September 1, 2017

Interactive sculpture “As We Are” unveiled as the face of human diversity

Convention centers don’t typically double as art galleries. The Greater Columbus Convention Center is an exception. As part of the Convention Center’s recent $140 million expansion and renovation, the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority unveiled an exceptional interactive sculpture unlike any other in the world at last night’s Grand Opening which marked the completion of the project.

Poised at the gateway to the Short North Arts District, the Greater Columbus Convention Center will show off more than 200 stunning works of local art when it makes its debut Saturday as part of the district’s Gallery Hop circuit.

Not to be missed is “As We Are,” a dramatic 14-foot, 3-D universal human head made from ribbons of ultrabright LED screens. Unveiled Aug. 31 as the Convention Center’s newest art installation, the sculpture contains a photo booth capable of taking 3-D pictures. After visitors have their pictures taken, they will step out of the booth to see their portraits depicted as the face of “As We Are.”

“Each portrait is roughly 17 times the size of the person represented,” said Matthew Mohr, the conceptual artist for the work and a professor at the Columbus College of Art and Design. “Eyes will be as big as dinner plates. Through magnification, the sculpture recontextualizes each participant and ask all who see their portrait to consider who that person is and the life they lead, no matter their age, gender or culture.”

“The sculpture, fabricated by Design Communications Ltd., of Boston, is unique in the world,” said Sally Bloomfield, chair of the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority board, which commissioned “As We Are” as part of the largest contemporary collection of Franklin County art anywhere.

The Columbus Foundation has provided a yearly grant of $75,000 for 2018. This support will help to maintain the visitor experience of “As We Are” for the coming year.

The Convention Authority, which owns the Convention Center, the Hilton Columbus Downtown, Nationwide Arena and four parking facilities, has invested $3.5 million in local art as part of the Convention Center’s recent $140 million expansion and renovation.

“Columbus has a great story to tell, and part of that story is a rich arts culture that adds to the experience of visitors and residents alike,” Bloomfield said. “The Convention Authority believes this is something to celebrate, and we hope people will visit Saturday and other times to see the exceptional improvements that have been made to the Convention Center and to enjoy our art collection.”

Entry to the Convention Center is always free, and guides will be available Saturday for tours of the building and the art collection. Mohr will be there to present “As We Are” to guests and answer questions at 4 p.m.

Gallery Hop, held on the first Saturday of every month, brings thousands of visitors to High Street in the Short North. Throughout the evening, visitors can experience new gallery exhibitions, street performers, special events, food and night life.

To learn more about “As We Are,” please click here. Join the conversation on social media #AsWeAre and follow @FCCFA_Art.

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