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Third 'Exhibit Columbus' Explores Future Of The Middle City

Central Middle School, Ecosistemo Urbano, Cloudroom

Central Middle School, Ecosistemo Urbano, Cloudroom (Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)

The small southern Indiana city with a world reputation for modernist architecture is celebrating the opening of it’s third 'Exhibit Columbus.' It features more than a dozen new downtown installations designed by artists from all over the world.

This year's theme is "New Middles: From Main Street to Megalopolis, What Is the Future of the Middle City?"

Co-curator Mimi Zeiger says the biggest challenge was preparing artists for a town they’ve never visited during a pandemic.

“Designers, artists, landscaper architects, who are really pushing the edges of what design means today,” Zeiger said.

The installation of Brooklyn, New York artist Olalekan Jeyifous exhibit sits just outside the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library. It explores the city’s history of two major exhibitions on African and Black art that took place at the library in 1969 but is largely forgotten.

“So that it resonates with the community in a way that’s like transparent and authentic and there’s nothing better to see that realized – see it built,” he said.

The exhibit includes four colorful sculptural platforms representing four key Black artists. Visitors can walk on the platforms and point their phone to a display that will open more artwork and documents.

Olalekan Jeyifous, Designer/Artist
Olalekan Jeyifous, Designer/Artist

Exhibit Columbus Director Anne Surak says the program invites designers to think about the context, history, and culture of Columbus.

“What’s transpired over two years and how public space and being together in that is meaningful and important and it’s just the perfect time for this program to launch,” Surak said.

Most of the installations are located within walking distance downtown between 3rd and 6th streets. A few are scattered in Mill Race Park. 

Five designers are Miller Prize recipients awarded 70-thousand dollars to create their exhibit. University and high school installations chosen also receive awards.

The exhibition continues until November 28.

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