A small, artist work and display space at the 411 gallery in downtown Columbus could become a reality by late August.
Landscape architect Lulu Loquidis and building architect Daniel Martinez of the new LAA Office firm in Columbus have begun the first steps of the project for the Columbus Area Arts Council.
The acronym in the business name stands for Landscape, Art, Architecture.
Formal funding of the effort for the room of slightly more than 200 square feet is expected within about a week, according to Loquidis and Martinez. They are married and have lived in downtown Columbus since last year when they moved to town.
The pair were the keynote speakers at the arts council’s annual meeting Monday at The Republic Building on Second Street. Loquidis has been a designer and project leader for international practices. She has built a diverse portfolio including gardens, streetscapes, and urban plazas.
Martinez is an assistant professor at Indiana University’s J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program located at The Republic Building, where he teaches graduate design studios.
“So much of today’s architecture is not necessarily what is new, but how you configure what already exists,” Martinez said after their presentation.
The 411 gallery at 411 Sixth St., next door to the arts council’s office near Sixth and Franklin streets, serves as a display space for exhibitions for local and regional artists, plus a space for events and collaborations with arts and cultural organizations. The arts council manages the space that is a project of the arts and entertainment district.
The space that the architects are working with is not currently in use. The pair also have been doing significant work on the year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the current Cleo Rogers Memorial Library building.
In other news from the annual meeting, Kathryn Armstrong, arts council executive director, unveiled a new mission statement for the organization: “The Columbus Area Arts Council strengthens the community through arts and culture.”
Armstrong earned kudos at the meeting for the arts council’s newer projects, including the 411 gallery and the arts council’s pop-up programming of unconventional concerts and events. She was catalyst behind both ideas.
Plus, outgoing arts council president Scott Poling praised the entire arts council team.
“If there is a harder-working group anywhere doing more with less, I’d like to meet them,” Poling said.
New president Mike Elwood told those attending the gathering a bit about his background as a Columbus native. He humorously highlighted how he came to think of the city’s world-famous architects such as Eero Saarinen and I.M. Pei as belonging to the local community whenever he visited their structures elsewhere in the world, whether that was w gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, or the Louvre in Paris, France.
“What influenced and informed me in terms of my nascent interest in art were those underpinnings,” Elwood said. “And what I believe the Columbus Area Arts Council can and should be is so central to a vibrant community.”