Studio Proof: "Think Outside the Brick" brings out the kid in everyone

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

When the annual Lego exhibit “Think Outside the Brick” comes to the Columbus Museum of Art, no one can predict what will be on display because the imagination used in creating art out of Lego is endless. For the last couple of years, this exhibit has showcased the infinite possibilities within some tiny blocks. As I perused the sculptures for this year’s exhibit, this was palpable, but I also felt an intense bit of nostalgia.

I was a huge fan of Lego as a child. And even though seeing the massive landscapes — the streets (complete with COTA buses) and skyscrapers of Capitol Square, the Dispatch building, the Cap in the Short North and the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center on Marconi Blvd.— created by Central Ohio Lego Train Club is surely impressive, a different feeling washed over me.

It seems completely appropriate for the museum to hold “Think Outside the Brick” this time of year. I remember many Christmases of lying on the floor, surrounded by hundreds of Lego bricks as I created some massive structure (using instructions or my own imagination). Here’s where the exhibit fills me with the joy of childhood.

The six-foot-tall Huntington Building or Rhodes Tower are nearly exact replicas of Columbus’ biggest buildings. It surely required research, skill and patience to create something so accurate. But there aren’t instructions for making real-life entities out of Lego sculptures, which is why I was thrown back to my childhood memories — the art on display requires a child-like imagination.

Yes, the technical skill level is paramount to this display, but as you walk out of the Lego downtown, there are more fantastic structures like castles (with dragons), pirate ships and a UFO swiping a cow. (If only the real Columbus suburbs were this weird and wonderful.)

So if you check out “Think Outside the Brick” before it closes Jan. 25 — New Year’s Day would be ideal, as the winners of the 2014 LEGO Design Challenge (“What building, structure, or mode of transportation does a new Columbus need?”) are announced at noon — go to it with a youthful exuberance. And see if you can find Batman, Jar Jar Binks or an armless, pirate Harry Potter among the downtown structures.

photo courtesy of Columbus Museum of Art