Most record collectors didn't start out as collectors. Of course, not everyone who bought 33 r.p.m. vinyl albums continues to do so today.

Most record collectors didn't start out as collectors. Of course, not everyone who bought 33 r.p.m. vinyl albums continues to do so today.

"I think back to when I was probably 10 - I'm in my early 40s now - and I really got into KISS. That got me started buying albums," vinyl collector Scott Carr said. "At that age you're not really thinking about the collectability of anything."

Carr is among five main contributors to the Columbus Museum of Art exhibition titled "Spin Art," a collection of album cover art that opens Friday Feb. 26.

The exhibition, conceived by Jeff Sims, creative director for the Museum's Center for Creativity, will be on view in the museum's newly-renamed Open Gallery.

"We were looking for examples of creative thinking, referencing pop culture or graphic design" for the space, Sims said, who added that some criteria were needed to help narrow down the vast scope of available album art.

"We wanted designs that helped define the musicians, the music or the label," Sims said. "We wanted examples of art that were the result of close collaboration between the designer and the [musicians]. And we were looking for covers that exemplify an exchange between the musical and visual cultures."

Sims enlisted former CMA staffers and Spoonful Records owners Brett Ruland and Amy Kesting to help locate the desired titles.

"These are examples of art in people's everyday lives," Kesting said. "We were thrilled to be approached."

These are the covers themselves, and not reproductions. Sims said that is part of the appeal of "Spin Art."

"These come from personal collections," he said. "I really enjoy seeing used albums that were clearly loved and listened to over the years."

The exhibition is wide-ranging, both among represented graphic artists and musical genres. The earliest are album covers by Alex Steinweiss of Columbia Records, who essentially "invented" the notion of graphic text and art on the covers of record albums in the late 1930s.

"At the time, he was the only album cover designer. He developed an entire graphic language of cover design," Kesting said.

Other well-known album art designers represented include Hipgnosis, a graphic design company formed by Storm Thorgerson, which did work, most notably, on a number of album covers for Pink Floyd, including Animals and Wish You Were Here; and Roger Dean, whose futuristic earth-and-skyscapes epitomized the cover art for another British band of the '60s and '70s, Yes.

Not all album cover designers worked strictly in the medium, Kesting said, noting specifically pop artist Andy Warhol, who did album cover work for a number of bands.

"Here's an actual artist of the time doing this work," she said. "How many people bought [Velvet Underground's The Velvet Underground and Nico] because Andy Warhol did the cover [which famously features a banana]?"

Among Carr's 13 contributions are a series of Iron Maiden covers featuring the band's well-known mascot, Eddie ("It was probably years after I became aware of Eddie before I actually heard Iron Maiden's music," Sims joked) and some Pedro Bell covers for Funkadelic.

"There is a section (of the exhibition) that looks at the relationship between hip-hop and comic book art," Sims said, calling Bell's highly-stylized black superhero characters among the early examples of hip-hop alter egos represented on their album covers.

Sims said visitors will have the opportunity to listen to audio samples of at least 20 of the albums represented.

"We knew visitors wouldn't be familiar with a lot of the music from these records, would be intrigued by the covers and would want to be able to hear how the music sounds," he said.

Also at CMA: "Melvin Edwards: Five Decades"

The Columbus Museum of Art is also hosting a retrospective of the work of American sculptor Melvin Edwards.

"Melvin Edwards: Five Decades" is a retrospective of the artist's career curated and debuted last year at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas.

Working primarily in welded steel (both stainless and mild carbon steel), Edwards came to prominence in the late 1960s with his Lynch Fragments series - small-scale reliefs assembled from tools and other familiar objects evoking the Civil Rights movement.

"I did a piece called 'Some Bright Morning,' which represented the struggle of the African-American community, especially in the '60s," Edwards said.

Edwards also referenced his installation of barbed-wire sculptures that debuted in 1970.

"They also used barbed wire to keep people in, on an Indian reservation or [Japanese] concentration camps [during World War II]," Edwards said. "These serve as reminders of our behavior but also my hopes for our future."

"Of course, as an artist, I also hope my work is visually interesting," he said.