Landmark Columbus announces Bicentennial initiatives

Richard McCoy talks about a painting by Carole Wantz about J. Irwin Miller's life at the Exhibit Columbus office in Columbus, Ind., Wednesday, March 24, 2021. The painting has been selected to appear as the main piece in an exhibit of her paintings at the Indiana State Museum. Mike Wolanin | The Republic

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Landmark Columbus Foundation leaders have announced six Columbus Area Bicentennial upcoming events or initiatives.

The nonprofit organization cares for, celebrates, and advances the cultural heritage of Columbus.

“We are so proud to have this organization in our community and to see the impact it makes every day,” said Rick Johnson, Landmark Columbus Foundation board chair. “And we’re glad to be doing our part to celebrate this moment in community history.”

Many of these projects stem from the strong connection the organization enjoys with Heritage Fund—the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, which was Landmark Columbus’ original umbrella agency and which partnered with the organization to win a major grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The support for many of these projects and events comes directly from this grant with a desire to increase leadership efforts and strengthen the area the foundation serves.

“We have been building something very special with a wide variety of collaborators and partners,” said Richard McCoy, foundation executive director. “Each of these projects and events are built from this remarkable community and designed for everyone to better know what makes this place so amazing.”

  • Exhibit Columbus 2021 Exhibition “New Middles”: Now in its third cycle, the 2021 Exhibit Columbus Exhibition opens Aug. 21 in downtown Columbus and runs through November. The project features more than a dozen site-specific outdoor installations by internationally acclaimed artists, architects, designers, university professors, and Columbus high school students. Under the theme New Middles, These new pop-up works connect with various iconic local buildings, landscapes, and public art that have made the city globally known in Modernist design.
  • “The Artwork of Carole Wantz: Collected Stories from Columbus, Indiana”: This exhibition at the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis celebrates the career and life of one of the Columbus area’s best-loved artists. Curator McCoy mentioned that Wantz painted some 150 paintings from 1975 to 1985 “that show this area and its people at their best.” Paintings feature scenes from some of the most significant moments of that era, including major paintings of the late local leader J. Irwin Miller and the former Arvin Industries. The exhibition opened in April and runs through July 25. A reception will be at 2 p.m. July 10 at the museum, 650 W. Washington St. in Indianapolis.
  • Civic Vision: 75 years of design and community in Columbus, Indiana”: Set for publication in fall 2022 by Monacelli Press, this book will illustrate how civic leadership in the Columbus area has uniquely worked to improve the quality of place as a key driver for community-wide success, and how design excellence continues to play a central role. Featuring images by world-renowned photographer Iwan Baan and text by Columbus native Matt Shaw, the book will explore the impact of the Cummins Foundation Architecture Program and how the “Columbus Way” of creating public-private partnerships has led to success.
  • Countywide Assessment of Cultural Heritage Resources: This year, Landmark Columbus launches a first-ever, county-wide assessment of the modern built environment. It will be assessed and documented over the coming years by local, regional, and national experts. Advising on this work will be collaborators from Indiana Landmarks and DOCOMOMO-US. Information will be archived with the open-source software program, Arches, which is managed by the Getty Conservation Institute. A website will be created to publish the data.
  • Progressive Preservation Revolving Loan Fund: With $600,000 in seed funds from the Lilly Endowment Inc. grant, Landmark Columbus Foundation launches the Progressive Preservation Loan Fund in partnership with Heritage Fund as a new tool for Bartholomew County. Dollars will directly assist qualifying property owners by loaning capital for maintenance and improvement projects for significant buildings and landscapes. The existence of this fund is based on best practices from leading preservation organizations, including Indiana Landmarks, Los Angeles Conservancy, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
  • Landmark Columbus Foundation Operating Endowment Campaign: With more than $500,000 in seed funding from the Lilly Endowment Inc. grant and in partnership with Heritage Fund—the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, Landmark Columbus Foundation launches a five-year endowment campaign with a target goal of $2.25 million. Once fully funded, the endowment will sustain the core operating expenses of the organization and ensure its long-term sustainability for many generations to come.