← View All Articles

Submitted material

Columbia honors remarkable women with new statue

Unveiled today across from the State House

[caption id="attachment_47306" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Click image to enlarge.[/caption]

At a morning press conference at the northwest corner of Main and Gervais Streets today, Columbia thought leaders and Mayor Steve Benjamin spoke at the official “unveiling” of Architecture of Strength, a brand new monument celebrating the historical accomplishments of women in Columbia.

[caption id="attachment_47308" align="alignright" width="204"] Click image to enlarge.[/caption] Designed to inspire inclusion and honor remarkable women, Architecture of Strength will be a permanent monument to celebrate and honor women in Columbia and is an initiative of Columbia City of Women. The position of the monument confronts the lack of women’s representation in the public sphere and speaks truth to power at the physical intersection of the major power in our community: commerce (Main Street) and government (Gervais Street), across from the State House. Architecture of Strength will inspire the community to learn more about and celebrate the historical contributions women have made to our city, to inspire a more hopeful and inclusive vision of our future. “Women deserve to be seen and heard in this city,” said Ann Warner, executive director of WREN (Women’s Rights Empowerment Network), who spoke at the press conference. “This is a lasting monument to women from the past and present who pushed boundaries, stood up for others, and made Columbia a better place.” Architecture of Strength, by Deedee Morrison, is made of 316 polished stainless steel pipes that are laser-cut and welded to create the sculpture. It is also illuminated for night-time viewing in its prominent location. The form begins with the foundation, a circular pillar of strength. The layering of the lives in meaning and the contributions of these women to Columbia, create the form. The sculpture is a form made up of many parts, the parts of the female that are invaluable in every community. Family, vision, courage, strength, integrity, honor, hope, resilience, intelligence, compassion, steadfastness, determination and drive hold our community together. The faceless, nameless nature of this art represents the idea that it takes all kinds of women, all shapes, all sizes, and beliefs, to build a community. The monument’s front faces the South Carolina State House as a direct statement that though there are a wealth of monuments on the State House grounds, and many of them controversial, none of them celebrate women in any meaningful way. “As one of the most traveled intersections in South Carolina’s capital city, this monument is a daily reminder of women’s strength, perseverance and power,” said Robin Waites, executive director of Historic Columbia, who also spoke at the press conference. Historic Columbia, WREN, and Columbia City of Women steering committee thank former First Lady Rachel Hodges for her vision of Columbia City of Women, Central Carolina Community Foundation with support from the Knight Foundation, and Beth Richardson for fundraising support. Additionally, Dr. Mary Baskin-Waters and Mr. Samuel Waters, Jerry Davis in honor of Judy Davis, Sue Doran and Dr. Lilly and Mr. Bruce Filler invested in the creation of Architecture of Strength. One Columbia and the City of Columbia also provided support for this monument, as did Holder Properties and Hood Construction.

Artist's statement

Architecture of Strength sets a new tone to spark curiosity and awareness of our collective history, simultaneously encouraging bold acts of belonging and inclusion of the underrepresented, marginalized and segregated members of our society. How we choose to honor and remember the past, will always direct the pathway into our future. This is the moment of embarkation for Architecture of Strength She is to honor the original City of Women honorees, but she provides inclusion for all. From this fixed luminous point, we incorporate a broader, more encompassing view of our history and move into a new dimension of thought. One of wholeness and unity and fostering a broader expression of justice and equality. Architecture of Strength gracefully stands,17 feet tall on a circular foundation.  What was once many pieces of stainless steel pipe in varying sizes, is now welded back together, her strength being created from the sum of parts. As I created her I reflected on the many and the nameless who have come before us and shown the way through strength and conviction. I have deep gratitude to the City of Women and Columbia to have been a part of this public art journey with you. Deedee Morrison Architecture of Strength 2021 Columbia, S.C.

Jason Rapp

Koger Center’s art competition evolves in Year Two

The Project: A 2020 Call for Art

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: June 30, 2021

The Koger Center is delighted to continue our support of South Carolina artists through The Project: A 2021 Call for Art.

