Exhibit Columbus, meant to be a temporary collection of 18 architectural exhibits, may see a few pieces become a permanent part of the city’s heralded landscape.
In fact, as the three-month project – one that earned international attention – officially closes today after attracting an estimated 50,000 people, the future of a few of the installations is being negotiated, according to organizers.
That includes one of the more popular works, Cody Hoyt’s “Theoretical Foyer.” The multi-colored brick pattern at Seventh and Washington streets, inspired by world-renowned interior and textile designer Alexander Girard, will stay at least until late spring.
“We want to see how it (“Theoretical Foyer”) does during the winter, and what happens with it under snow and ice and salt before we talk about anything long-term,” said Richard McCoy, one of the founders of the three-month exhibition and also director of the umbrella nonprofit agency Landmark Columbus that has overseen Exhibit Columbus. “That was a piece that people were already in my ear about from the opening day.”
Story continues below gallery
Also, Formafantasma’s glazed brick-and-glass wall, “Window to Columbus,” at 538 Franklin St. downtown, sponsored by the Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, will remain until spring. It will be part of continued exhibitions co-curated by Tricia Gilson of the Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives and designer Jonathan Nesci.
Plus, IKD’s “Conversation Plinth,” one of the most-publicized pieces, will remain in place at the Bartholomew County Public Library Plaza until next month.
Architect Chris Cornelius’ teepee-style “Wiikiaami” on Fifth Street next to First Christian Church possibly could stay, but McCoy hastened to add that several local parties and those beyond Columbus have recently expressed strong interest in the piece.
“We never actually intended for this to happen,” McCoy said, adding that the 18 Exhibit Columbus pieces originally were meant to be temporary.
However, he said, local residents’ enthusiasm and love for the exhibit’s works became one of more surprising and gratifying elements of the project for him and other leaders.
“That’s the thing I really underestimated – how much the local community would love this stuff,” McCoy said.
Dismantling details with local construction firms also are still being completed, with that work beginning in about a week or more, according to organizers. Although exact cost of teardown is as of yet unknown, it will be only a fraction — significantly less than 10 percent — of the project’s overall budget, McCoy said.
He said in-kind contributions from some firms will minimize dismantling costs.
Indianapolis philanthropist and arts supporter Jeremy Efroymson said he was impressed with the exhibition from its first day Aug. 26 when he and his girlfriend strolled through downtown Columbus to see the works. The Efroymson Family Fund-Central Indiana Community Foundation provided $250,000 in seed money and a challenge grant in fall of 2014 so the Exhibit Columbus effort could be organized.
McCoy said he and others were able to leverage the Efroymsons’ support to attract other funding for Exhibit Columbus. The event also attracted a broad range of financial support from other foundations, businesses, corporations and donors, according to organizers. That included The Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, which is the umbrella agency for Landmark Columbus.
“The attendance sounds like a pretty good crowd to me,” said Efroymson, the fund’s vice president, and an advisory board member of Exhibit Columbus. “It got a lot of national press, which is good. I think one of Richard McCoy’s points from the beginning of all of this was to find a way to reactivate all these significant (permanent) architectural buildings in Columbus.
“And I think Columbus now has done a good job of that.”
- Finalizing what is staying temporarily and perhaps permanently.
- Finalizing plans to dismantle pieces such as “Conversation Plinth” moving elsewhere.
- Turning attention to the 2018 Exhibit Columbus Symposium scheduled in the fall.