Landmark Columbus Foundation goal is within reach

In just a little more than a couple of months, Exhibit Columbus will grace our city with a collection of installations by world-class architecture and design luminaries. Those installations will be the product of collaboration channeling visions of the public — local folks of all ages — who have been involved as never before.

The biennial Exhibit Columbus is a marquee offering of the Landmark Columbus Foundation, which set a lofty financial goal of raising an endowment of $1 million by the end of the year.

But as The Republic’s Brian Blair covered Landmark Columbus Foundation’s annual meeting last week, he reported that board chair Mark Elwood “asked more than 80 people attending to envision something even more ambitious” — meeting the fundraising goal by Exhibit Columbus’ opening Aug. 25.

“I think that people appreciated the challenge,” Elwood said after the event. He and brother John Elwood and their spouses recently donated a total of $75,ooo to push the endowment to $910,000, Blair reported.

Meeting this fundraising goal for the Landmark Columbus Foundation in conjunction with the “Public by Design” Exhibit Columbus unveiling would make a profound statement about our community and its commitment to carry on its legacy as an international focal point for architecture and design, particularly in the Modernist tradition.

More than 100 people have donated to the foundation’s drive to build its endowment, and Elwood said he hopes 100 more will.

Meeting this goal will allow Landmark Columbus to do more than it currently does, even as its activity increases. In addition to its work helping facilitate Exhibit Columbus, Blair reported the organization in the last year also has, among other things:

  • Been involved in efforts to find an adaptive reuse that will preserve North Christian Church.
  • Supported efforts to refurbish the First Christian Church tower, work which is now ongoing.
  • Built upon its Progressive Preservation series.
  • Launched the growing Social Design Trips that regularly are attracting 40 or more people as locals take attendees on a walking tour of their favorite structures and spots.

This work tells the story of why Columbus is a special community, but it also drives economic activity. For instance, Exhibit Columbus has attracted an estimated 40,000 visitors to the city since its inception in 2017.

Further, our community’s attractiveness to innovators, designers, artists and architects brings rewards. That Exhibit Columbus is accessible to the public — and indeed invites public participation — is exemplary.

These are among the reasons Elwood and others are donating to support the foundation’s endowment. As he told Blair, “We’re very passionate about making Columbus an even better place — and making it so attractive that more businesses will want to invest their work here and, in turn, attract the best talent that would want to move here and work here. … We obviously think that Columbus is already great. But I don’t think you can ever stop building.”


We encourage Columbus’ civic-minded citizens who are able to support this work to do so. To give, or to learn more about the foundation, visit