Art project’s inclusion of students great opportunity

Indiana University’s proposed master’s degree in architecture, which would allow college students to take advanced classes in Columbus using the city’s many examples of Modern architecture for firsthand learning, is expected to be approved Thursday by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

If approved, the program likely would begin in the fall of 2018. However, other opportunities in architecture for Columbus students are already available. A great example is the exhibition element of Exhibit Columbus, which has a high school student component.

Exhibit Columbus started last year as an annual exploration of art, architecture, design and community. Landmark Columbus, an organization that cares for and celebrates the city’s world-renowned design heritage, organizes the event. Five inaugural Miller Prize architectural exhibits, which are temporary design projects sometimes referred to as pop-up art or architecture, will be displayed later this year. The Miller Prize is named for the late community and philanthropic leaders J. Irwin and Xenia Miller.

Two teams, each composed of students from Columbus North or Columbus East high schools, created and submitted designs to complete a temporary structure in an installation for the LHP building at Seventh and Washington streets.

One team’s creation, “Between the Threads,” is a multi-colored, 10-foot rope panels maze that has ties to two nearby structures: the colorful pipes at the AT&T Switching Center and the white trellis at the LHP building. The other creation, “Chevron,” is a modern stretched canopy that protrudes over the sidewalk and used the color red to catch attention and white modular seating to invite people to relax and interact in a shady space.

Recently, the “Between the Threads” entry was selected to be part of Exhibit Columbus.

In working with the high school teams competing for this selection, IU Center for Art + Design director T. Kelly Wilson remarked how much talent he found among participating high school students. They will have their creations displayed along with the professional architects who were chosen for the inaugural Miller Prize exhibits, and build temporary installations at the site of five iconic architectural landmarks in Columbus.

Columbus has been renowned for its architecture for decades, but recent efforts to expand this asset with educational opportunities is a positive, new step. The student component of Exhibit Columbus is a good way to tap into and showcase local talent, and possibly nurture a future generation of architects and designers that could add to the city’s architectural heritage.

That’s an exciting vision.

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