Winter exhibits at OSU Urban Arts Space

  • Tracing Lines Collaborative Network Project photo
By Erin G. Edwards
From the January 12, 2012 edition

“Good Design in Hard Times”

Through Feb. 4

“It’s always been a mystery: What is inside?” Eliza Ho wondered about a dilapidated theater located in Old North Columbus. “How about we just make up something?”

In “Good Design in Hard Times,” Ho and her husband, Tim Lai, have reimagined the former Hudson Theater, and the designer-architect couple presents four other neighborhood improvement concepts that are mindful of both design and today’s economy. The collection of plans and photographs is the inaugural exhibition of ALTernative, the duo’s nonprofit organization that strives to “promote purposeful design that benefits Clintonville and other Columbus neighborhoods.”

In today’s economy, “we want to be relevant,” Lai said, noting that murals are one way to be economical while transforming a neighborhood and boosting its pride.

The Hudson Theater mural concept, dubbed Sohud Mural 2.0, plays off the success of the nearby SoHud Community Mural Project on the corner of Summit and Hudson streets. In that project (also featured in the exhibit) Wild Goose Creative engaged community volunteers plus Ho and Lai’s firm, Tim Lai ArchitecT, to transform a graffiti-laden wall into a stunning two-dimensional forest.

In Sohud Mural 2.0, the interior of the old theater is imagined in paint, revealing stairs and a vine-covered garden.

A third proposal, called “Dinin’ Hall,” seeks to capture the spirit of the food truck movement while giving it a tweak. “Dinin’ Hall requires relatively small investment but a lot of creative collaboration with businesses,” Ho said. The sleek pop-up cafe would provide a place for food truck patrons to sit, no matter how surly the Columbus weather.

In the last two concepts, Ho and Lai introduce the Short North to plenches (take a planter and cross-breed it with a bench) and propose a colorful beautification of the Indianola Bridge underpass.

“We’ve met many individuals who are passionate about improving neighborhoods through art and design and have great ideas, but might not have the resources … to realize their ideas,” Ho said. It seems ALTernative is already starting to remedy that.

Tracing Lines Project

Through March 24

Have you ever felt in awe while driving through a wind farm, or pondered a wireless communication tower disguised as a tree?

In the interdisciplinary exhibition “Tracing Lines,” project managers/artists Aimee Sones and Jessica Larva are asking visitors to stop and smell the infrastructure.

“Everyone wants to go flip the light switch and have something happen,” Sones said. But as she and Larva point out, not everyone wants to see or live near the industrial structures — the power lines, cell phone towers and water tanks — that make these things possible. “Tracing Lines” explores the love-hate relationship we have with energy, consumption and industrial infrastructure.

“What we’re doing is documenting the industrial ecosystem that we have built on top of the natural ecosystem to support and sustain our lifestyles,” said John Javins, a participating artist who assisted in curating the show.

“Tracing Lines” features photography, video, sculpture, drawings and other art forms by 20 artists from around the United States. Javins uses photography in his study of power lines, while Toledo native Jeremy Lepisto and Pittsburgh’s Samantha Laffey are showing their kiln-formed glasswork.

One of the show’s central pieces is a collaborative photo project in which more than 40 individuals contributed images from across the globe.

“Not everyone is an artist who took these photos. They are people who were interested in a form or interested in the idea or wanted to be part of the conversation,” Larva said. Sparking an open conversation about our urban ecosystem is integral to the project, she said, so the exhibition will be accompanied by discussions and hands-on workshops.

“These are things we’re very dependent on, but we want to not think about it except to say we don’t want it around us,” said Javins. “And we have to figure out, where’s the balance?”

For more information about “Tracing Lines,” visit tracinglinesproject.com.

“Bright, Black and Veiled”

Through Feb. 10

Visitors to the Urban Arts Space are greeted by this exhibition of large-scale paintings from Stefan Hoza and Adam Johnson. Located in the City Center Gallery, this partnership between the CCAD and OSU alums seeks to “extinguish the myth of the enlightened painting,” inviting the viewer to become a voyeur to the artists’ surroundings and experiences.

“Object/Imprint”

Jan. 17-March 3

“Object/Imprint” will showcase several regional artists’ evolution from traditional art-making into nontraditional forms. Using materials such as textiles, yarn and debris, the artists seek to honor traditional art disciplines in their contemporary works. The show includes works from Cincinnati-based collaborators Denise Burge and Lisa Siders, and Columbus’ own Josh Foy and Melissa Vogley Woods, among others.