Congaree Vista District to celebrate 30 years of Artista Vista
S.C. Cultural District's signature event returns April 22-24
This month marks 30 years of Artista Vista, the weekend-long celebration of the Congaree Vista district’s vibrant art scene, happening April 22-24.
The event continues to highlight incredible artists in the Midlands, and encourages locals and newcomers alike to explore studio spaces, meet the makers and even take home their own handmade pieces. A full schedule of the weekend’s events can be found on The Vista’s website
“It’s an experience,” says Clark Ellefson
, principal designer and owner of Lewis+Clark, and one of the original organizers of Artista Vista. “It’s a gathering of people from all walks of life who can come together to enjoy and appreciate art and support their community.”
Artista Vista features local artists and their spaces
, and brings makers beyond the Midlands
to the district for the weekend. Artists and gallery owners will be on-site to chat with visitors, giving attendees insight into their work.
Events in store for the 30th annual Artista Vista include:
- Art Gallery Crawl (April 22, 6-9 p.m.): This signature Artista Vista event is a chance for guests to explore The Vista’s one-of-a-kind galleries and pop-up galleries, as well as the district’s restaurants, bars and shops. Studios involved in the gallery crawl include the following:
- If ART Gallery (1223 Lincoln St.)
- Lewis + Clark (1001 Huger St.)
- One Eared Cow Glass (1001 Huger St.)
- Stormwater Studios (413 Pendleton St.)
- Studio Cellar (912 Lady St.)
- The Columbia Music Festival Association ArtSpace, presenting “Cody Unkart: New Works” (914 Pulaski St.)
- Pop-up galleries:
- 911 Lady St.
- Experience Columbia SC Visitor Center (1120 Lincoln St.)
- River Runner Outdoor Center (905 Gervais St.)
- Light and Lantern Parade (April 22, 8-9 p.m.): Another signature event — the Light and Lantern Parade — will kick off the weekend of festivities, and is back in-person for 2022. Guests are welcome to watch or join the parade at the entrance of the Lincoln Street tunnel. A crafts table will be on-site for those who want to create their own lantern for the event.
- Art Day (April 23, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.): The celebration continues on Saturday with Art Day at the Stormwater Studios campus on Huger Street. Guests are invited to explore the campus, watch art demonstrations, shop for handmade pieces and enjoy food, live entertainment on-site and an artist talk from international, award-winning artist Nora Valdez.
- Crafty Feast (April 24, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.): The final day of Artista Vista brings Crafty Feast, the juried indie craft fair showcasing 50+ makers from across the Southeast. This open-air craft fair showcases funky, one-of-a-kind offerings and unique gifts available for purchase. This year’s vendor list brings handmade goods ranging from jewelry, apparel and bags to home décor, candles, ceramics and more. The 2022 makers’ list will be posted on the Crafty Feast website.
- Live on Lincoln (April 24, 5-8 p.m.): Artista Vista concludes on Sunday evening with the Koger Center’s Live on Lincoln. This outdoor, ticketed event presented by LS3P will bring live performances by some of the Midlands finest arts and cultural organizations to the historic cobblestones of Lincoln Street, alongside drinks and dinner served tableside by Blue Marlin. More information and tickets can be found here.
“We’re really excited for this year’s Artista Vista,” says Abby Anderson
, executive director of the Vista Guild. “For the last 30 years, this event has been a major part of our community, and we want to keep up that tradition and continue to solidify this area as a prominent arts district.”
Artista Vista is produced by the Vista Guild and is made possible through support from sponsors including: the City of Columbia, Experience Columbia SC, Columbia Craft, Steel Hands Brewing, KW Beverage, and Grace Outdoor.
For more information about Artista Vista, visit https://www.vistacolumbia.com/special-events/artista-vista
About the Vista Guild
The Vista Guild is a nonprofit, membership-based organization charged with seeing that Columbia’s Vista, which is an official South Carolina Cultural District
, is a vibrant symbol of our progressive Southern city. Led by a 14-member Board of Directors representing a variety of business sectors, the Congaree Vista Guild and its members are dedicated to making the Vista the place of choice for shopping, dining and entertainment, a national and international tourist destination, and a high-energy urban environment in which to live and grow businesses.
For more information about the Vista Guild, please call (803) 269-5946 or visit www.vistacolumbia.com. Follow the Vista Guild on Twitter, Instagram and on Facebook @VistaColumbiaSC and #ArtistaVista.
Four South Carolina Cultural Districts earn recertification
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The first four South Carolina Cultural Districts designated in 2015 after the program’s launch earned recertification based on FY2020 data gathered by the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC).
