Community Impact

Collage of several Wexner programs representing community impact

At the Wexner Center, we believe in the transformative impact of the arts and strive to connect with audiences wherever they are. Through exhibitions, performances, screenings, online offerings, educational programs, artist residencies, podcasts, publications, and more, the Wex serves as a vital forum where artists test ideas and diverse audiences engage with the art and issues of our time. Events and other activities for all ages and backgrounds are held at our building, now part of the brand-new Arts District on the Ohio State campus, in neighborhoods and schools throughout Columbus and Ohio, and online.

"The Wex has been one of the forces keeping me going through all of this."
—Noah Demland, Arts & College Preparatory Academy music teacher and percussionist, on the Wex during COVID

Our community partners include the Columbus Metropolitan Libraries, King Arts Complex, South Drive-In Theatre, Maroon Arts Group BoxPark in the King-Lincoln Bronzeville District, Sanctuary Night in Franklinton, K–12 schools, Linden Community Center, Huckleberry House’s Kenmore Square (for housing-insecure youth), Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Chalmers P. Wylie Ambulatory Care Center for veterans, and dozens of other organizations, large and small.

In fall 2020, a pilot project called Free Space invited community members to participate in hands-on projects, submit films for screening, and contribute to an installation in our galleries—and will likely recur in pop-up form in the coming months and years. Our annual Ohio Shorts festival invites filmmakers of all ages to submit their Buckeye-made short films to a juried competition. During the pandemic, we increased our offerings of online performances, films, talks, artist Q&As, and guided online tours, which have been accessed by tens of thousands from nearly every continent around the globe.

The Wex is committed to further increasing access and prioritizing equity. We offer free gallery admission on designated days and participate in programs like Museums for All Columbus (which gives reduced-price gallery admission to families receiving federal SNAP benefits) to help reduce barriers to participation. Our free Art & Resilience programming focuses on mindfulness and healing from physical and emotional trauma. This suite of offerings includes On Pauseweekly arts-based meditation sessions led by our partners at The Yoga Carriage @ replenish—and initiatives specifically for military veterans and others who have been wounded in body or spirit. Through these and other programs, we strive to foster a sense of community, inclusion, and well-being through the arts.