Fascination with Exhibit Columbus signals promise for event’s future

Exhibit Columbus, the three-month exhibition of 18 temporary structures that will be erected at famous architectural locations around Columbus, opens Aug. 26 and runs through Nov. 26.

That will provide people plenty of time to check out the works, including the five winners of the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize, but it’s clear that some people are eager for Exhibit Columbus to start now.

More than 60 people showed up Aug. 3 at the Upland Columbus Pump House for #drinkingaboutdesign, which was the first in a series of Thursday drinking-and-design events through November intended to connect fans of good design with people who are making Exhibit Columbus happen. Some of the speakers will be the designers and creators of of the temporary structures. The first event featured Chicago designer Rick Valicenti, who created the Exhibit Columbus logo.

The weekly event is a clever idea for people to learn more about the exhibit and design in a fun, relaxed way.

Even more impressive is the huge level of interest in the Exhibit Columbus Preview Party. Because of greater-than-expected ticket demand, organizers said, the event from 6 to 11 p.m. Aug. 25 has been moved to an area under a tent at Mill Race Park on Fifth Street.

More than 500 tickets have been sold — far above an expected 300 total, organizers said.

Tickets are priced at $150, $250 for VIP, $1,500 for table sponsorship and $2,500 for a VIP ticket and table sponsorship.

The event originally had been slated outdoors at the Cummins Inc. Corporate Office Building, at 500 Jackson Street.

What’s clear is that Exhibit Columbus — starting with last year’s symposium that drew nearly 1,000 people, to the ramp-up for the three-month display — has many people talking and is one of the best new ideas for promoting the city and capitalizing on its famed architecture.

Based on the early support, Exhibit Columbus has the making to become a signature event that raises the city’s profile even a few notches higher. That’s worth toasting.