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Fundraiser goes ‘Off the Grid’

Chelsea Castle / Lantern photographer

The floor pulsates beneath people’s feet, the heavy tribal beat of the music thumps in their ears, two performers move wildly about the dance floor and neon lights and animation flash all around.

The second annual fundraising event “Off The Grid” was held Saturday night at the Wexner Center for the Arts. The party directly benefits the Wexner Center’s youth and educational programming, said Cat Sheridan, co-chair of the event’s host committee.

The night was presented by GenWex, a group of young professionals in the Wexner Center that works to advance the arts community in Columbus. The event featured music, dancing, food, drinks and more.

“It’s a top notch spread to meet all of your senses,” Sheridan said.

With an attendance of approximately 800 people, tickets sold out days prior to the event. The event raised an estimated $60,000, said Tim Fulton, media coordinator for the Wexner Center.

Last year’s “Off The Grid” party raised approximately $20,000 for the Wexner Center’s youth and educational programming. More than 12,000 children from Central Ohio were impacted last year through the Wexner education department’s workshops and events, according to material at the event.

This year, guests could browse three open art galleries: “Human Behavior” by Nathalie Djurberg with music by Hans Berg, “Double Sexus” by Hans Bellmer and Louise Bourgeois and “The Tender Room” by Pipilotti Rist.

Photos of the art galleries were restricted, but Sheridan described the “Double Sexus” gallery as “really trippy but really beautiful.”

Rist is an artist known for moving images on installation art. “The Tender Room” features six screens each approximately 12 feet in height that display visuals of flowers and elements applying to the senses.

The three galleries featured at the event are open to the public until July 31.

Andrew Aucoin, a recent Ohio State graduate, has been a member of the Wexner Center for four years and said he loved the diverse crowd.

“It’s great to be around so many people interested in art in one place,” Aucoin said. “It’s also a chance to experience great food of Columbus.”

Basi Italia, Due Amici, Bodega, Surly Girl Saloon and 11 other restaurants provided food for the event.

Representatives from Middle West Spirits were also present to offer samples of its new whiskey to guests who purchased pre-party tickets.

Shin Tower Music kicked the dance party off with a wild display of visuals and electronic music. They were accompanied by two silent performers who danced to a crowd of guests, some of whom moved in imitation. Their music featured an electronic background with a heavy drum.

Patrick Hicks, known as DJ Patrick, is from a monthly Columbus party called O-GEE. He preceded the sets from Nate Donmoyer of Passion Pit and visuals from VJ Rainer.

Hicks said the party is a great way to benefit the Wexner Center.

“There are a lot of programs out there that are underfunded,” Hicks said. “It’s very much a benefit party to support youth programs in a creative way.”

Patrons could buy $10 raffle tickets for the chance to win prizes such as two round-trip tickets on American Airlines and a five-course dinner for four guests from the Refectory, together a $1,000 value.

Guests were also treated to goody bags. Two separate bags were created for those with pre-party tickets and regular admission tickets. Goodies included a drinking cup, candle and a canvas bag from Madewell.

Sheridan said all students should take advantage of and enjoy the Wexner Center’s resources.

“You have a cultural gem, a world renowned cultural center in the middle of campus,” Sheridan said. “Not to visit it is insane.”

Kareem Jackson, co-owner of Milk Bar Boutique and OSU alumnus, co-chaired the event and said he wished he had taken advantage of the Wexner Center when he was a student.

“I didn’t go to the Wexner Center until after I graduated. I didn’t know what was going on,” Jackson said. “So this is a time to actually feel like you’re involved. You’re not just on campus anymore; you’re reaching out. You can’t be on campus forever.”

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