From: Richard McCoy, director of Landmark Columbus
Small American cities aren’t usually known for being audacious — we are led to believe that this kind of ambition only exists in larger cities. Columbus is different, and has been for a long time. Like no one else we demonstrate the importance of working together and investing in the value of good design. We believe that good design should benefit everyone.
Of course, being audacious means taking risks — it is literally creating new paths to new places. This work can be a lot of fun, and also filled with uncertainty and challenges.
It was with all of this in mind that we created Exhibit Columbus. We wanted to remind the community and ourselves that we can work together and create a new vision around our design heritage to build upon Columbus’ internationally recognized legacy of excellence. Since announcing Exhibit Columbus in May of 2016, we produced the symposium, Foundations and Futures, which was critically acclaimed and nationally recognized. Just as importantly it was well attended by members of the community and by many visitors — over 1,000 people. It generated a mountain of new knowledge that continues to inform.
On Aug. 26, the inaugural exhibition opened to the public with the international architecture, art and design communities watching. The tidal wave of media praise put our small American city again in the national spotlight. The 2017 exhibition continues to glow in this light and the community has embraced it with joyful pride and enthusiasm. These days downtown Columbus again feels like a city that is daring and looking towards an optimistic future. Downtown streets are busy every weekend, and we’ve estimated nearly 40,000 people have experienced the exhibition. We think the New York Times got it right when they proclaimed “Columbus, Ind., Renews its Big Design Legacy.”
We hope that residents have had a chance to explore the 2017 exhibition and more importantly that they have personally felt some of the excitement around the city. The exhibition has exceeded our expectations in so many ways and begun to inspire the next generation and the region around the value of good design. If one hasn’t visited the exhibition, please do so before it closes Nov. 26. Many people think that the designers and Exhibit Columbus created all of the installations, but the reality is with the support of so many in the community and state, we created this together.
Today we are working to finalize our fundraising needs for the year and beginning to make plans for the 2018 symposium. We ask that residents consider making a financial contribution to our parent organization, Landmark Columbus, through Heritage Fund — the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County. This can be done through their website or via postal mail. We ask that residents help Exhibit Columbus thrive and continue to create new paths that reinvigorate the movement started so long ago. On behalf of the entire Exhibit Columbus team, I want to thank residents for the opportunity to work on such an important project!