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Fundraising event Off the Grid to raise money for educational programs with music, food

Courtesy of Rachael Barbash


The Wexner Center for the Arts is raising money for children’s art education by throwing a party – complete with DJs and food – this weekend.

The fourth annual fundraising event Off the Grid takes place Saturday at the Wexner Center for the Arts at 9:30 p.m., and will raise money for educational programs at the Wexner Center. 

Tickets are $60 for general admission, $70 on the day of the event and $100 for VIP pre-party tickets, and are available for purchase at the Wexner Center website.

For the price of admission, guests get access to all current exhibits at the Wexner Center, music from DJs and food from 12 Dine Originals Columbus restaurants, including Bodega and Due Amici, as well as Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

The theme for this year’s Off the Grid focuses around the elements of time and light.

“It’s kind of indirectly related to the exhibitions that we have in our spaces right now,” said Jennifer Wray, marketing and media assistant at the Wexner Center. 

One exhibit in the Wexner Center is Christian Marclay’s “The Clock,” which is a 24-hour video work that features thousands of movie clips showing different elements of time that are spliced together and linked to local time. 

GenWex, a group of young professionals interested in deepening the art scene at the Wexner Center, puts on the event. Last year’s Off the Grid raised about $83,000 for the Wexner Center’s education department, not including donations or corporate sponsorships, Wray said. 

The headlining DJ of the night will be Brooklyn DJ Sammy Bananas, who has performed globally and remixed tracks for artists including Kid Cudi and Passion Pit. Three local DJs, George Brazil, whose real name is Ryan Miller, Jenny Arcade and C.J. Townsend, will also be performing at Off the Grid.

“They’re all really popular here in Columbus and outside Columbus,” Wray said. “They’re going to be here to sort of warm up the crowd before Sammy gets started.”

Miller has performed at other Wexner Center events before and said he was honored to be asked to DJ at Off the Grid.

“It’s helping promote an organization that I’m a huge fan of (the Wexner Center), a place that brings a lot of various types of culture and cultural events to Columbus in various forms of media,” Miller said. “I’m supporting something that I also enjoy.” 

Miller said he will be playing and mixing tracks that will get the crowd pumped and motivated.

“Anything from house music to disco to ’90s hip-hop,” Miller said. 

The education department at the Wexner Center has many after-school programs aimed at children and teens, including “Pages,” a literacy and writing program aimed at helping high school students to connect art to writing. The Wexner Center also partners with Kaleidoscope Youth Center every year to host “Other Prom,” a free alternative prom for LGBTQ youth and their allies.

“Last year our education department worked with more than 25,000 visitors of all ages, including nearly 13,000 kids from central Ohio,” Wray said.

Off the Grid also helps to pay for buses to get students to and from the Wexner Center so they can take part in the programs.

“We can offer the best programs in the world, but if we didn’t help make it possible for them to get here they wouldn’t be able to,” said Amanda Potter, educator for public and university programs at the Wexner Center. “A lot of schools have really cut down on field trips and other kinds of outside enrichment which is kind of the reality of school funding these days.”

Potter said the education department at the Wexner Center is designing a new education space that will take the place of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum once it is relocated to Sullivant Hall. Potter said the education space won’t be completed until 2014 or 2015.

“It’s an exciting time at the education department,” Potter said. “We’re all thinking and brainstorming around that so things like Off the Grid help us know that we’re going to have support and resources to carry out these things.”

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