On Tote Bags and Off the Grid

Jennifer Wray

Mon, May 18, 2015

When Off the Grid, the contemporary art party of the season, returns this Saturday, May 30, patrons will enjoy an evening of terrific music, including tunes from Brooklyn-based headliner DJ Lauren Flax (of electronic duo CREEP), delicious bites from some of the best restaurants in town, and after-hours access to our galleries, featuring works by photographer Catherine Opie and painter Jack Whitten.

Those who secure VIP passes to our 21+ event will get all that and more, such as early access to food and drinks (including a couple of free ones) and a dance performance choreographed by Nico Garlo (Nicole Garlando).

And now, we’re happy to announce VIP attendees will also receive tote bags whose design is striking as our memorable building. And, fittingly, given all proceeds from Off the Grid benefit Wex education programs for children and youth, we turned to a young person to supply art for the tote bags.

Behind the bags’ distinctive design is Max Cohen, a Bexley High School grad now completing his freshman year at the College of Wooster. Max is no stranger to the Wex. Through the years, he participated in our Summer Program in Comics classes with Julian Dassai, who mentored him in drawing and comics, and he also contributed art to the Weinland Park Story Book, a graphic anthology of stories about the Weinland Park neighborhood.

When it came to tapping a young artist to create a design for the tote bags, we couldn’t think of anyone better to tackle it than Max, whose bold cut-out aesthetic seemed ideal for the project. Our expectations for his work were high, and we think you’ll agree he delivered—and then some. Below, Max reflects on the Wex and on this assignment.

If it wasn't for the summer workshops there, I don't think I would have gotten into art—especially into cartooning—the way that I did. Being responsible for a tote bag design was an incredibly exciting opportunity for me, and it took several attempts to get the design the way that I wanted. I can't wait to see the physical product, but the act of creating it was a great experience in its own right.

Want to get your hands on Max’s limited-edition design? Purchase your VIP tickets to Off the Grid here. You’ll enjoy a fun night out with a special take-home gift, but most importantly, you’ll also be supporting pivotal moments in arts education for young people such as Max.


--Jennifer Wray, marketing & media assistant