My kids LOVE checking out all the installations during Exhibit Columbus. What is it? Exhibit Columbus is a biennial event taking place in Columbus, Indiana through December 1, 2019. During this exhibition, temporary works of art are installed to transform the city and spark inspiration in the community. This year’s theme is “Good Design and Community.” There are 18 incredible exhibits to explore, and the best part: It is FREE! We hit up all eighteen and are here to tell you all about our favorites:
Thank U, Next
While this exhibit shares a name with a catchy pop-song, it is meant as a tribute to those architects who built up Washington Street and looks forward to a less structured public space. This colorful and playful exhibit was created as a rearrangeable meeting space. The inspiration behind this project was for all members of the community, from diverse backgrounds, to be able to meet here and share their various stories. It is also really fun to walk and hop along! (Thank U, Next is located on Washington St., between 6th and 7th St.)
Into the Hedge
This exhibit is inspired by the famous Miller House’s hedgeway. You are encouraged to explore this interactive exhibit in several ways. One really neat feature is how the trees sway with you, as you walk along the webbing. Another fun aspect of this exhibit is useable hammocks that stretch between the trees. (Into the Hedge is located on the lawn of the Bartholomew County Courthouse, at 234 Washington St.)
The architectural shape of City Hall is reflected in this exhibit, while providing a fun and comfortable place to play. The larger areas transform the entrance of the building, while several smaller versions are assembled on the lawn. The kids loved hanging out on the woven seating, for a little break in our exhibit exploration. (Soft Civic is located at 123 Washington St.)
The design concept of this exhibit was to provoke thought about our relationship with food, and how we can strengthen it by reconnecting to what we eat. To get to this picnic table course, you first have to find your way to the middle of a corn maze. There were lots of races taking place along these ramps, and it was at this exhibit my children wanted to spend the most time. (Corn/Meal is located outside Central Middle School, at 725 7th St.)
UTK Filament Tower
This giant fiber composite structure is sturdy enough for climbing or standing on and reaches over thirty feet tall. It was inspired by the spire atop the North Christian Church. (The UTK Filament Tower is located at 850 Tipton Ln.)
This exhibit is an ecological education center, with plants on-site, and whose shape is intended to remind visitors of a greenhouse. While this was an exhibit we couldn’t technically climb on, it was really neat to learn about the different native species. (Understorey is located on the lawn adjacent to the UTK Filament Tower.)
This exhibit was designed with neurodiverse individuals in mind, such as those with autism spectrum disorder. Its unique design allows the individual to create their own experience and promotes a feeling of well-being. (Playscape is located at 300 Washington St.)
Good To Know
Sixteen of the exhibits are located downtown, within a few blocks walking distance of each other. You can view a map here to plan your visit. The other two exhibits are located in the vicinity of North Christian Church, at 850 Tipton Ln.
You can pick up free copies of the Exhibition Guide and the Family Activity Guide at several places around the city, but I highly recommend the Columbus Visitor’s Center (506 5th St.). There is free street parking on all streets surrounding the center, it is centrally located to the majority of the exhibits, and my favorite reason: Chihuly. Anyone who has been to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and seen Chihuly’s Fireworks of Glass sculpture will recognize two of the artist’s works on public display here!
Extra Stops Along the Way to Enhance Your Visit:
- Three floors of interactive exhibits make this little museum a hit with the younger crowd. Exhibits are aimed at 18 months- 12 years. Admission is FREE every first Sunday of the month, and half-off from 3-5pm Tuesday Through Friday, when Bartholomew County Schools are in session.
- James A. Henderson
- Playground Located at 300 Washington St, this free indoor playground features areas for ages 6 month- 12 years, including a two-story high climbing feature.
- This restored 1900’s ice cream shop is really something to see, with curved oak, stained glass, a marble soda fountain, and of course, ice cream!
- Gardens at Irwin Inn
- Located at 608 5th St, this beautifully restored garden is open for public viewing every Tuesday and Sunday, from 2pm-6pm through October.
The Exhibit Columbus installations are available for viewing until December 1st.