Founded in 1977 by a dedicated group of preservationists and local residents committed to preserving Columbus’s architectural heritage, Columbus Landmarks Foundation has been a consistent presence in advocating for the city’s neighborhoods and iconic landmarks for decades. With an extensive membership group of all ages totaling more than 700 individuals, dozens of committee and board members, and four full time staff members, Columbus Landmarks is an established presence in preservation in Central Ohio. Fostering over 62 tours for 2,100 participants in 2015 and publishing many books on the neighborhoods and architecture of Columbus over the years, our organization remains fundamentally tied to the city to this day. For the past three years, we have compiled and distributed Columbus Landmarks’ Most Endangered Building List. Meant to inspire conversation around buildings that are either decaying or slated for demolition, we have witnessed a number of highlighted buildings see considerable movement towards redevelopment. While we are proud of our successes, we want to do more. We noticed that we were good at reaching out to concerned parties across the city, but less adept at activating and engaging our audience towards our cause. This has driven us to find new outlets for engagement.
2)Describe your Community Initiative Project.
We plan for participants to engage in a short, intensive design session that will pull together the community’s ideas for a future use of an endangered building in Columbus. We think of this as a brainstorming session for buildings- concrete solutions are usually not attained, but broad ideas meant to stimulate discussion are. Columbus Landmarks Foundation will provide a 9×6 post card that will be printed with images of the endangered buildings on one side and a blank space on the other for the production of ideas. It is up to the participant to write, sketch, color, or use whatever creative outlet they choose to emblazon their idea for the future of one of our landmarks on the card. Once completed, the work will be displayed at a presentation showcase celebrating these ideas for a future Columbus and the people who crafted them on September 14th at the Center for Architecture and Design Space. We plan to accept a wide variety of mediums, like drawings, collages, written works, and other creative solutions, so to yield participation from all corners of Columbus’s creative community.
3)What is your goal for this project?
It is our goal that this multi-pronged effort will spur conversation about the place of historic buildings in the future of an ever-changing Columbus. We feel that pulling together a large group of the city’s most creative young people will produce a vastly broader pool of ideas than we or any individual could come up with in isolation. We’re excited about the possibilities that could snowball from these conversations, gaining momentum as more and more of the city engages with these ideas. We see this, over time, leading to a shift in how both the city’s young professionals and the community at-large view our architectural heritage. Concurrently, we envision this idea competition as a platform for both creatives and people who don’t yet know that they’re creatives alike to showcase their talents.
4)How much money do you need and what will you use it for?
While outreach to interested parties, curation of entries, and planning require the sweat equity of our dedicated volunteers, we still need to fund the printing of post cards for entry production, the purchase of materials needed to appropriately curate entries at the presentation gala, and the potential procurement of advertising and event space. We feel that $1500 would cover these costs sufficiently. We are on our way to the realization of this program, but a small grant will carry this effort a long way.