As Columbus continues to expand population-wise, the creative and artistic forces within the community have followed the course as well. With current residents or even those just getting their first taste of Columbus always looking for new ways to immerse themselves in art, the local creators have had to push their boundaries in innovative and collaborative ways. To further put the city on the map from a national level, artists and musicians alike have gone the extra mile to create experiences that attract eyes from all over the world.
Otherworld, a new 32,000 square foot immersive art installation that opened in late May, fits the above description perfectly. The explorative and engaging exhibit features over 40 rooms to travel through, work from over 40 artists, over 50 projectors and 190,000 LED lights for your mind to go wild over. The people who helped piece the whole thing together consist of creatives who have also worked on projects for SXSW and Burning Man. Walking through this exhibit really does transport you to another world by taking immersion to a whole new level, something that previously existing museums have failed to do.
John Umland, Operations Director at Otherworld, took the time to answer some questions about the exhibit, how the idea for it came about, what Otherworld has in store for the future and more.
Q: How was the idea for an attraction like Otherworld birthed?
The foundational idea for Otherworld, that it's a defunct tech company with the power to bring dream worlds into reality resulting in a wondrous dreamscape for guests to explore, came from our founder Jordan Renda. The designs and art were a collaboration between a core team of over 40 individuals and it was all brought to life by a team of over 100 artists, designers and fabricators.
What have you observed that Otherworld adds to the local Columbus arts scene?
Otherworld gives guests a unique, immersive and interactive art experience. We hope to make art that feels fun and approachable to everyone and allows them to become part of the experience through interactivity.
Would you say that guests have responded well to the adventurous nature of Otherworld over the course of the first few months of operation?
Absolutely! The best part of my job is seeing the many excited and happy guests that explore Otherworld each day.
How important of an ambiance is music to the galleries, art and interactive pieces at Otherworld? How does the storytelling of the art interact with what the music is saying at the time?
Each area inside Otherworld has custom music and sound effects that were designed to amplify the experience. The music and sound help guests immerse themselves in the space.
How did the idea of hosting live music at Otherworld come about?
Finding as many fun and different ways to use the space has always been part of the plan, and after our first live music night, we received so much positive feedback that we decided to pursue it further.
Do you think that it's important that Otherworld is acting as a local venue to genres that aren't represented in the mainstream?
Just like with the visual art in Otherworld, we hope to bring as diverse an offering of genres as possible to Otherworld.
What type of musicians do you look for when you're booking someone for Otherworld?
We're open to all different types of musicians and artists, but we are particularly excited by those who engage and interact with their audiences in new and exciting ways, like Dan Deacon who is performing on October 31.
What have you noticed about the live music events that you've hosted in the past?
We've been thrilled by the excitement and joy we've seen artists and guests bring to each show so far.
How often can we expect events curated with live music to be hosted at Otherworld?
What can we expect as far as future events?
We are committed to finding as many ways to utilize the space as possible. So far we have hosted dance parties, concerts and art classes, and we're just getting started!
If you are interested in checking out Otherworld, it is located at 5819 Chantry Dr., nine miles east of downtown and directly off I-70 at Brice Road. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door. General admission costs $22, children ages 3-12 can get in for $18 and children under 3 get in free. The interactive museum is currently open Thursdays-Sundays with the exception of major holidays. Otherworld is open on Thursdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
On top of being open during the above hours, Otherworld hosts special events from time to time, the next one being a Halloween celebration on October 31. ECTOPLASM: The Night of the Goopy Get Down will feature music from Dan Deacon (mentioned above) and Columbus-bred acts Anna and The Annadroids and Damn the Witch Siren. Doors will open at 9 p.m. for the event that will feature a costume contest, monsters, makeup artists and much more. Tickets for the event cost $35 and can be bought here.