Exhibit: Eat, Drink & Be Merry

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Art can enhance just about any space. A few well-placed pieces can bring cheer to an office, a street or even a bus.

The Atrium Gallery at OSU Hillel has transformed the upstairs of the Jewish student center, a relatively large Campus building with so many windows that lights are unnecessary during the day. Amy Neiwirth, the gallery's new curator, said the atrium didn't seem welcoming without art on the walls.

"It's a really huge space, with high ceilings and huge walls," explained Neiwirth, an OSU alumna best known for selling her food-shaped jewelry under the name Sweet Stella Designs. "I wanted to make the space a little more warm and inviting. Without the art, it really does feel cold."

Neiwirth's second exhibition there, "Eat, Drink & Be Merry," shows work by 12 local artists who were inspired by food, beverages or celebrations.

"It's a unique assortment of artwork," Neiwirth said. "There's pop art, there's photography, there's mixed media work. I think it's interesting to see each artist interpret the theme of food and drink and parties in a different way." Two of Neiwirth's sculptures - a realistic Chicago-style hot dog and a pair of pink-frosting-covered doughnuts encased in glass and framed - are included in the show.

Two pieces by pop artist Joss Parker stand out from the nearby paintings of dancers and still-life fruit. In "Oh Yeah," a graffiti-like Mr. Kool-Aid is losing orange liquid from cracks and tears all over his body, yet his smile remains intact. He wields a small pitcher version of himself, but he doesn't seem concerned that he's holding it sideways, letting the contents fall out.

Scooby Doo and Shaggy are superimposed over an A&W restaurant advertisement in "A&W Scooby Doo." Both dog and man seem to be drooling over the coney dog pictured behind them.

If you happen to be near Campus, stop in and check out the eclectic assortment. A student center may not be a typical art destination, but that makes the works on display all the more interesting.

Drink up:

The Atrium Gallery at OSU Hillel

Through May 23

46 E. 16th Ave., Campus