Anne Marie Blaire, a member since 2000, talked about her perceptions of the Wexner Center with Membership Manager Nico Franano.
The Wexner Center is truly one of the places that makes me happy about living in Columbus. The range and diversity of programs make it unique, even in comparison with the cultural capitals of Paris and New York I visit frequently for my work. I'm a huge fan of the performing arts, and unless I've been out of town, I think I've seen every â€œblack boxâ€ theater show of the past eight or nine years. I love the intimate setting and how engaged the audience becomes with the performance and performers. As a yogi, I especially love the variety of dance at the Wex. Seeing the Lyon Opera Ballet a number of years ago cemented my appreciation for the center; the energy of the dancers really transformed my perspective of what had gone on in my work day. I also remember the sheer euphoria of Batsheva, and I was amazed by the physicality and power of Grupo de Rua last January. With a live performance, you can feel what is happening in way that you just don't with any other kind of art or entertainment.
My memories of the center also reach back to The Hair Ball, a fund-raising party that the center held each year from 1997 to 2001. It was a time to get together with friends and dress up in fun and creative ways and dance. The descriptions of those parties always had a lot of fun with word play on â€œhair-raisingâ€ and â€œhair-curlingâ€ good times. I was glad to to see that lively energy being reborn this year with the Off the Grid party.
I tend to buy tickets in advance, sometimes two, sometimes four, and then pick different people to take as guests, people who I think will enjoy the shows and should know about the Wexner Center. As a member, I feel like an ambassador: I want more people to know about the center and appreciate it the way I do. I've introduced friends with children to the young people's programs and, of course, I take them to exhibitions too: Mood River (back in 2002) and the Warhol show are some I remember vividly. I travel a lot, and when I come home it's wonderful to have the center here.
Sometimes I read about filmsâ€”like Sita Sings the Bluesâ€”and think I'll have to wait and wait for that to come to Columbus or else see it somewhere else, and then there it is on the Wexner Center schedule. Or I'll see that a film or performance or show is in California or New York or Paris or wherever I am, and I'll know about it because it played, or even premiered, at the Wex. The ability to discover and see and share experiences like these is what makes the center so special to me.
But here's an idea for you that could really let fans like me take enjoying the Wex to another level. How about compilation DVDs of the shows you present? I know you sometimes do mixtapes of upcoming music, but I would love to have a way to look back at and share some of the amazing shows I've seen. Or how about a Wexner Center on-demand channel for movies and shows? Maybe someday. But even that won't take the place of being there for a live event.