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Inside the Wex and out in the community, the Wex offers programs to engage audiences of all ages, races, ethnicities, faiths, political persuasions, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We consider the arts an essential lens and catalyst to cross-cultural understanding and positive societal change.
The Los Angeles artist team Fallen Fruit worked under Wex auspices to create public fruit parks in two economically challenged Columbus neighborhoods: the South Side and Weinland Park in the University District. This cross-sector, public-private initiative has transformed abandoned sites as community gathering spots with free access to fresh fruit.
In fact, the Wex has deep roots in nearby Weinland Park, spearheading such collaborative, grassroots initiatives as the Weinland Park Story Book project and the Billboard Project in partnership with social-service agencies, local artists and teens, the Weinland Park Community Civic Association, and other neighborhood groups.
The center’s pioneering initiative Art on the Brain, created with input from Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, uses arts experiences and interpretation to help people recovering from brain/mind injury or trauma. In this multivisit, group-based program, participants discuss the art on view, a process that fosters critical thinking and social interaction.
A partnership with Columbus’s Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center, the nationally noted Vets at the Wex is a more specialized program within Art on the Brain, specially designed for military veterans.
Similarly, Art & Resilience programs address other kinds of trauma, resulting from substance abuse, human trafficking, or incarceration, while others focus on meditation and mindfulness.
Pens to Pictures—a filmmaking project for incarcerated women, led by filmmaker and professor Chinonye Chukwu, resulted in five short films, a suite of public discussions and screenings, a documentary, and 10 Girls/10 Weeks, a corollary project for teen girls.