Alexia Winfield was fresh out of college when she made the move to Columbus in 2010 — nearly 1,000 miles from her home in Kissimmee, Florida — for an analyst position at JPMorgan Chase.
During her first two years, Winfield, who lived less than 20 miles north of Columbus in the Polaris area, said she had no social life, hated the city and doubted she could live in that area of the city any longer.
Winfield then decided to take the plunge and move downtown, which opened the doors to her next big project. With the opportunity to go out and meet people in Columbus, Winfield said she finally began to connect with locals and build strong relationships with the city’s creatives.
“I just fell in love with the city,” she said.
Now, Winfield is finally getting ready to release the “Columbus Book Project,” a carefully curated book that works as an all-inclusive guide to Columbus and the experiences it has to offer.
“This is not your average tour guide or attraction guide, this is really everything from the hair, the makeup, the photography, the location, the food, the design of the book –– it’s all local,” Winfield said.
Inspired by her own experiences in the city and her plethora of friendships with local designers, artists and photographers, Winfield found herself working on her own “coffee-table book” –– a large, heavily illustrated book made for casual reading.
“I wanted to mix fashion, art and culture into a coffee-table book that was comprehensive, edgy, modern, sleek and really tell the story of Columbus,” she said.
The Columbus Book Project encompasses two, 250-page books that showcase a wide variety of the city’s culture, including fashion, food and art. Some of its hot spots include Buckeye Donuts, Pistacia Vera in German Village, the South Drive-In Theater and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
The first of the two editions is titled “Reveal,” which explores underground, emerging and established local artists in the area, as well as Columbus’ creative scene.The second book, “Explore,” then addresses the city’s wanderlust character, featuring local shops, foods, businesses and things to do in different neighborhoods, according the project’s website.
Winfield said the book project is especially important for freshmen and Columbus newcomers like herself.
“[With] my experience not knowing Columbus and coming here for the first time –– Columbus is not obvious,” Winfield said. “I essentially curated a book that I wish I had when I first came here. That’s what it boils down to.”
Upper Arlington native Sarah Martin, a photographer and first-year in pre-design, is one of the feature artists showcased in the book. She said for freshmen, the book proves to be a realistic “brochure” for discovering Columbus.
“Especially for incoming freshmen, it’ll give you a hands-on look [at] the different (events) in Columbus and the different shops to go to,” Martin said. “It’s more localized, which I think is cool, I don’t think it goes really outside the boundaries of Columbus at all.”
Martin’s photography will be published in the first book, “Reveal,” which will highlight a majority of the artists involved in the project.
The book’s overall goal is to highlight Columbus’ variety of neighborhoods, evening hot spots, foods and local artists and designers to really give visitors, transients and residents a look into the city’s most popular and underground happenings.
“It gives you a very immersive experience into the Columbus culture,” Winfield said. “It gives you an insight into the different neighborhoods; it really kind of pulls the curtain behind the creatives and artists that really make Columbus a thriving, artistic culture.”
From her own experience at JPMorgan Chase, Winfield said it is imperative for businesses and academic institutions to significantly showcase the city. To jumpstart the initiative, the book project team is currently working on getting the book into Ohio State bookstores and the Blackwell Hotel to make it accessible for students, as well as the city’s hotels, business centers and airports for the general public.
Though the hardcover release won’t be available until November, pre-orders for both volumes of the Columbus Book Project are currently being taken and can be purchased at http://www.columbusbookproject.com/.