Organizers of Exhibit Columbus, a three-month architectural event in Columbus, are inviting people in the community who love to talk design to meet up for a drink.

Tonight marks the first #drinkingaboutdesign event, the beginning of weekly meet-up sessions at the Upland Columbus Pump House brew pub and restaurant. Community members and design fans can meet with Exhibit Columbus organizers and learn more about the upcoming exhibition, ask questions and learn more about the architectural designs that will be on display Aug. 26 to Nov. 26.

The inaugural event, from 4 to 6 p.m., will feature a talk with Rick Valicenti, founder and design director of Thirst, who created Exhibit Columbus’ distinctively colorful graphic identity, said Richard McCoy, Exhibit Columbus founder.

Valicenti’s designs are featured on an Exhibit Columbus poster that will be distributed at tonight’s meet-up, and are also featured on about 24 bright promotional banners that will line the entire length of Washington Street starting this week.

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McCoy said Valicenti’s designs also are being installed in some windows of the former Republic building across from Columbus City Hall as an additional reminder of the Exhibit Columbus opening in just over three weeks.

“We’re launching quietly,” McCoy said of the rollout of Valicenti’s designs and the meet-up event tonight. “It’s something we’ve been cooking up for a while.”

The #drinkingaboutdesign event is the first of weekly meet-ups planned through November, McCoy said. Some of the speakers will be the designers and creators of the temporary structures that make up Exhibit Columbus’ visual presentation.

McCoy, who is founder and director of Landmark Columbus, said he envisions the meet-up events as opportunities for casual conversation about design and a chance to have fun, go have a beer and talk about design.

Landmark Columbus is a nonprofit dedicated to caring for the city’s architectural heritage, which is under the umbrella of The Heritage Fund — the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County.

Other than the caveat that participants must be at least 21 to attend, the event is open to the community, he said.

Exhibit Columbus organizers expect more than 10,000 people will visit the Exhibit Columbus artistic designs at locations around the city during the three-month exhibit. Installation pieces range from designs that come from established national architects to a design submitted from area high school students.

Architectural Digest and the Wall Street Journal have previewed Exhibit Columbus and organizers are expecting a reporter from the New York Times to visit to do a preview this week, McCoy said.

On Tuesday, city officials approved some logistical arrangements for an installation in the plaza and sidewalk in front of the Bartholomew County Library to allow workers to complete “Conversation Plinth.”

Trucks from Montana will deliver three levels of the exhibit beginning Monday and continuing on Aug. 11 and 14 that will require closing Fifth Street in front of the library between Lafayette and Franklin streets to unload the vehicles, said David Doup, president of Taylor Brothers Construction.

Doup also requested to have the sidewalk closed for about three weeks so “Conversation Plinth,” which was designed by IKD of Boston, can be assembled.

If you go

What: #drinking about design

Where: Upland Columbus Pump House, 148 Lindsey St.

When: 4 to 6 p.m. today

What it is: A new weekly meet-up created to engage the community and connect fans of good design with people who are making Exhibit Columbus happen.

How much: Free

To RSVP: Click “going” on the event meetup page on Facebook — search under “#drinkingaboutdesign”

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.