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A new celebration series in the heart of Downtown, both for and from the community.

Downtown's newest street festival

Imagine a night market, block party or street festival! UnderCurrent is a new event series in 2024 occurring underneath Janet Echleman’s “Current” sculpture at the intersection of Gay & High Streets.

Downtown Columbus, Inc. is seeking the community’s big ideas to provide unique, accessible and creative programming to bolster the vibrancy of Downtown Columbus. 

 In 2024, Downtown Columbus, Inc. will support the planning efforts of up to five events through a new grant program. The program will provide an exciting opportunity for event organizers, creatives and artists to receive support to facilitate a community event in the heart of Downtown.

Events will be community and culture-focused, drawing folks to Gay & High and surrounding businesses. They will receive logistical assistance from Downtown Columbus, Inc.

When UnderCurrent events are chosen, they will be posted here.

Want to lead an event? Read on and apply below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Up to five grants of $10,000 each are available. 

In addition to grant funding, DCI will provide base level support to event organizers, including: 

  • Permit process assistance: DCI will cover special event permit fee and street closure costs ($200 value)
  • Road closure infrastructure ($1,500 value)
  • Event promotion through Downtown Columbus, Inc. marketing channels
  • Event plan review

Grant funds can be used for the following (but not limited to):

  • Equipment rentals
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Entertainment and performers
  • Permits and licenses
  • Security and general liability insurance


They cannot be used for the following (list may not be inclusive):

  • Alcohol
  • Food and drink

Events will occur between June 1 and October 31, 2024. . Applications will go live on March 11, 2024. Applications are due by April 1, 2024 at 5 pm. Successful applicants will be notified by April 15, 2024 at 5 pm. 

Applicants may request preferred month and dates that suit their event type and audience. However, these are not guaranteed. DCI will work with organizers to determine the optimal time for the event to take place based on the other programs in the series, community event conflicts, and road closure restrictions.

To be supported by this program, an event must have the following characteristics:

  • Unique or special from everyday occurrences
  • Be a draw for Downtown
  • Open and accessible to the public
  • Free to the public to attend (can include minimal low cost programming, i.e. food trucks, face painting, etc.)

Applicants must agree to the following restrictions:

  • Must obtain all necessary permits and approvals.
  • Event must be free to the public (retail and food and beverages sales are permitted)
  • Event type, audience, and content may vary, but should generally fall in the “PG-13” category
  • Event size and location must include, at a minimum, West Gay from High to Wall Streets
  • Event must conclude by 10:30 PM (not including tear down time)
  • Event organizer must provide security in accordance the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department Special Event Permit process
  • Event organizer is responsible for providing and/or hiring staff and volunteers to set up, execute and tear down event
  • Event organizer must provide a post-event recap, on the template provided by DCI.

Applications will not be accepted from the following types of organizations and events:

  • Political, religious or trade union organizations;
  • Degree and diploma granting educational institutes
  • Festivals and events that are ticketed or have an entrance fee;


Applications will not be accepted from the following types of activities: 

  • Festivals and events that are ticketed or have an entrance fee
  • Festivals and events that are fundraisers
  • Festivals and events that are private (members or invite-only) or not easily accessible to the general public.

Selection of applications to recommend for funding will be primarily based on the following criteria:

  • Creativity in event purpose, content, entertainment, and/or audience in a way that adds to the vibrancy of Downtown Columbus.
  • The event should support (not harm) outdoor dining for establishments in the vicinity.
  • Economic impact the event will create for Downtown through spending by attendees and other factors.
  • Demonstration of financial need, explaining how grant funding will impact the event.

UnderCurrent Grant Application

Thanks for your interest in UnderCurrent! Please fill out this form to be considered. Please note that filling out this form does not guarantee the grant. If your application is considered for further review, you will be contacted by a member of our team.

Working title okay.
Applicant Name(Required)
Applicant Address
MM slash DD slash YYYY
Date selections are not guaranteed and will be determined in conjunction with the Downtown Columbus Inc. team.
MM slash DD slash YYYY
MM slash DD slash YYYY
If you have no date preference, please check this box.
You are willing to work with Downtown Columbus, Inc. to determine optimal timing for this event.
Please enter a number less than or equal to 10000.
Cannot exceed $10,000 per applicant.
Max. file size: 50 MB.