701 CCA announces new staff leadership

701 Center for Contemporary Art announced late last week that Columbia arts scene veteran Caitlin Bright will be its new executive director.

Caitlin Bright. Post & Courier image.

“We are pleased that Caitlin will be joining us as we enter into an exciting season of public programs. Her extensive background in arts management will be an asset as we move forward with an even higher profile for public engagement,” said Lynn Robertson, who heads the 701 CCA board of directors.

Many in Columbia are familiar with Bright’s accomplishments in heading Columbia’s Tapp’s Art Center from 2014 to 2021. Before that she had an extensive career with community based arts spaces in New York.

“I am thrilled to begin this new chapter in my administrative career with 701 Center for Contemporary Art. The two main tenets of this position are growing opportunities for artists and enriching the quality of life for my fellow community members. I am ready to build on the foundations of success constructed by my predecessors, and continue to provide the level of excellence expected,” Bright said.

701 Center for Contemporary Art was founded 15 years ago by a group of dedicated community volunteers interested in providing a space for the creation and presentation of the best arts of today. Their 701 Whaley St. space holds five or six exhibitions each year, an artist residency, and the annual Young Artists Festival for children.

“There are a lot of new and exciting things happening at CCA,” said Ken May, who is chairman of the programming committee. “We just inaugurated the Mill District Public Art Trail through our surrounding neighborhood, and people should look for a new and invigorated Columbia Open Studios event this spring. There is a growing role for the arts in the Midlands and as CCA moves forward with renewed energy, we are definitely an organization to watch.”

Caitlin Bright is following Michaela Pilar Brown, who headed the organization for the last two years. Brown was responsible for guiding the organization through the trying times of COVID and the requirement of switching to distanced programing. A well known South Carolina artist, Brown is leaving to focus on her own work and direct a commercial gallery in the Vista, at the former IFArt Gallery.