Some of the 25,000 annual visitors to Columbus will get a fresh and faster look at the city’s storied architecture through a new Columbus Area Visitors Center promotional video.
The video has been on the group’s website for about six weeks but was showcased during Tuesday’s annual meeting at its downtown office and meeting room.
The 7½-minute segment, produced by Bloomington’s MyersCroxton Group, replaces an 18-minute film done nearly a decade ago.
The new video will be shown primarily to Columbus visitors before they start the architectural bus tour, which includes about 40 stops in the city from among 72 buildings considered architecturally significant in Bartholomew County. In the first half of this year, 4,606 people took one of the city’s tours, including bus excursions and walking tours.
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Key themes in the new video include:
Origin of the city’s distinctive Modern architecture, starting with First Christian Church, completed in 1942 with the backing of community leader, philanthropist and Cummins executive J. Irwin Miller.
Beginning of the Cummins Architecture Program, which pays architectural fees for approved projects that utilize world-class architects. The first public building constructed with these funds was Lillian Schmitt Elementary School.
The seven Columbus buildings designated as National Historic Landmarks: Miller House & Garden, North Christian Church, First Christian Church, Irwin Conference Center, First Baptist Church, McDowell Adult Education Center and The Republic newspaper office.
Public art, such as sculptor Henry Moore’s Large Arch, Jean Tinguely’s Chaos I in The Commons and Dale Chihuly’s glass work in the Visitors Center.
Landscape designs such as Irwin Gardens, on the grounds of J. Irwin Miller’s boyhood home.
The latest public relations tool earned a solidly positive review from longtime Columbus resident Beth Booth Poor, who attended the annual meeting.
“It was wonderful,” Booth Poor said. “It features some great new and updated shots. And it gets its point across.”
One of the images that pops off the screen is North Christian Church’s needle-like steeple reaching skyward — with the sun gleaming right behind it, casting a shimmering and otherworldly light. The film uses some images from local photographers.
Right from the beginning, it employs imaginative graphics, showing images of some of the city’s major buildings by noted designers artistically popping out of the trademark plastic panels of the First Christian Church bell tower.
Erin Hawkins, the visitors center’s director of marketing, said the shorter length was purposely done in a society now more accustomed to youtube.com and other short, fast-paced clips.
“Our appetite for video in society has dramatically changed,” Hawkins said. “The longer, older video covered a lot of things that really are part of the broader community (beyond architecture). We decided to focus mostly on the No. 1 question everyone wants to know when they come here: Why is all this great architecture in this tiny town?”
The video trumpets Columbus’ continuing rank of sixth among national cities with significant architecture — behind Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., according to the American Institute of Architects. And the final 2½ minutes highlight the local work of top landscape designers such as Dan Kiley, who designed the gardens for Aero Saarinen’s Miller House.
“The graphics also are quite good,” Booth Poor said.
Filmmakers fill the screen near the end with gushing quotes about Columbus from architecture-related stories in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine.
You can catch the Columbus Area Visitors Center’s latest video at the agency’s website at columbus.in.us/columbus/the-columbus-story.