The next time you need a workout, consider taking a walk around Columbus.
Columbus Art Walks is a program that provides maps and audio tours through six different districts of the city. The audio shares stories about revitalization, history, architecture and art projects in the city and is accessible with a cellphone.
Individual tourists can follow maps provided by Columbus Public Health.
“All you have to do is dial a number, and as you are looking at the map, there is an extension to dial at each site,” said Betsy Pandora, the Healthy Places coordinator at Columbus Public Health.
Tourists can choose from six different art walks through the Short North, German Village, the Discovery District, the Statehouse District, the Arena District and the University District.
The Discovery District includes the Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus Art Museum and a portion of Columbus State Community College.
“The Discovery District art walk is part of what is being called ‘Columbus’ creative campus,'” Pandora said. “It really focuses on a lot of history but also a lot of large scale art projects.”
Officials will release three more tours in June of this year for the Near East District, Franklinton and Clintonville.
Columbus Public Health created the art walk program to provide ways to make residents more active while enjoying nature, said Jose Rodriquez, director of communications for Columbus Public Health.
“We know that an active community is a healthy community,” Rodriquez said.
Pandora said it is important for students to connect with their community.
“We think it’s connecting with the city’s history and art that can encourage students to want to stick around and be a part of the community and also be physically active,” Pandora said.
Andrea Applegate, director of workforce development at the Columbus Chamber, walked the Statehouse tour last fall. She said she enjoyed the walk because it opened her eyes to things in the city she did not know existed.
“On Town Street, there’s a nice police memorial park, but it was a surprising thing to find in the middle of downtown,” Applegate said. “It was very quiet and nice, tucked behind a building.”
The audio files for the walks are available to download in MP3 format from the Columbus Public Health website, and have been distributed in locations throughout the city.
Applegate said it could only be a benefit to become active off-campus.
“It’s also a way to learn more about the community and have a better understanding of what its history has been and what the future can be,” Applegate said. “And students can see themselves in that as well.”
The Art Walks are free and open to the public.