James Voorhies doesn't stay put for long. But whenever the art historian and curator ceases motion, he makes the most of his stop. And he makes sure the community he's digging into does the same.

James Voorhies doesn't stay put for long. But whenever the art historian and curator ceases motion, he makes the most of his stop. And he makes sure the community he's digging into does the same.

Voorhies grew up in Westerville and went on to prominent jobs at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and San Francisco's Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts as well as teaching gigs at the San Francisco Art Institute and Parsons The New School for Design. Since 2007, he's headed up a new CCAD institution called the Bureau for Open Culture.

The organization, which now has bases at several U.S. universities, aims to build deeper connections to stimulate thought. That happens on the institutional level (cultivating the partnership between CCAD and Ohio State, producing publications with essays inspired by each exhibition) down to the personal. With each Bureau exhibition, Voorhies tries to foster a more direct relationship between visiting artists and locals - "stitching them into the community," as Voorhies put it.

"There's value in having artists just come and have a talk, but I really place a lot of value on having the artists connect, even over a beer or something," Voorhies said.

The social connectivity stems from Voorhies' vision of the Bureau as expanding the traditional ideas of an art exhibition, transforming a gallery show into more of a learning site. He figures the best way to acquire knowledge - not to mention the best way for CCAD students to build professional connections - is not by observation from a distance but face-to-face interaction.

"A lot of the exhibitions we make really aren't about conclusions," Voorhies said. "We just sort of throw these ideas out there and give a framework. The idea is hopefully people investigate more about the larger concepts as well as the artists."

Though Voorhies is living in North Adams, Massachusetts, and teaching at Bennington College this school year, he's been in Columbus lately putting the finishing touches on "Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven," the Bureau's latest thought-provoking exhibition. It launches Thursday with an opening reception at CCAD's Canzani Center.

Named for a song by Love and Rockets, "Seventh Dream" explores ideas about how we mark the passage of time through material culture, and how this process is affected by the infinite amount of content and ideas at our fingertips. How can something become a classic if it never has the change to disappear into the past?

"What kind of moment are we in when everything is accessible?" Voorhies said. "The ability to yearn is reduced."