As we quickly approach the last Saturday in January, final preparations are being made for one of the biggest parties of the year – Columbus Museum of Art’s Wonderball. On January 26, everyone is invited to put on their best black and white attire and get moving at a one-of-a-kind celebration of the Central Ohio arts community featuring live music, performance artists, interactive exhibits, artisan cocktails and delectable samples from local eateries. Attendance at Wonderball supports numerous Museum initiatives, but it is no small feat to put on this extraordinary annual bash.
In addition to 100+ community volunteers and nearly all CMA staff, each year has a host or host committee to help wrangle the direction lead the planning process. The chairs of Wonderball 2019 are Sandra Lopez, Joshua Schonauer, and Gerry Rodriguez.
Sandra is a legislative assistant with the City Council Division of Community Engagement, and spends her off-hours pursuing many passion projects through community involvement, including the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. By day, Joshua is Counsel in the Office of the Chief Legal Officer at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. By night, Joshua serves as a board member for CATCOand enjoys volunteering for Buddy UP! Tennis and the Mid-Ohio Food Bank and participating in Pelotonia. Not only is Gerry Chief of Staff at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, but he also dedicated time to serving on the board of trustees at Stonewall Columbus.
We sat down with each of our hosts for a pre-party chat to get to know them a bit better.
How does art move you?
SL: For me, art breaks down walls, demystifies stereotypes and above all, art has given me connections to so many new people! Art is a universal language – you don’t have to be fluent in Spanish to relate to Frida Kahlo or Picasso! Art also helps me to understand social issues and pushes me to question what I believe to be true.
JS: Every work of art has a back story: not only of the message that piece conveys to the observer, but also the effort and passion that went into its creation. I am moved by art when I consider everything that moved the artist to create it in the first place and each of the events that had to occur for that work and me to be in the same place at the same time.
GR: I love how art is so personal and subjective. There is nothing greater than walking through a museum and coming across something that unexpectedly fills you with emotion or evokes a memory, so I’m always excited to learn and explore new artists and art forms.
Why did you decide to partner with the Columbus Museum of Art on Wonderball?
SL: Because I love the work that CMA has been doing in the last few years. Their commitment to be more inclusive, not only on the exhibitions they’re showing but also the programs and experiences they are making available to our community truly enriches us all.
JS: I am proud to be affiliated with CMA and Wonderball because this event supports ground-breaking initiatives like Wonder School and Teen Open Studio, and specifically because Wonderball attracts such a wonderfully diverse cross-section of Columbus to the museum each year.
GR: I think Wonderball truly captures the spirit of the Columbus Museum of Art. I am so excited and honored to work with the museum to celebrate art, artists, local businesses in such a wonderful setting.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Wonderball?
SL: Who doesn’t love a good party?! I’m excited to see the performers and also what people are wearing. There’s so much creativity in Columbus!
JS: I am most looking forward to witnessing our guests’ “Wonder Face” each time they are confronted with something unexpected. We have worked hard to curate an evening that will be inviting and a lot of fun, and one that will also challenge our guests’ perception of what art is and can be.
GR: All of it! My first year attending Wonderball, I had such a great time as soon as I walked in the door, but that meant that I didn’t get a chance to truly go explore and experience the full event. The entire planning committee has done such a great job and I can’t wait to see it all come together.
Tickets are going fast for this not-to-be-missed celebration.
Through (1/25): $125
At the Door (1/26): $135
Visit the Wonderball page for details and tickets.
– Lexi Sweet is public relations manager at Experience Columbus and a three-year member of the Wonderball marketing committee. Sweet is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.