Raeanne Ellis’s day job may be behind the scenes at a major radio group in town, but she’s a visible and familiar face here at the Wexner Center. The media marketing specialist for Radio One (WCKX Power 107.5 FM and WXMG Magic 106.3 FM) and the affiliated Interactive One Local is a member of two external advisory councils formed by the Wexner Center: the Shumate Council, focused on engaging African Americans in the Wex, and the GenWex Advisory Council (GWAC, pronounced “g-wack”), which seeks to build young professional audiences through social and educational events such as the Off the Grid party and the Drink It In series of beverage tastings and gallery tours. Karen Simonian, advancement projects manager, talked with the Providence, RI, native about why (and how) she connected with the Wexner Center.
Karen Simonian: How did you first get involved?
Raeanne Ellis: I have been involved for about five years via my role at Radio One Columbus as the Wex's account executive. When Spike Lee was awarded the Wexner Prize in 2008, we shared the exciting news with our audience. Spike Lee was invited in for an exclusive live interview to talk about the award and the current projects that he was working on at the time.
KS: What other kinds of affinities do you see between the Wex and Radio One?
RE: Radio One is THE urban media specialist and serves a niche in this market that is unmatchable by any other media. While we reach African Americans more efficiently and effectively than anyone else, we also have the power to reach non–African Americans. We have specifically invited our audiences to selected events at the Wex, including Anna Deavere Smith’s Let Me Down Easy and the evening with Natalie Cole, which they’ve responded to well. The ultimate vision is to educate and invite consistently to increase engagement.
The staff at the Wex never ceases to amaze me, from their professionalism to the undeniable passion they possess for what they do. If I were to ever leave radio, I would be knocking on their door for sure (lol).
KS: Talk about your experiences on the Wex advisory councils.
RE: It was truly an honor to be invited to both the Shumate Council and GWAC. The two groups were formed with missions that may initially seem to be very different; however, we share a common goal, which is to spread the word about this magnificent contemporary arts facility!
KS: What does the Wex do for Columbus?
RE: There’s a line from the movie Dirty Dancing where a character says, “No one puts Baby in a corner!” The Wexner Center for the Arts is one of the major entities that has elevated the status of this Midwestern city to a high level of visibility. No more corners for the CO!