The districts recertified are: the Congaree Vista
, Rock Hill
and Spartanburg Downtown
, all designated in 2015. Their recertification is effective July 1, 2022 and will be run through FY2027.
SCAC Executive Director David Platts
approved recertification at the recommendation of reviewer Jason Rapp
, the South Carolina Cultural Districts program
director. The SCAC reviews annual reports and action plans submitted by the cultural districts and, every five years after designation, is to evaluate the districts eligible for recertification. Though delayed because of the pandemic, FY2020 data was collected and reviewed for these original four districts.
“The South Carolina Arts Commission commends these districts for many things, but top-of-mind right now is the way they didn’t allow the upside-down pandemic world of lockdowns and restrictions to take their focus off arts and creativity. The reports showed each district managed to find its way in the face of major challenges. They are poised for big things as the world returns to normal, and we congratulate them on their significant achievements,” Platts said.
Legislation ratified by the South Carolina General Assembly in 2014
authorizes the SCAC to grant official state designation to cultural districts. The legislation specifies the following goals of this program:
- attract artists, creative entrepreneurs and cultural enterprises to communities
- encourage economic development
- foster local cultural development
- provide a focal point for celebrating and strengthening local cultural identity
“A district is designated after a rigorous application and review process that determines the extent to which they use arts and creativity to build community and encourage economic growth,” Platts said.
Cultural districts are defined by the SCAC as walkable geographic areas with a concentration of cultural facilities, activities, and assets. They are easily identifiable and serve as centers of cultural, artistic, and economic activity. They frequently have galleries and artist studios, theaters and other live performance venues, public art, museums and arts centers, and arts schools in addition to non-cultural attractions like parks, restaurants and bars, and other commercial activity.
Additional South Carolina Cultural Districts
are designated in Beaufort, Bluffton, Camden, Florence, and Greenwood.
About the South Carolina Arts Commission
The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences.
A state agency created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the SCAC works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in four areas: arts learning, community and traditional arts, artist development, and arts industry. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the SCAC is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources. Visit SouthCarolinaArts.com
or call 803.734.8696, and follow @scartscomm on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for #Arts4SC and #SCartists content.
Tuning Up: Poetry, poet news + Artista Vista news
"Tuning Up" is a morning post series where
The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...
Here's some poetry stuff...
- Don't miss out. Applications to be South Carolina's next poet laureate are CLOSING FRIDAY. (Here's where you can learn more.)
- Nine Cloud Journal is publishing Clarence Carter Boucher's poem, "I AM Tempered Steel." The poem is about overcoming abuse.
And some arts events news to put some wind in our sails. Artista Vista is coming back to the Congaree Vista
in April. "Bigger, more inclusive ... health and public safety a priority..." The Congaree Vista is a South Carolina Cultural District
. There's probably one near you, so see what's going on there and support those local artists, artisans, and merchants and restaurateurs in.
Tuning Up: Blythewood poet laureate, mural SZN, SEPF
"Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...
Surprise poet laureate named in Blythewood.
Perhaps known most for horses and signifying to I-77 southbound travelers that their sojourn through the back country from Rock Hill is transitioning to civilization, Blythewood is embracing arts and culture of late. The first Doko Film Fest was just last weekend, Doko Meadows Park features community concerts through the summer, and Tuesday the town named Sara Corn
its first poet laureate. Never heard of her? It's probably because she's 11. Read more about Sara and her honor from ColaDaily
. Congrats, Sara! Say it with us: #BecauseOfArtsEd
(Post continues below image.)
[caption id="attachment_39999" align="aligncenter" width="600"]
Jeffrey Callaham mural in McCormick. Image by McCormick County Coordinator La Ruchala Murphy/SCAC.[/caption]
Welcome to MURAL SZN.
Murals are time-honored public art displays that community planners and citizenry in search of a rallying point enjoy in equal measure. Two new ones came across The Hub's radar:
"Keys" to the kingdom?
- "Lady Vista" now resides in the Congaree Vista (an official South Carolina Cultural District) courtesy of Columbia artist Cait Maloney.
- Another official South Carolina Cultural District also has a new mural: Spartanburg Downtown checks in with a work by Lucy Boland (w/ an assist from Russel Bannan).
- With help from an SCAC grant, the McCormick Chamber of Commerce, Willington on the Way, and McCormick Arts Council (MACK) debuted a mural (above) celebrating the history of the Willington area. This mural consists of a series of panels created by McCormick artist Jeffery Callaham and included the support and enthusiasm of more than 120 local elementary, middle, and high school students.
