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Movie Premier: Family White Elephants

April 25 @ 7:00 pm 10:00 pm

Columbus-based artist Mary Jo Bole’s first feature film, Family White Elephants, explores her family’s history in Cleveland through their eccentric family archive.

Artist and director Mary Jo Bole’s documentary explores the two sides of her family tree, a trove of inherited possessions, and a preoccupation with death, all of which have informed her artistic practice. Bole takes a historian’s interest in her family’s storied genealogy, which includes industrial titans like Carnegie and Rockefeller on one side and Eastern European immigrants on the other. She pieces together their stories through a collection of inherited photographs, newspaper articles, and other ephemera as well as interviews with her mother, Ruth, recorded before her passing. 

Preserved and handed down by a lineage of women, Bole’s eccentric family archive documents the Industrial Revolution and offers a familial front row seat to the Gilded Age of Cleveland and its demise. As she reconciles the weight of these excessive family possessions, Bole offers a parallel history of her own artistic practice, which has been influenced by this archive and her upbringing in post-industrial Cleveland. 

Bole was a longtime professor in Ohio State’s Department of Art. She was awarded an Ohio Humanities Film Fellowship through the Wexner Center, and she received post-production support in the Wexner Center’s Film/Video Studio for Family White Elephants.

The Wex is excited to partner with the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA), Drexel Theatre, Gateway Film Center, Grandview Theater & Drafthouse, McConnell Arts Center, and Studio 35 Cinema & Drafthouse in presenting this event. Check out the rest of the Cinema Columbus Film Festival schedule.

You can also read more about some of the film fellows in our Lumen magazine or in this post.

$10 Tickets through Cinema Columbus

Cinema Columbus


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The Wexner Center for the Arts

1871 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43210 United States
(614) 292-3535
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541 West Rich Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215

Office: 614.461.7802