Good in-tent-ions: Exhibit Columbus preps for second exhibition’s opening weekend Aug. 23-24

The inaugural gathering served as something of a passionate tent revival for Columbus’ creative vision among Modernist meccas.

Such was the first Exhibit Columbus opening party two years ago in Mill Race Park, where a capacity crowd of 700 people from all over the nation gathered under a tent to celebrate a three-month public exhibition that eventually garnered worldwide attention.

Now Exhibit Columbus leaders have announced that it’s time to get the latest party started — or at least publicize it and get ticket sales moving, all a month earlier than the timeline for the 2017 festivities.

“I don’t think I can personally remember any other event where so many people looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves,” said Jeff Baker, a co-organizer of the 2017 event and now in the same role for the upcoming gathering. “And the sense of unity I felt there was so incredibly strong.”

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He and John Pickett, the other co-organizer, aim to build the Aug. 24 opening party into something equally memorable. The $175-per-person event will feature a cocktail reception, dinner, and live entertainment by Chicago-based rhythmic quintet, Dos Santos.

People began buying tickets within the first hour they were available online a week ago, according to Baker.

The Exhibit Columbus exhibition, titled “Good Design and Community,” will be Aug. 24 to Dec. 1 with 18 temporary installations. The free event, held every other year, focuses on art, architecture and design, and uses new, pop-up installations from the world’s leading designers to highlight existing structures and landscapes in a city known globally for its Modernist legacy.

In addition to that, Columbus’ architectural standing includes seven National Historic Landmarks.

The 2017 exhibition attracted an estimated 40,000 people, and several of its installations enjoyed a second life in such prestigious locales as The National Building Museum in Washington. D.C. and the Venice Biennale of Architecture, the world’s largest art and architecture festival.

As part of the weekend’s celebrations, Exhibit Columbus will host four curated conversations that will be presented in two locations:

Aug. 23 in Eero Saarinen’s North Christian Church at 850 Tipton Lane.

Aug. 24 in Eliel Saarinen’s First Christian Church, which helped launch the city’s architectural reputation, at 531 Fifth St.

These conversations will feature participants from the exhibition, including the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize recipients, Washington Street Civic Project Leaders, and University Design Research Fellows. Each conversation will be moderated by Exhibit Columbus curatorial advisors: Sean Anderson, Museum of Modern Art; Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Donna Sink, Rowland Design and Architect; and Mimi Zeiger, critic and curator.

“As much as the opening party is a celebration of all the hard work that goes into the celebration, those free events really are designed for everyone to come out and experience as much of those conversations as they want,” said Hannah Brokenshire, Exhibit Columbus’ communications director.

A list of which designers are speaking on which day will be released later, according to Brokenshire.

What organizers are doing with the discussions this time around is more closely related to discussions from the 2018 Exhibit Columbus symposium. That included one public conversation at North Christian Church and one at First Christian Church — discussions that Brokenshire referred to as “magical moments.”

At the First Christian site before and afterward, people milled about the Bartholomew County Public Library plaza, “activating even that space and using it just as it was meant to be used as part of the community’s living room,” Brokenshire said.

Borrowing from the symposium format for the exhibition makes even more sense, Brokenshire said, when one considers that all the exhibition designers spoke at the 2018 symposium.

“It allowed us to establish a longer relationship with them,” she said.

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What: Four curated conversations that will unfold in two locations: Aug. 23 in Eero Saarinen’s North Christian Church at 850 Tipton Lane; Aug. 24 in Eliel Saarinen’s First Christian Church, 531 Fifth St. These conversations will feature participants from the exhibition, including the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize recipients, Washington Street Civic Project Leaders, and University Design Research Fellows.

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The Exhibit Columbus exhibition is a once-every-two-years display of a wide variety temporary architectural installations meant to highlight or somehow connect to nearby, permanent structures and buildings in Columbus.

The exhibition is set for Aug. 24 to Dec. 1 and is an exploration of art, architecture, and design.

Exhibit Columbus seeks to celebrate Columbus’ heritage while making it relevant in new and modern ways, according to organizers. It is the signature project of Landmark Columbus, which was created in 2015 to care for the design heritage of Columbus, and is under the umbrella of The Heritage Fund — the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County.

To learn more, visit: exhibitcolumbus.org

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