Zach Waymer has been involved in the Wex in some capacity since the center’s early days. His contributions have been both visible (serving as a docent and on the GenWex Advisory Council of young professionals) and behind the scenes (coining the name of the Annie Leibovitz–themed late-night party, “Last Shot”). We asked the McConnelsville, Ohio native, who is currently Director of Experiential Learning and Outreach at the Ohio Board of Regents, a few questions on the eve of the Wex’s 25th anniversary.
What sparked your interest in the arts? I was just drawn to the arts and was in band, orchestra, choir, and theater growing up. I was fortunate to have both music and art education in primary and secondary school.
Talk about your initial visit to the Wex. In 1991, I came for a visit to Ohio State as a transfer student, and one of the things I made sure to do was stop by the Wex. I was blown away by the architecture of the building, especially the plinths of grass, and also the exhibit on view at the time, Passages de l’image. It was amazing: there were so many artists using technology and conveying such interesting stories with it, all in one place at one time. I was immediately hooked on the Wex.
How have you been involved since? I have been involved for several years on the different fund-raising parties (Hair Ball, Bling Ball, Andyland) as a host committee member, and have been serving a two-year term with the GenWex Advisory Council, which helps throw the best party/fund-raiser of the year: Off the Grid. It has been very fulfilling. Over the last two-plus decades, I’ve also been a member of the Wex student advisory group and a docent (I had 60 people show up for my tour on the last day of Julie Taymor: Playing with Fire—yikes!) and taken advantage of other fun, ad hoc opportunities. As a student working for Don Harris, then the dean of the College of the Arts, I assisted the search committee that selected Sherri Geldin as the center’s director. I picked up candidates at the airport and gave them an impromptu tour of the city. It was a lot of fun, and I got to meet and work with many great people.
What other Wex memories stand out? There are so many moments to savor. I loved Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century (1999)—an exhibition that filled the center with outsider artists. Philip Glass's Hydrogen Jukebox (1991). Concerts by Kronos Quartet. Meeting Laurie Anderson backstage in the green room. Watching Maya Lin install Groundswell (1993)—the first time. Seeing Todd Haynes’s Safe (1995). The Andy Warhol (2008–9) and Annie Leibovitz (2012) exhibitions. And I could go on.
What do you think the Wex brings or adds to the city? I can’t imagine Columbus or Ohio State without the Wexner Center. It’s a point of pride and one of the must-see places when friends visit. It has brought cultural cachet to Columbus and matured right along with the city and university.
What would you say to someone who’s thinking about getting involved? Check out this website. Read the calendar. Most importantly: visit and support the Wex by becoming a member. There are so many benefits to doing so. You’ll never know what it’s really like until you see, hear, and fully experience the building, the people, and the treasures within.