The Cleo Rogers Memorial Library had its official open house in December, 1969. One of the very first exhibits to take place in the new building was an African Art exhibit which opened in late January, 1970, in the library’s gallery on the plaza level. The exhibit was part of a two-month long program developed by the Human Relations Commission called "Africa and Black and White America”. In the fall of that same year the Human Relations Commission then organized the "Columbus Black Arts Festival”, which took place over six weeks. All but one event was held at the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library.
Archival/Revival revisits these inaugural and transformative exhibitions through a series of engaging, interactive, and programmable “thresholds/moments” that allow visitors to explore their historical significance to our present and future realities. The installation is both sculptural, with elements representing key figures revived from the archive, and virtual. Augmented reality (AR) documents and artworks can be viewed via a mobile phone or tablet.
Cleo Rogers Memorial Library Plaza, I.M. Pei and Partners, 1971
The Carnegie Foundation funded Columbus’ first library building on this site in 1903. In the 1950s the growing city sought to completely redesign the area, which would be named in honor of Cleo Rogers, who served as Library Director from 1936 to 1964. Completed in 1969, Cleo Rogers Memorial Library was one of I.M. Pei’s earliest major designs. The library sits adjacent to the Irwin Sweeny Miller family home and across from Eliel Saarinen’s First Christian Church with Henry Moore’s sculpture, Large Arch, framing views of the surroundings. The dialogue between library and church, art and architecture, provides a panoramic view of Columbus history through the dynamic public plaza known anecdotally as “the community’s living room.”
Olalekan Jeyifous is a visual artist who has exhibited at venues such as the Studio Museum in Harlem, MoMA, and the Guggenheim Bilbao. He is a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellow, and has received grants from the New York State Council and the Brooklyn Arts Council. He has recently completed artist residencies with the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions program, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. In addition to his extensive exhibition history, he has spent over a decade creating large-scale public artwork.