New Initiative Focuses on Columbus Arts Heritage

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Columbus has been nicknamed "Athens of the Prairie." Columbus has been nicknamed "Athens of the Prairie."

A multi-year art and design festival to honor one of the state's most celebrated architectural cities has been launched. Exhibit Columbus includes a symposium this fall and an exhibition next year where the J. Irwin Miller and Xenia S. Miller Prize will be awarded.

Five designers and teams will receive a prize in a 10-entry competition involving the design, construction and installation of temporary art projects at iconic sites throughout the Bartholomew County city.

Organizers liken Exhibit Columbus to other citywide initiatives including the Chicago Architectural Biennial, Prospect New Orleans, and Art Prize in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Mayor Jim Leinhoop says "exhibit Columbus was created in part to answer the question, 'What's next for Columbus?,' We want this initiative to become a platform to showcase our historic design heritage and the great work we are doing today while pointing to the future so the next generation continues to experience a community that is as strong as the last generation's."

The first biennial edition of Exhibit Columbus is expected to be followed in 2018-2019. The Miller Prize is named to salute the legacy of a couple described by organizers as "two of twentieth century's greatest patrons of architecture, art, and design, and a family whose visionary commitment to community remains unparalleled."

The invited artists include:

The invited 10 are:

  • Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch of Aranda\Lasch (Tucson, AZ and New York, NY)
  • Herwig Baumgartner and Scott Uriu of Baumgartner + Uriu (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Rachel Hayes (Tulsa, OK)
  • Eric Höweler and Meejin Yoon of Höweler + Yoon (Boston, MA)
  • Yugon Kim of IKD (Boston, MA)
  • Mel Kendrick (New York, NY)
  • Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee of Johnston Marklee in collaboration with Jonathan Olivares (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Dwayne Oyler and Jenny Wu of Oyler Wu Collaborative (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Joyce Hsiang and Bimal Mendis of Plan B Architecture & Urbanism (New Haven, CT)
  • Chris Cornelius of studio:indigenous (Milwaukee, WI)

The city of 45,000 boasts over 70 buildings, landscapes and public art pieces from internationally-noted architects and artists.

Founding supporters of the initiative include: the Columbus Area Visitors Center, Columbus Museum of Art Design, Cummins Inc., Efroymson Family Fund, Haddad Foundation, Heritage Fund - The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, Irwin-Sweeney-Miller Foundation, Johnson Ventures, Schumaker Family and SIHO Insurance Services.

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