The Native Guide Project: Columbus Location Finder

Melissa Starker, Creative Content & PR Manager

Mar 29, 2023

A large, white banner with black text reads, “IT’S TRUE! THERE WAS A VOICE BEFORE COLUMBUS.” It hangs outside within a white metal grid in front of a brick tower.

In the past, the Wex's partnership with Orange Barrel Media has brought work by Carlos Motta to the Arena District and an image from Ann Hamilton's when an object reaches for your hand project to the side of Mershon Auditorium in massive scale. For the latest iteration of this ongoing collaboration, text works from Anna Tsouhlarakis's Native Guide Project: Columbus are nudging citizens around the city to reflect on the history of the land on which we live and the forced migration of its original denizens.

The expansion of Tsouhlarakis's work beyond the Wex's interior begins on our building's exterior grid. Works have been installed not just around the building's entrance, but in dramatic form on the grid that connects the Wex to Mershon and Ohio State's Fine Arts Library building. Each provides a thought prompt with phrases such as, "IT'S TRUE! THERE WAS A VOICE BEFORE COLUMBUS." and "I NOTICE HOW YOU LISTEN WHEN THE MOUNDS SPEAK." 

A walkway contained by an open grid of white metal bars, on which a text work is installed overhead. It reads, "IT'S GREAT THAT YOU RECOGNIZE PEOPLE WERE HERE BEFORE YOU"

From there, the artist's work can be seen in the rotation of content on Orange Barrel's giant digital billboard at Broad and High. And it's also on view around central Columbus on the company's IKE kiosks. This Google map holds the locations for all of Orange Barrel's Columbus kiosks. They're concentrated along the High Street corridor but extend to the riverfront, German Village, and points north. The kiosk locations actually loosely surround one of the more prominent reminders of the city's Indigenous history: Mound Street, once the site of a 40-foot tall burial mound. Its fate was recounted as part of WOSU Public Media's Curious Cbus project.

A long view of a street filled with cars. A row of vintage-style metal arches rise above it. On the right, a sidewalk corner holds a tall smart monitor with a video screen. The screen holds black text on a white background that reads, "IT MAY BE CALLED COLUMBUS, BUT IT'S STILL NATIVE LAND."

The artist first presented images from The Native Guide Project without context as sponsored content on an Instagram account dedicated to it, so through this partnership, the Wex is able to offer Tsouhlarakis the opportunity for continued exposure of her work to the general public in places where it isn't expected.

Kudos to Orange Barrel for its continued commitment to increase the visibility of art in public spaces. If you spot one of Tsouhlarakis's works when you're out and about, we encourage you to take a pic to help expand the project's reach on social; just don't forget to tag the Wex.


Like this blog entry? You'll find more to read, watch, and listen to at our blog home.