Work SpotlightApril 25, 2011

The Jesse Owens 75th Anniversary Gala

The Jesse Owens 75th Anniversary Gala at the Ohio Union celebrated Jesse’s 1936 Olympic victories in Berlin Germany. The Ohio State track and field star was the first Olympic athlete to win four gold medals in a single Olympics. His accomplishments disproved Adolph Hitler’s belief that people of African descent were inferior to all other races.

To bring Jesse’s story to life and support OSU’s fund raising goals of this event, Bartha completely transformed the Ohio Union ballroom into an elegant gala setting. Everything from the linens, to the flowers, to the content for the screen graphics were designed or created by Bartha. Because we had our hand in every facet of this project, everything was extremely cohesive and well thought out.

Innovation was at the forefront of the execution of this project. With a center 85′ wide screen and two outboard 35.5’w scrims, the speaker support graphics and imagery honored the Olympic hero in a larger than life dynamic display. This spectacular use of a massive projection area isn’t typically utilized in a gala setting. By creating this grand immersive environment, Bartha was able to tell Jesse’s story in a way never seen before.

The footage and photography that existed from the 1930s varied in quality. To ensure these photos would look polished when they were projected large scale, photo restoration was incorporated in the narrow timeline. To fully utilize such a massive center screen in a creative and engaging way, the Bartha graphics team created an animation that essentially made Jesse Owens run across the ballroom.

Black and white photographs were tied together with black and white wave forms that mirrored the permanent decorative fixtures in the room. Large grey and white columns carried a very art deco graphic that gave a subtle “throwback” feel. The seamless and heavy utilization of technology successfully created a vintage atmosphere in the room. Technology and vintage are two words that usually don’t go together- but in this case they were made for each other.