Photo: Blair Perry
Kate Bauer is all about engaging Columbus’ art fans. As this year’s chair of the GenWex Advisory Committee (GWAC), she helps reach out to the local creative and young professional communities through GenWex’s part-social, part-educational events. In advance of the group’s signature event on March 9, Off The Grid, Bauer chatted with Wexner Center educator and GenWex staff chair Amanda Potter about the importance of GenWex and its role in Columbus’ thriving young community. An excerpt from this conversation appears in our January/February calendar of events
Amanda Potter: How did you get involved with GenWex and GWAC?
Kate Bauer: I had been interested in getting involved with the Wexner Center for quite some time. When the GenWex group approached my good friend Jeremy from my previous employer Big Lots, asking if anyone was interested in joining the GWAC, he didn’t even have to think about [recommending me]. That was over two years ago, and it’s been extremely rewarding.
I’ll always be involved with the Wexner Center in some capacity. I really feel passionate about everything they do for the community, Ohio State, and artists, and I love being a part of that in my small way. Additionally, the GenWex group and GWAC volunteers are the perfect partners. Ideally I’d like to start thanking people here like I’ve won a lifetime achievement award, but I don’t think I’d have enough space to truly express my gratitude to the fantastic group of people I get to work with.
AP: How would you describe Off the Grid to someone who’s never attended?
KB: The best time you’ll ever have in the coolest venue imaginable. As always with the Wexner Center, there’s something for everyone: Good food and conversation in the café and live music and dancing in the performance space for those looking for a little more excitement. A great deal of planning goes into the annual party. Lots of local partners donate everything from food to decorations. It’s a great example of how the Columbus community and the Wexner Center support one another. And the best part is that the proceeds go toward the Wexner Center’s educational programs, so you’re partying for a cause.
AP: What does having the Wexner Center in Columbus mean for the city’s young professionals?
KB: The Wexner Center attracts incredible exhibitions. Young professionals in Columbus are fortunate to have access to such high-caliber national and international performing arts, music, photography, theater, and more. And let’s not forget the cool parties! It provides the opportunity to be social, to learn, to be engaged. Most importantly, it gives us the opportunity to experience the world’s greatest creativity right at home.
AP: What’s your favorite Off the Grid memory?
KB: I’m smiling just thinking about it. I met my husband, Ted, at the very first Off the Grid in 2010. What an amazing night. The Hood Internet came in from Chicago and we danced the night away. We got separated at one point during the evening and kept missing one another, so our mutual friend ran interference, texting us both when we came by looking for one another. So Off The Grid, for me, is something truly special. Ted and I have the posters from each year framed and hanging in our dining room. I’ve been involved with GenWex and GWAC for about the same amount of time I’ve been with Ted. I see both relationships lasting a lifetime.