Piano lovers take note: tickets are now on sale to all events of the 2019 Southeastern Piano Festival
. Artists known the world over will descend on South Carolina for concerts June 16-22. Artists the world will soon know compete in the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition and give a recital on the 22nd.
Reserve your space at the Statewide Arts Conference!
Guided by the theme "No Time Like The Future," we’re gearing up for an outstanding Statewide Arts Conference September 14 and 15 at the State Museum in Columbia. The conference features two national keynote speakers and top-notch sessions, the opening reception for the new State Art Collection exhibition, Eclipsing 50, AND customized museum experiences created just for our conference. We've also added a pre-conference session that is included in your registration fee of $75 ($65 for two or more people who register at the same time.) Register today to reserve your space.
Conference schedule overview
- Two national keynote speakers - we welcome two highly regarded keynote speakers, Dr. Jane Chu, (left) Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts, and Elizabeth Merritt, (right) Founding Director, Center for the Future of Museums and Vice President for Strategic Foresight, American Alliance of Museums. Merritt will also lead a session during the conference.
- Opening reception for new exhibition - Eclipsing 50: The State Art Collection 1967 - 2017 was created to celebrate the Arts Commission's 50th Anniversary and includes more than 80 pieces from the collection. The exhibition focuses on the spirit of dynamism and leaps of artistic faith of our state’s changing art landscape and spans work from the last five decades. The State Art Collection was established in 1967 as one of the first programs of the South Carolina Arts Commission.
- Pre-conference session - Join the S.C. Arts Commission staff Thursday, Sept. 14 from 12:30 - 4:30 p.m. at the State Library, 1500 Senate St., to find out about the Arts Commission's new and updated programs, opportunities and grants, including The Art of Community:Rural SC, ArtsGrowSC (a new loan program for artists) and our new grant application platform.
- Conference location - we're taking advantage of our unique venue by designing museum experiences for you - our conference attendees. Choose from several options created and presented by museum staff.
- The Vista Cultural District - explore Columbia's only state-designated cultural district during lunch on your own. Numerous restaurants and arts venues are a quick walk from the State Museum.
(Except for Thursday's pre-conference, all sessions -- including registration -- take place at the State Museum.)
Thursday, September 14
Friday, September 15
- 12:30 - 4:30 p.m. Pre-Conference Session (State Library)
- 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. Registration (State Museum)
- 6:00 - 7:15 p.m. Opening keynote address - Elizabeth Merritt
- 7:30 - 9:00 p.m. Opening Reception for the 50th Anniversary State Art Collection - Eclipsing 50
A sample of sessions and speakers
- 8:00 - 9:30 a.m. Registration
- 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Networking & coffee
- 9:00 - 10:30 a.m. Concurrent Sessions, Round One
- 10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Concurrent Sessions, Round Two
- 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. Lunch on your own in The Vista
- 2:15 - 3:30 p.m. Keynote address - Jane Chu
- 3:45 - 5:00 p.m. Museum experiences
- Peering Into the Financial Future
- South Carolina’s Creative Cluster - the Arts and Economic Development
- Transformation: Creating Asset-Based Diversity and Inclusion Strategies
- NASCAR, Improv and Advocacy?
- Building Your Arts Community (for artists)
- Combating Resistance in Your Art Practice (for artists)
- Recycle and Renew: Hands-On Art Making
- Moonshot! Exploring the State Art Collection in Eclipsing 50
- Have Exhibition, Will Travel
- Over the Moon - An Interdisciplinary Approach to Museums
- Planetarium Potpourri
Area hotels are offering special rates for conference attendees.
Find out more and register today!
Thank you to Wells Fargo, our Statewide Arts Conference sponsor.
Vista Studios celebrates 25 years of anchoring arts district
From The State
Article by Erin Shaw; photos by Matt Walsh
[caption id="attachment_23493" align="alignright" width="300"] Laurie McIntosh works on a piece at Vista Studios[/caption]
For 25 years, Vista Studios has been a place for art, where art was talked about, created, and spilled out into the community that grew around – and because of – it.
This month, Vista Studios is celebrating its artists and the vital role they’ve played in revitalizing the Vista.
The thriving arts hub that Columbians know today, which was just designated a state cultural district, would not exist without the early action of pro-arts visionaries – and might not exist in the future without safeguards against commercial encroachment, the artists say.
“Vista Studios really helped establish an arts presence in that area when it was trying to create an identity for itself,” said Harriett Green, director of visual arts for the S.C. Arts Commission.
The story starts in the late 1980s, when a group of artists, arts administrators and city leaders began searching among the defunct warehouses in the Vista for a spot to house affordable artist studios.
