What We Do

Art Exhibit and Documentary Film

The Columbus Crossing Borders Project is an art exhibit and documentary film created to inspire critical thinking, compassion and support for the millions of people who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, climate, violence and persecution. The art exhibit contains 34 refugee-themed paintings that "cross borders" and connect with one another. The documentary film provides a visual journey of this art exhibit alongside first-person accounts shared by refugees who have made the United States their home. Both the exhibit and film have touched the hearts of thousands while being seen in galleries, schools, community centers and theatres across the United States.

The Columbus Crossing Borders Project is grateful to work in partnership with the Community Refugee and Immigration Services of Columbus, Ohio.

Art Exhibit: http://ColumbusCrossingBordersProject.com/Art_Exhibit

Documentary Film: http://ColumbusCrossingBordersProject.com/Documentary_Film

Human Rights Education

The Columbus Crossing Borders advocacy includes a deep commitment to human rights education. Using art as our base, we work with community organizations and school students on creative projects that encourage critical thinking and meaningful actions that support equality, freedom, justice and peace – all contained within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Through poetry, musical performances, painting, story-telling, mural-making and journaling, we celebrate our shared humanity and reinforce positive views of self, respect for others and a strong sense of responsibility toward our communities. We introduce projects that are age-appropriate for each classroom and we work with teachers to integrate activities into current classroom studies.

Human Rights Education: http://ColumbusCrossingBordersProject.com/Community

Our Team

Laurie VanBalen
Project Director
Laurie VanBalen

Laurie VanBalen in an artist, instructor, community organizer and advocate for human rights. She created the Columbus Crossing Borders art exhibit and produced the “Breathe Free” documentary film.  Laurie takes the study of human rights into classrooms and communities, engaging in the many ways we can all make positive contributions through actions that establish equality, fairness and respect for all.

Tom VanBalen
Director of Operations
Tom VanBalen

Tom VanBalen provides decades of organizational and logistical experience gained from dual careers in the music and construction industries.
Tom " makes the wheels go round," by overseeing all Columbus Crossing Borders events and activities, and by preparing the way to further human rights education.

Barbara Osumi
Creative Media
Barbara Osumi

Barbara Osumi has spent her adult life wearing the hats of mother, artist, computer programmer and graphic media designer, dolphin rights activist and astrologer. Barbara's philosophy has always been that love and kindness are the key ingredients to a world where basic human rights are given to all.

Technical Designer
Dale Ziemianski

Dale Ziemianski is a digital sci-fi / fantasy / horror illustrator, 3D modeler, web designer and permaculture enthusiast. Constantly teaching himself new things, he learned Blender to create the gallery room in 3D, Theasys to build the Virtual Tour and Bootstrap and Mobirise to create and fine-tune this website. His contribution to the Project was the painting of aliens crash-landing on a farm.

Copyright 2021 The Columbus Crossing Borders Project
web design - Dale Ziemianski