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Mixing things up: OSU Urban Arts Space encourages variety in musical taste

The Urban Monthly Mix Exchange is an outlet for music-lovers to trade CDs with each other, and to possibly win prizes for coming up with theme ideas.

The event is scheduled to take place at the Ohio State Urban Arts Space today from 7-8 p.m.

Joanna Reed, creator of the event and a fourth-year in dance and history of art, said the event usually includes 12 to 15 people and is mostly comprised of artists, students, downtown residents and arts space employees. This range of characters leads to an eclectic mix of music since “everyone who participates has very different taste,” she said.           

After introductions, Reed puts each person’s name on a piece of paper and puts the pieces in a bowl. She then picks a random CD and picks a name from the bowl to go with it. This is followed by a “vote for the next month’s theme, and whoever creates the best theme gets a prize,” she said.

The winning mix theme this month is: “Music to Wake Up Listening To.” Some past themes have included: “Summer in the City,” “Alter Ego Mix,” “Underappreciated Music” and “Your Own Personal Soundtrack.”

“I suggested the theme ‘Music I Grew Up Listening To,’ and it got the most votes, so I won a gift card to Northstar (Café),” said Johanna Bogart, a fourth-year in French.

She said learning about new music keeps her coming back.

“The group is great because it opens you up to new music, new perspectives on music you may already have and allows you to meet new people,” Bogart said.

Bogart and Reed both stressed that being a music expert is not a necessity.

Scott Neal, an OSU alumnus and exhibitions and accessibility coordinator at the arts space, said he agrees. Neal said he has attended the mix exchange almost every month.

“You don’t really have to know about music, you just have to like music,” he said.

Neal said he thinks CD mixes are more of a form of self-expression than an indication of  knowledge.

“I take a lot of time and pride in producing the perfect mix for somebody else, like what would really inform them about me,” he said.

The prizes this month are a $15 gift card to Blue Danube and $15 gift card to Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus.

“It’s important to me that they’re all local businesses,” Reed said.

Participants bring one mix CD to trade and a completed CD information sheet, which can be found on the arts space website on the Urban Monthly Mix Exchange page.

Bogart said the information sheet combined with conversation can provide different insight.

“When we trade the mixes, everyone presents a little on how they compiled theirs so that you have a personal connection to the mix you receive,” he said.

As for rules, there is no set minimum or maximum number of songs that can be included, and music that is downloaded illegally should not be included.


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