Artscape: Off the Grid at the Wexner Center

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

How do you get young folks interested in going to the museum? You throw a dance party, of course.

"Across the entire field, museums and other arts organizations are looking for ways to engage a new generation," said Amanda Potter, educator for public and university programs at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

For the Wexner Center, that initiative is known as GenWex, aimed at introducing young professionals and creatives to the Wexner Center's programming through a combination of social and educational events. GenWex has hosted everything from beer tastings to trivia nights to a circuit-bending workshop.

This Saturday, the series will host its annual fundraising blowout, a food, music and art extravaganza called Off the Grid. Headlined by a DJ set from Chicago mashup duo The Hood Internet, the lineup is rounded out by Columbus acts: rock 'n' soul powerhouse Nick Tolford and Company, avant dance crew Anna and the Annadroids and Get Right party rocker DJ Detox.

Among the evening's other attractions are Pong on a massive projection screen, video projections by Ranier, and food from 12 Dine Originals restaurants - Barcelona, Barrio, The Burgundy Room, Cotters, Due Amici, G. Michael's, Katzinger's, Mezzo, Pistacia Vera, The Refectory, Tip Top and Trattoria Roma.

It's a lot to take in, so much so that Wexner Center employees think patrons won't mind the $40 price tag ($50 at the door). Especially since the money is funding the Wex's education programming, which allows school-age kids from around the city to experience art and learn skills from fine arts to video-game design.

"If you went out to dinner and saw three hours of entertainment, went out to a club or whatever, that's going to cost you at least $40," marketing director Jerry Dannemiller said. "And it's not that often that you get to go to a party in the Wexner Center."

In previous years, the big fundraiser has been set in the fall and based on the Wex's featured exhibit - for instance, 2008's Andyland party matched with the museum's Andy Warhol show. This season, they bumped the party to spring to avoid the fall's congested events calendar and retooled it into a more evergreen format.

"We kind of wanted to revamp the model a little bit so that we could keep doing Off the Grid from year to year to year, so that it wouldn't necessarily have to be tied in to what the exhibit was," Dannemiller said. "We wanted to make the party stand alone as its own entity."

When: 9 p.m. Saturday, April 10

Where: Wexner Center for the Arts, Campus