For more than 70 years the modest American city of Columbus, Indiana, has shown the world that good design can create an exceptional place to live, work, and play. Today, Columbus consistently ranks among the best cities of its size, and its exceptional design heritage includes seven National Historic Landmarks. Exhibit Columbus seeks to celebrate Columbus’ design heritage while making it relevant to new audiences.
This remarkable modern heritage, along with that of the 19th and early 20th century, is the tangible evidence of the community’s distinctive pursuit of excellence and living proof of a shared belief that the value of good design is essential to the successful growth of this city, or any city. With such a meaningful design legacy and history of built excellence, Columbus is a singular place in the world.
The value of this design legacy is evident to those who have walked down Fifth Street, through the Library Plaza designed by I.M. Pei, and passed Henry Moore’s “Large Arch,” which so perfectly relates to Eliel and Eero Saarinen’s First Christian Church. There is a kind of music in that space that is so uniquely Columbus, Indiana, and its sound is what has drawn so many to want to be here. We need to continue to care for the masterpieces that push Columbus to be excellent, keep the spirit of these singularly Indiana – and American – achievements alive, and explore Columbus as a nationally-relevant case study in the value of good design.