Exhibit Columbus plans ‘Activations in Place’

Carla Clark | For The Republic People gather in the PIPE UP! installation during the Exhibit Columbus tour, Columbus, Ind., Saturday, August 26, 2023.

Landmark Columbus Foundation is planning Activations in Place, a free, two-day event focusing on the work of the seven teams awarded 2023 Exhibit Columbus University Design Research Fellowships (UDRF).

The event was created in partnership with the Indiana Communities Institute at Ball State University’s Miller College of Business and Indiana University’s Center for Cultural Affairs at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. It will occur in downtown Columbus over two days, highlighting the Fellows’ work and the expertise of nationally recognized experts.

Activations in Place was created so that attendees could:

Gain practical and valuable knowledge about how quality of place amenities can create benefits for communities;

Spark new collaborations between universities, municipal leaders, funders, and makers;

Deepen the understanding of each UDRF installation and its relationship to this cycle of Exhibit Columbus.

Participants in the free, two-day event include Ben Stone (National Endowment for the Arts), Réna Bradley (City of Fort Wayne Department of Planning Services), Paul Helmke (former Fort Wayne mayor), Jim Walker (Big Car Collaborative), Scott Fadness (Fishers mayor), Sarah Green (independent curator and creator), Denny Spinner, (Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs), and the seven UDRF Teams.

This year’s University Design Research Fellows represent eight universities in two countries and across seven states.

“This event is a remarkable opportunity for people interested in making their downtowns more vibrant, interesting, and diverse,” said Jamie Goldsborough, coordinator for the University Design Research Fellowship. “The high caliber of people involved in this two-day event allows attendees to enjoy learning through interesting conversations and by experiencing the work of the seven inspiring UDRFellows. We are proud to be working with leaders at BSU and IU to produce this event and to offer it free of charge.”

Activations in Place is made possible by Heritage Fund—The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County with grant support from Lilly Endowment Inc. Archinect and Bustler are the media partners for this program.

Awarded to leading professors of architecture, landscape architecture, and design from North American universities, seven University Design Research Fellows were selected to respond to recommendations from the 2021 Downtown Activation Study developed by James Lima Planning and Development (JLP+D) that looked at ways to activate the historic core of downtown Columbus. JLP+D’s work is supported by the City of Columbus and a National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town Grant.”

The schedule is as follows:

Thursday, Nov. 2

Activations in Place will feature a keynote conversation with Brian Blackford and David Terrell from Ball State University Indiana Communities Institute and Doug Noonan and Joanna Woronkowicz from Indiana University Center for Cultural Affairs. Following this conversation will be a keynote presentation by Ben Stone, the newly-appointed Director of Design and Creative Placemaking at the National Endowment for the Arts, who will address community engagement topics in “placemaking” projects.

UDRF Installation Visit

● Esteban Garcia Bravo and Maria Clara Morales

Purdue University Department of Computer Graphics Technology, West Lafayette

Installation: PRISMA

Site: Cummins Parking Garage, West

Curatorial Question: How do we activate space?

Friday, Nov. 3

The colloquium will be on the move and in the city, exploring the seven installations while engaging municipal leaders, experts in placemaking activities, and community leaders who create this work. The day will be divided into three sessions, each centered on a theme.

Session One: Connecting Spaces and Thoroughfares


● Réna Bradley, Fort Wayne Department of Planning Services

● Paul Helmke, former Fort Wayne mayor

UDRF Installation Visits

● Jessica Colangelo and Charles Sharpless

University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Installation: Ground Rules

Site: Cummins Office Building Headquarters

Curatorial Question: Do you play in public space?

● Halina Steiner, Tameka Baba, Forbes Lipschitz, Shelby Doyle

The Ohio State University Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture and

Iowa State University School of Design

Columbus, Ohio and Ames, Iowa

Installation: PIPE UP!

Site: Hotel Indigo Columbus Architectural Center

Curatorial Question: Where does your water go?

Session Two: Materials and Technology


● Scott Fadness, Fishers mayor

● Jim Walker, Co-founder and Executive Director of Big Car Collaborative

UDRF Installation Visits

● Katie MacDonald and Kyle Schumann

University of Virginia School of Architecture

Charlottesville, Virginia

Installation: Sylvan Scrapple

Site: Columbus Area Visitors Center

Curatorial Question: How do we interpret the past?

● Deborah Garcia

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Architecture

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Installation: RESPONDER

Site: Children’s Entrance of Bartholomew County Public Library

Curatorial Question: What do you hear in public space?

Session Three: Engaging Underutilized Downtown Spaces


● Denny Spinner, Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs

● Sarah Green, Independent Curator and Creator

UDRF Installation Visits

● Molly Hunker and Greg Corso

Syracuse University School of Architecture

Syracuse, New York

Installation: Side Effects

Site: The Commons main entrance

Curatorial Question: Where do you meet in the city?

● Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Architecture

Urbana-Champaign and Chicago, Illinois

Installation: A Carousel for Columbus

Site: Ovation Plaza

Curatorial Question: How do you find joy in the city?

Learn more and register here: exhibitcolumbus.org/activations-in-place