The Wexner Center for the Arts is raising money for its education programs with its 10th annual Off the Grid event Saturday.
Inspired by provocative and boundary-pushing artist John Waters, who is also the subject of the current winter exhibition, “John Waters: Indecent Exposure,” the fundraiser will feature special guest DJs Marcus Marr and Jason Allen, and provide food from local Columbus restaurants.
Hosted by GenWex, a group of active young professionals in the community who appreciate and promote the arts, the event raises around $50,000 annually, totaling approximately $450,000 in the event’s history, Sarah Ball, development coordinator at the Wexner Center, said.
“They want to give [other young professionals] the opportunity to come and be exposed to the art community in different ways… and expose them to something new,” Jessica Burton, co-chair of GenWex said.
Ball said all ticket proceeds and sponsorship will benefit its children’s education programs, such as Pages, WexLabs, Worldview and others.
Burton said that Pages is a creative outlet for high school students to use their voice and share what art means to them, while finding their inner creativity. Their thoughts are then able to come to life in a book that is published by the program, she said.
The annual event is usually inspired by the current exhibition at the Wexner Center at that time, with this year’s being John Waters’ winter exhibition, “John Waters: Indecent Exposure.”
“We’ll have a lot of pink flamingos, wigs and things that are inspired by his campy, trashy vibe,” Ball said.
Burton said that the significance is not just Waters’ name, but what he stands for and represents, particularly in the conversations and atmosphere of what’s happening in our current environment — socially or politically.
“John Waters has been his own person for decades, and his thoughts and personality hasn’t wavered,” Burton said. “That really encourages the people who are coming to the party to be drawn into being themselves, no matter what that looks like.”
The primary importance of this event is to support the Wexner Center’s education programs, as well as to support the center itself.
“It’s a cool way to see the exhibitions in a fun setting. You get to party, have some food and dance and then go look at the exhibits,” Burton said.
Ball also said that with the center undergoing a lot of transition, coming in for Off the Grid will allow guests to witness the changes and see how the center plans to move forward.
The event is for ages 21 and up, and is being held on March 9, at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $90 for the general public.