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Exhibit Columbus Hosts 2022 Symposium ‘Public by Design’

From left, University Design Research Fellows Deborah Garcia, Jessica Colangelo, Esteban Garcia Bravo, Zack Morrison, and Joseph Altshuler
From left, University Design Research Fellows Deborah Garcia, Jessica Colangelo, Esteban Garcia Bravo, Zack Morrison, and Joseph Altshuler
Kicking off on the sidewalk outside the lobby of The Commons, the urban core and site area of Miller Prize Recipient PAU, Symposium participants, community members and City of Columbus staff members gathered along Washington Street for a walk-and-talk with Vishaan Chakrabarti (founder & creative director) and Ruchika Modi (principal) of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (New York City) and Dave Hayward (City Engineer, City of Columbus Public Works).
Kicking off on the sidewalk outside the lobby of The Commons, the urban core and site area of Miller Prize Recipient PAU, Symposium participants, community members and City of Columbus staff members gathered along Washington Street for a walk-and-talk with Vishaan Chakrabarti (founder & creative director) and Ruchika Modi (principal) of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (New York City) and Dave Hayward (City Engineer, City of Columbus Public Works).
Exhibit Columbus hit the streets of Columbus, Indiana in October with the 2022 Symposium, Public by Design. The two-day series of events brought people together, encouraged exploration, and sparked joy.

In a format designed to inspire engagement from around the state and far beyond, the 2022 Symposium featured sessions with the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Recipients, University Design Research Fellows, a High School Design Team, a Communication Designer, a Curatorial Team, and three keynote presentations. All events were free and open to the public.

Friday morning began with a keynote presentation from Trinity Simons Wagner, the executive director of the Mayor’s Institute on City Design. She talked about the importance of mayors being the chief urban designers of their cities and the recently launched Just City Mayoral Fellowship.

“As we are embarking upon the work of this weekend, can we ask: How do we not return to business as usual? How do we use this moment to create and repair? How do we hold the space for nuance and differences? I for one am inspired by what is happening here this weekend,” Wagner said.

The day continued with two types of sessions running congruently:

  • EXPLORE sessions allowed symposium participants to visit the site at which each Miller Prize Recipient is paired during this cycle of Exhibit Columbus.
  • CONNECT sessions took place at the Commons and allowed participants to hear from each Miller Prize Recipient and learn about the history, community, and design challenge for each site.
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Held at Library Plaza, the site of Miller Prize Recipient Tatiana Bilbao ESTUDIO, symposium participants, members of the Columbus community and Bartholomew County Public Library gathered for an EXPLORE session with Tatiana Bilbao and Alba Cortés of Tatiana Bilbao ESTUDIO (Mexico City) and Jason Hatton, Executive Director, Bartholomew County Public Library.

“When talking about the people that a library serves, everybody means everybody,” Hatton said. “Everyone means everyone.”

“We don’t believe that anyone has the right or capability to decide how anyone else inhabits this planet,” said Bilbao. “We think architecture is a social and collective act.”

Later in the day, symposium participants and members of the parks community gathered at the Mill Race Park Amphitheater, the site area of Miller Prize Recipient Studio Zewde, overlooking the park for an EXPLORE session with Sara Zewde, Founding Principal at Studio Zewde, Phil Syvertsen, Naomi Fassil of Studio Zewde (Harlem), and Mark Jones, Director, Columbus Parks and Recreation.

“We are in the role of the interpreter,” Zewde said. “We’ll offer something in the physical realm to continue the conversation.”

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Friday culminated in a keynote conversation with all the Miller Prize Participants moderated by Julie McClure, Editor of The Republic Newspaper.

Day Two of the 2022 Exhibit Columbus Symposium, Public by Design, was hosted at Columbus City Hall and began with a Keynote conversation with Kaplan-David, the director of the Chicago Architectural Biennial, and Jenny Gil Schmitz, the executive director of Desert X—two of the country’s leading cultural programs that create site responsive art and architecture installations.

The conversation was moderated by Rasul Mowatt, Department Head of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University.

“Art is the roadmap through which artists speak to the issues shared by desert communities,” Gil Schmitz said. “More about what we do than about what we say.”

Sessions continued throughout the day with the University Design Research Fellows in conversation with James Lima Planning + Development, a leading urban strategy consultancy.

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After lunch, Chris Grimley from OverUnder, the 2022–23 Communication Designer, was in conversation with Rick Valicenti, design director for Landmark Columbus Foundation. Valicenti has been involved with Exhibit Columbus since its founding and led the creation of the original identity. In this conversation, they discussed where communication design is going today and how components of wayfinding can help shape how people engage in public spaces.

“What strikes me about the curation of the four Miller Prize sites is the potential for dialogue between them,” Grimley said. “There is something quite exciting about that. There is potential in this year's program to establish a trajectory for a longer transformation of downtown.”

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