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Wex observes 21st with events and iPhone apps

Many 21st birthdays involve a trip to High Street for a fun-filled night of celebration, not an entire year of artistic collaboration and a personal iPhone application.

The Wexner Center for the Arts is celebrating its 21st birthday with Wex 21, a series of 21 events throughout the 2010-11 school year.

The celebration began Nov. 9 with the opening of “Six Solos,” an exhibition featuring six rising international artists and several new projects developed specifically for the Wexner Center.

“‘Six Solos’ underscores our mission of presenting innovative and experimental art, focusing on living, multi-media artists,” said Karen Simonian, the Wexner Center’s director of media and public relations. “Six Solos” will be open until Feb. 13 in the Wexner Center Gallery.

Simonian said “innovative education” is a Wexner Center tradition that will be emphasized this year through Wex 21 events such as “Zoom: Family Film Festival 2010.” The film festival features international family-friendly films, hands-on activities and a Saturday afternoon ice cream social. Simonian said the mission is to introduce children and adults to acclaimed international films. The festival runs Dec. 2 to 5.

The Wexner Center is also celebrating by sponsoring events taking place at other Columbus venues. “Let Me Down Easy,” a solo performance by Anna Deavere Smith, will take place at Lincoln Theatre. Deavere Smith, who plays a recurring role on Showtime’s show “Nurse Jackie,” created “Let Me Down Easy” after being commissioned by Yale University’s medical school. The off-Broadway hit details the challenge of facing illness and navigating the health care system. Deavere Smith created 20 monologues through interviews with people dealing with the United States medical system — ranging from Lance Armstrong to the late Texas Gov. Ann Richards. Performances are Feb. 22 to 27.

Other events include director Frederick Wiseman’s documentary “Boxing Gym” and Vivarium Studios’ presentation of “Le Effet de Serge.”

The introduction of a new iPhone application “signals a new re-energizing of Wexner Center technology,” Simonian said. The application was developed by Alex Ford, a 22-year-old recent graduate of Ohio State’s Department of Industrial, Interior and Visual Communication Design.

“This student-developed (application) is just one of many audience engagement strategies via new media at the Wexner Center,” said Jerry Dannemiller, marketing director of the Wexner Center. “This is another attempt to provide our growing, wired audience — students are at the top of that list — with the information they want, real-time, on the platform of their choice.”

The iPhone application is free, and became available Sunday and features the Wexner Center’s calendar of events as well as visitor information and access to the Wexner Center blog.

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