Community conversations will focus on ideas about work and making.

Both TEDxColumbus and the Idea Foundry turned 10 last year, and to celebrate, they’re launching a series of monthly conversations with local makers who will share their ideas. They’re calling it TEDxColumbus Salon at the Idea Foundry.

Alex Bandar, founder of the Idea Foundry, a makerspace and co-working site, expressed excitement about the initiative during a recent interview. “I used to think our tool access and tool education was our product,” he said. “Now I think our product is optimism.”

“A very small fraction of our [Idea Foundry] members actually use our tools,” he went on. “I think it’s the same with TEDx. There’s only a handful of speakers, but think of the broader audience that’s attracted to those ideas.”

While TEDxColumbus produces a single, daylong event once each year, the salons will take place monthly. Each TEDxColumbus Salon at the Idea Foundry will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. and will feature one or two speakers and a community conversation. Speakers for the first event, to be held tonight (Feb. 21), are Adlai Stein, owner of Macabee Metals and the Central Ohio School of Metalwork, and Evelyn Van Til, a career coach and activist in the tech community. They will speak about the future of work at a time when technology and trade skills are in high demand.

Stein, a former law office employee, began forging metal in 1990, and in 2017 he competed on The History Channel’s Forged in Fire. The show’s popularity persuaded him to open a blacksmithing school. For him, according to TEDxColumbus Salon, “the ‘transition in work’ is not only about the skills gap and connecting students with trade knowledge but also about his personal transition: making his passion his career.”

In a departure from the traditional TEDx presentation format (read our article about 10 years of TEDxColumbus here), the Salon is billed as more of a conversation. “While there might be lessons to learn, this is a discussion, not a class,” according to the website.

Bandar sees it as an extension of the TEDx concept of “ideas worth spreading.” He says, “If Columbus can build one big megaphone for all of the interesting ideas and people and highlight the interesting ideas, and do this in an integrated partnership manner, we can be greater than the sum of our parts.”

The Idea Foundry is located at 421 W. State St. Tickets for tonight’s event are $10 and are available at


Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to Columbus Monthly magazine, as well as our weekly newsletter so that you keep abreast of the most exciting and interesting events and destinations to explore, as well as the most talked-about newsmakers shaping life in Columbus.