Artscape: What's new at Wonderland?

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Playground-style tube slides and mazelike hallways! Yes, the official plans for Wonderland sound wondrous indeed.

An estimated crowd of nearly 1,000 people filtered into the former Wonder Bread factory in Italian Village last Friday for the first public look at Wonderland, the multipurpose creative facility set to open in the space later this year.

The event primarily functioned as a fundraiser and pep rally for Wonderland, which is projected to include artists' studios, rehearsal rooms, a boutique mall, a state-of-the-art recording facility, shared and private office space, a midsized performance venue, a yoga studio and other amenities.

After the audience mingled and munched on refreshments for about an hour, Wonderland managers Adam Brouillette, Andrew Dodson, Josh Quinn and investor Kevin Lykens hopped on a makeshift stage to solicit funds, unveil a new address plate emblazoned with the Wonderland logo and walk the crowd through a slideshow of proposed architectural adjustments. David Hunegnaw, the other Wonderland partner, was out of town.

"I'm so thrilled that I get to stand up here and say the words, 'Welcome to Wonderland,'" Quinn said.

Brouillette rehashed the group's vision for Wonderland to catch newbies up to speed, repeating the refrain that the facility's success will test "how well we can work together."

Quinn unveiled the new address plate, a collaboration between the Idea Foundry and artist-designer Anne Holman, calling it an example of the kind of artistic teamwork he hopes Wonderland's "creative ecosystem" will produce in spades.

They invited an architect from BBCO Design on stage to show some artist renderings of proposed layouts for the space. Among the proposed adjustments:

• A mezzanine level will be added for art studios, with a playground-style tube slide as one way to return to ground level.

• The roof will be transformed into a public deck area.

• Blocked-up windows will be reopened to improve natural lighting.

• Hallways will be curved, not straight, to increase anticipation.

Dodson wrapped up the presentation by announcing that anyone who donated money at this event would be honored as a founding donor on a plaque once the facility opens.

Roving performers including Flotation Walls, Trains Across the Sea, Maza Blaska and This Is My Suitcase's Joseph Anthony Camerlengo, who closed out the night.

Earlier this week, Dodson called Friday's event a success and said the Wonderland brass is in the process of fundraising, forming committees and finalizing construction plans.

"We're kicking it into high gear, essentially," Dodson said.