My Friend Jim’s Place / Columbus, Ohio

John Fraim

In A Silent Way / Miles Davis

Around 2008, I was making a documentary film on the Columbus jazz legend Gene Walker. Gene grew up near the legendary Long Street jazz community of the 40s and 50s and was greatly influenced by this area of Columbus. I had decided to do a documentary on Gene and this area of Columbus that he grew up in. We had become good friends over numerous engagements I filmed and interviewed Gene. The film has never been completed as Gene passed away a few years after we started the project and I moved to California. But we had captured some incredible footage on audio and video. I wrote about our relationship in a biography I created on Gene called Extra Large. It was somewhat of a rough outline of the film I had envisioned when I started the project a few years before the biography.

Through Gene, I heard of a person with the Columbus Arts Council named Jim Arter. Gene thought the two of us would hit it off and suggested we meet. I called Jim and got together with him at his office high in one of the downtown Columbus skyscrapers. We hit it off immediately. It was one of those rare instances where one needs to simply accept another person and then move on to something new, different, in the future, rather than linger in the present trying to analyze and understand.  

The windows of Jim’s office opened across the entire landscape of central Ohio. Flat and plain as far as the eye could see. The city in all directions. Jim had an executive position with the Arts Council if I remember. In the middle of Jim’s office was a huge quilt being created by the Columbus gay community. It was an amazing sight. A combination of so many colors and designs and messages. Jim explained some of the patches to me. He knew much about each one. 

The Tea House

* * *

Over the next years, we became great friends. There was a naturalness to our relationship. Something never planned out. Just a meeting between the two of us because of our love for the jazz musician Gene Walker. Yet, what better way is there to bring people together?

Jim had acquired a great property east of downtown Columbus and had made it into an incredible little urban retreat over the years. The property consisted of his home on the left side of the property with an additional lot added to the property and extended backyard. At the back part of Jim’s incredible backyard was his Tea House. 

It sat at the end of a little path through trees and little statues of things like little elves and miniature Buddhas on garden rocks surrounding the Tea House. Jim let the Columbus Buddha group use the Tea House as it probably was more authentic than what they had come up with. Many times, Jim and I sat out in the Tea House enjoyed a cup of tea. Or a beer.

The Path to the Tea House

I’ve been telling Jim that I want to take some photos and videos of his place with my camera equipment. I’ve done this before. But now I have a drone and there are new perspectives to get on Jim’s place.

It is early autumn in Ohio and the trees are beginning to explode in their dying color. The trees around Jim’s home are spectacular. We set up a time for me to come down and do some drone and other shots of his place. 

A few of the photos from this morning in Columbus on November 3, 2021 at 10:29 am.

Above Jim’s Home

The two suspects.

John & Jim
On a winter day, Jim holds court in the Teahouse

2 thoughts on “Jimmy’s

  1. Thanks for another local piece, John. I met Jim Arter when his amazing home and garden was selected for Simply Living’s Sustainable Living and Garden tour in September 2018. Before the event a group of us on the planning committee met with Jim in his Tea House where we enjoyed learning from Jim about the evolution of his property and his involvement with the arts and the surrounding neighborhood. I will send you via email a copy of the one page description of his property that we prepared for tour visitors.

  2. John, I enjoyed your story of meeting Jimmy, and found his tea house garden area a delightful surprise in a city area.
    Love these pictures…artists come in many forms, the artistic talent of a friend who develops this serene area to walk in to get to his tea house that invites his friends to enter and enjoy themselves with their friend. Barbara

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