Several artists already had trickled into the former industrial neighborhood, but there still wasn’t much going on. Hardly anyone lived there, and you could count the number of restaurants on one hand.
The group first set its sights on the old Confederate Printing Plant – now a Publix – at Huger and Gervais streets. Construction and financial issues prevented that project from moving forward, but eventually, the warehouse behind Molten-Lamar Architects on Lady Street was selected for the studios.
Through a joint partnership of the S.C. Arts Commission, the Columbia Development Corp. and Molten-Lamar Architects, which owns the building, Vista Studios was born.
The opening exhibition of the original 13 studio artists took place in February 1990.
“We used to keep the doors locked all the time. You didn’t want to be here at night at all,” said Laura Spong, a longtime artist at Vista Studios. “The whole area has changed completely.”
Today, there are nearly 30 arts organizations, galleries and performing groups in the Vista, along with 12 arts-oriented festivals a year. The area is also home to more than 80 public pieces of artwork including paintings, sculptures and monuments.
That art couldn’t have been created if artists didn’t have space to work.
“For years, the biggest need artists had was for studio space – affordable studio space,” said Kirkland Smith, an artist at Vista Studios. Smith used to work in a spare bedroom that she converted into a studio. Moving to Vista Studios has given her visibility that she didn’t have working from home, she said.
For artist Michel McNinch, Vista Studios was a place to be inspired by other artists. McNinch came to Vista Studios 10 years ago because she loved the work of fellow artist David Yaghjian.
“I wanted to be around people creating that kind of work. It’s made me a better artist,” she said. “And I think it’s made Columbia a better art town, to have this kind of collaboration around.”
The gallery space is an invaluable addition to the 13 studios, which any artist in the community can rent for a nominal fee. Rather than squeeze their art into a working studio, artists can properly display their work in a well-lit space with enough room for viewers to stand back and observe it.
“We probably have some of the best exhibition space in town besides the museums, and that’s a jewel that people need to know about,” artist Sharon Licata said.
The Vista Studios artists say they’ve done their job helping revitalize the area. Maybe a little too well.
Businesses are attracted to the Vista because it is funky and artsy. Yet the explosive growth of business has raised the property costs so much that artists fear being forced out financially.
“You’ve got to be careful not to kill the goose that laid the golden egg,” artist Laurie McIntosh said.
“Artists are sort of like priests. They’re supposed to bring something to the community … because they’re driven to,” added artist Yaghjian. “They offer insight and inspiration. And when a country or community doesn’t value that, it’s in danger of going all the way to commerce, all the way to business.”
One alternative is to create a new artist colony on Pendleton Street down by the Congaree River, Columbia Development Corp. Executive Director Fred Delk said. Plans already are underway for Stormwater Studios, a space where only artists can own the studios. The development follows artist Clark Ellefson’s move to the Vista’s western fringe several years ago.
“The idea is to create additional activity near the river, next to the future riverfront park,” Delk said.
S.C. Arts Commission director Ken May said he hopes the Vista’s recent designation as an arts district will act as a sort of check on the increasing bar and restaurant scene in the core of the district.
“Part of the reason for doing that is to remind people the roots and focus is still as a cultural and entertainment district. An entity like Vista Studios is very important to the identity of the neighborhood,” he said.
But is it enough?
More safeguards need to be put in place to maintain the Vista’s cultural heritage, said Vista Studios artist Stephen Chesley. “Do that, and we will stand alone 50 years from now. If we don’t do it, we will just disappear.”
Image above: Kirkland Smith displays a piece she made for the Richland County Library at Vista Studios.
Congaree Vista named official South Carolina cultural district
From The State
Article by Erin Shaw; photo by Rob Thompson
The Vista has been named an official South Carolina Cultural District, the Congaree Vista Guild announced Friday.
The S.C. Arts Commission awards the designation to communities that prove a desire to retain an artistic identity and creativity that encourages growth and tourism, according to a press release.
A qualifying district is made up of galleries, live performance venues, artists studios, public art pieces and museums — all things the Vista has.
“The Vista as we know it today is a hub for entertainment and tourism because of the artistic aesthetic and vision that artists and the arts community founded many years ago in this neighborhood,” Vista Guild director Meredith Atkinson said in the release. “We’re proud that responsible growth in the Vista through the years has retained the character of the neighborhood, continued to support the arts and led to this cultural district designation.”
The Vista is the fourth entity to receive a cultural district designation and the first non-city. Previous cultural district designations have been awarded to Spartanburg, Lancaster and Rock Hill.
The Vista Guild will have a special announcement about its designation as a cultural district at Vista Lights, the area’s holiday open house, on Nov. 19.