the home of Columbus State Community College’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts.

Mitchell Hall, Columbus State Community CollegeConstructed on the site of a former parking lot along N. Cleveland Ave., Mitchell Hall was intended to double the enrollment capacity of and generate revenue for Columbus State’s hospitality and culinary program. After 18 months of construction, Mitchell Hall opened in Fall 2019.

The 80,000-square-foot, three-story building is named after restaurateur Cameron Mitchell of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, who donated $2.5 million of the $34.5 million project. The state, the college and other private gifts provided the rest of the funding. Cutting boards affixed to one of the building’s first-floor walls creatively recognize these and other donors.

The project was also complemented by more than $7 million from the city of Columbus for streetscape improvements on Cleveland Ave. south of E. Long St. and on E. Gay St., as part of the Creative Campus “Opportunity Corridor” project. To create a more inviting gateway to this part of Downtown, it reconfigured and resurfaced part of Cleveland Ave.; widened sidewalks; added new curbs, medians, brick crosswalks and trees and flowers; improved traffic and pedestrian safety; and repeatedly tried my patience during after-work commutes. At last, it was completed in July 2020.

Mitchell HallMitchell Hall features a multitude of windows, to put learning on display, to encourage collaboration, and to invite the public to experience what the program has to offer by patronizing its bakery and restaurant.

At Blend Bakery and Cafe, students and staff make an assortment of baked goods, soups, salads, quiche and sandwiches that change daily based on the season and available ingredients. On the day I visited, I took my usual time choosing from a selection of almond toast (brioche bread with an orange dessert syrup, almond cream and toasted almonds), brownies, a red velvet cake roll, cookies, doughnuts and scones.

Emerging with a cinnamon roll, I encountered Josh Wickham, the school’s enthusiastic director of operations, who emerged beaming from one of the building’s 11 teaching and production kitchens. He offered to give me a tour, and I gladly accepted.

Degrees Restaurant, Mitchell HallDegrees, a 50-seat, full-service restaurant and bar, is professionally managed and staffed by students. The dining area is separated from an open kitchen by a sheet of transparent glass, training students to handle the high-stress environments they will likely encounter when working in real-world culinary environments. While Degrees remains closed at this writing, its pre-pandemic menu included warm cheddar biscuits with pimento butter; house-made ricotta with peach preserves and sourdough toast; beets and pickled blueberry salad; pomegranate brussels sprouts; a fried chicken and Havarti sandwich; braised chicken with cheddar grits and glazed root vegetables; and handmade pasta with hand-crushed tomatoes. I’d better start contemplating that kind of choice now.

Upstairs, teaching kitchens have been equipped with above-station monitors so that students can see instructor-led demonstrations.

Mixology lab, Mitchell HallA mixology lab allows students to learn about spirits, wines, and appropriate glassware in which to serve drinks. Underlit tables allow them to see the clarity or sediment of wine.

The facility features a 400-seat conference center; student collaboration spaces; and other support spaces, such as climate-controlled cold storage areas for making sausages, handling meats and working with chocolate and pastry.

The following week, Mitchell Hall’s 100-seat culinary theater was the setting for an open house in which prospective students (yes, like me) learned about this versatile, affordable program.

Students can pursue five majors of hospitality management: Baking and pastry arts; hotel, tourism, and event management; nutrition and dietetics; restaurant and food service management; and a culinary apprenticeship. Offered in cooperation with the Columbus chapter of the American Culinary Federation, this major includes theory-related classroom instruction and on-the-job training under a professional chef in restaurants, clubs, hotels or catering businesses.

The program also offers two certificates, providing intensive study for one or two semesters in a specific discipline. The Culinary Arts Professional Culinary Certificate program provides basic skills needed to start a career as a professional cook. Introductory courses cover hospitality, food principles, professional kitchen and baking fundamentals, basic food production, nutrition, hospitality supervision and quality management. Instruction is also given in garde manger (preparation of cold food items), ice carving, buffet presentation, and culinary show guidelines and practices. The Baking Certificate Program prepares students to prepare and produce pies, cookies, cakes, breads, rolls, desserts and other baked goods in a variety of baking environments. Coursework in baking principles, professional kitchen and baking fundamentals, and pastries are complemented by instruction in cleaning equipment, measuring and mixing ingredients, oven-tending, product finishing and presentation.

Completion of the two-year program results in an Associate of Applied Science degree. Certificates can be stacked into a degree. Each eight-week program alternates between classroom sessions, lab work and a four-hour weekly work shift in either Blend or Degrees.

The open house culminated in Chef Michelle Willoughby’s demonstration of how to create Japanese water cakes. These trendy sweets are made from clear gelatin, sugar and flavoring with a colored gelatin “flower.” Hypodermic-needle syringes are used to inject vibrant designs that look like they’re suspended in glass.

Mitchell HallMitchell Hall also offers cooking and mixology classes for the public, known as The Mix. Course offerings include fundamental sessions, such as knife skills and how to navigate a grocery store; seasonal options, such as holiday baking; and hands-on “date-night” classes, like a recent German-themed lineup of Bavarian pretzels with German mustards, pork Schnitzel, braised red cabbage and spaetzle.

To locate information and resources within the field of hospitality management, see the research guide that Columbus State’s librarians and faculty have prepared here.

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