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Our History

The Columbus Music Commission (CMC) was formed in 2016 by community members who recognized a need to cultivate and support local music talent in the greater Columbus area. A diverse Board of Directors was brought together by a shared passion for both music and community. This leadership includes area musicians, educators, lawyers, and business and city leaders from all walks of life, ethnicities, genders, and backgrounds. The organization received 501(c)(3) status on July 14, 2016 and hired the first Executive Director, Bruce Garfield, in August 2018.

In pursuit of its mission, CMC has spent its first five years developing educational programs, career initiatives, and performance opportunities to support the artistic and personal growth of youth, music-makers, and aspiring entrepreneurs in Columbus and central Ohio. Programs have steadily evolved and grown during the organization’s first six years to respond to community needs and create a “Pathway to Prosperity” – the program umbrella which denotes how our services build upon each other to provide education, personal development, and professional opportunity. We are here to offer support to those interested in music education and industry at every stage of their development.

  • In 2018, Music Mondays became the first major program led by the Commission. In our first six years of these events, we have gathered thousands of musicians and industry professionals to learn and network at in-person and virtual learning events.
  • Gift of Music began in 2019 as an instrument drive for Columbus City Schools. The program’s main objective is to get instruments into the hands of young people in the Columbus community in support of equity in music education. To date, more than $400,000 worth of instruments have been distributed.
  • Earn as You Learn launched in June 2021 as a program that connects teens and young adults interested in music administration with paid internships in the community. Interns are hosted by local industry leading recording studios, concert venues, and production companies. Thirty-three (33) young people participated in the first three years. 
  • In December 2021, we held our first showcase for The Unheard. These concerts feature emerging musicians at major music venues in the city, providing them with a paid performance opportunity and a growing audience. More than 35 musicians have participated thus far.
  • Taking place over the course of six months in 2023, we launched a Better Together Music Incubator.  This program aims to select ten local artists and bands who have showcased great potential and assist them in creating sustainable careers in music.  We do this through hosting workshops regarding financials and branding, offering free studio and recording time, mentoring and providing networking opportunties, and exhibiting their abilities to the public through a final Better Together showcase.

We believe that through the support of music, we can help build richer, happier, more vibrant lives for the people of our community. For more information about Music Columbus, formerly known as Columbus Music Commission, or any of our programs, please contact us.