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Bringing the arts to campus for 25 years

September 17, 2014

With the exhibition Transfigurations at the heart of its celebration, this fall the Wexner Center for the Arts marks 25 years as the first fully multidisciplinary arts institution on a university campus. Since 1989, it has supported the work of hundreds of artists; curated exhibitions from Leibovitz to Warhol; brought Hollywood to Ohio State; featured a wide array of theater, dance and music; and inspired countless youth to seize their creativity.

Making art accessible for all

It wouldn’t be the Wexner Center for the Arts if one of its most-talked-about exhibitions did not feature strong educational components.

Transfigurations: Modern Masters from the Wexner Family Collection is praised for its focus on the works of Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti and Jean Dubuffet, among other significant 20th century artists.

For Leslie and Abigail Wexner, the family who has amassed the exquisite collection available for viewing later this week, sharing these works with kindergarteners to college students was important, too.

“Deep down, they absolutely believe in he importance of art, art education and encouraging people to think more broadly about culture by utilizing the arts,” says Shelly Casto, director of education at the Wexner Center. “They just want to make sure this exhibition benefits as many people as possible.”

The center has developed a website with curriculum resources for K-12 teachers and a 45-minute mini-documentary with contemporary artists talking about the impact of Picasso and the other artists featured in the exhibition. The site will be active for six months after the exhibition ends Dec. 31, and Casto says it will be a great resource for those who are too far away to visit the center.

For schools in Columbus and Central Ohio, the center also has increased its bus subsidy program that reimburses schools for transporting students to tour the exhibition in person. As always, school tours are gratis.

“Transportation is a primary barrier for schools,” Casto says, “and it’s been a nice opportunity to activate all of our systems to remove those barriers and facilitate their visits.” 

Inside the exhibition, further educational tools are available, including two interactive spaces in the galleries. For example, an interactive touchscreen developed by the eyethink firm in Powell, Ohio allows visitors to compare various works in the collection against each other or aggregate all pieces that include certain objects, such as a hat or animals. 

“You can zoom in on every piece, and there are alternate views of the sculpture on display,” Casto says. “It’s really amazing.”

Join the conversation

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Educational website

The Wexner Center for the Arts has a website with robust educational features – including curriculum for K-12 classes and a mini-documentary – available at wexarts.org/explore. 

What’s “The Wex” mean to you?

Share your thoughts at wexarts.org/yourstory.

A ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ event

In Buckeye Voices, Lisa Florman, history of art professor and department chair, writes about the opportunities Ohio State students and the public have this fall to see a world-class collection of art from the 20th century.