The Project: A 2021 Call for Art is the Koger Center’s annual artistic competition that supports the work of South Carolina visual artists. Each year, one chosen artist will receive a $500 stipend, gallery space, and staff support resulting in a free public display in the Upstairs Gallery of the Koger Center. Submissions for this year’s project will be accepted through June 30, 2021.

Requirements

  • Artist must be over 18 years old
  • Submissions must be your own work
  • Must have been created in the past 2 years
  • Artists cannot submit any art that has previously been submitted to the Koger Center’s 1593 Project
  • Previous winners of the 1593 Project may not submit artwork for up to 5 years

Submission Form

https://forms.gle/Mr35hfNNYQA1gzKZ9 Please submit your artwork to the link above. If you have any issues submitting your work or questions about the form, please call 803.777.7500 or email KogerCenter@sc.edu.

History of The Project

The Project began as The 1593 Project: A Call for Art from the Koger Center during the national lockdowns due to COVID-19 in 2020. Inspired by the theatre closures that London faced during the bubonic plague in the year 1593, the Koger Center’s call for art was created to support artists as they endured the devastating effect of the COVID-19 shutdowns. In 2020, we encouraged submissions from South Carolina visual artists and received a diverse array of pieces reflective of the state’s vibrant arts and cultural talent from over 55 entrants.

Submitted material

Columbia City Ballet posts three job openings

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Thursday, July 1, 2021


Columbia City Ballet, located at 1545 Main Street, Columbia, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit performing arts organization presenting productions throughout South Carolina and the United States.

Founded in 1961, Columbia City Ballet is presently celebrating its 60th anniversary year of continuous performance seasons. A fully professional ballet company, Columbia City Ballet presents 4 to 5 mainstage full-length ballets each performance season and 2 productions from our acclaimed Educational Outreach and Engagement Series, along with maintaining an extensive touring calendar. (Source: Columbia City Ballet) The company is a frequent grantee of the South Carolina Arts Commission. Unrelated to that, it is submitting postings for three open positions to The Hub. The applications for each are identical and appear at the end of this post. - Ed.

Marketing Director

The Marketing Director has responsibility for media and advertising purchases and trade negotiations, in addition to advertising production including designing ads for print, digital & static billboards, posters and other marketing pieces. This Director also coordinates special events and fundraising activities such as the annual gala as well as producing printed material such as brochures, dancebills, and other publications related to the organization. The position is a full-time, salaried position.

Experience/qualifications

  • Previous marketing and graphic design experience preferred.
  • Outstanding written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Proficiency in graphic design, using software packages including InDesign, Canva, etc.
  • Proficiency with Excel, Word, and other common office software.
  • Basic accounting skills.
  • Exceptional organizational skills and detail oriented
  • Ability to work collaboratively with community partners, the board of directors and staff.

Company Manager

The Company Manager has responsibility for the day-to-day operational functions and supervision of the ballet's company of professional dancers. Duties include:
  • Publishing and maintaining rehearsal schedules.
  • Making travel and meal arrangements for tours.
  • Managing the backstage area at all performances.
  • Being present anytime the company or an ensemble of the company perform in any venue or context.
  • Assisting the executive & artistic director in maintaining the master performance calendar.
  • Acting as liaison between the company and the executive & artistic director.
  • Working closely with the Ballet Mistress and Company Instructors.
  • Coordination of dancer auditions and children’s auditions for child-appropriate roles in selected productions.
  • Coordinating rehearsals, supervision and safety of children appearing as “guests” in Columbia City Ballet productions.
  • Issuing contracts for guest artists, venues, and fee for service clients in collaboration with the executive and finance directors.

Experience/qualifications

  • Previous supervisory experience strongly preferred.
  • Outstanding written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Proficiency with Excel, Word, and other common office software.
  • Basic accounting skills.
  • Exceptional organizational skills and strongly detail oriented
  • Ability to work collaboratively with community partners, the board of directors and staff.

Membership Director & Educational Outreach Coordinator

The Membership Director & Educational Outreach Coordinator has responsibility for servicing our Season Members by selling membership packages, fulfilling ticket concierge services including pulling tickets, mailing tickets, making ticket exchanges, etc. In addition, this director operates a VIP Will Call Station at the Koger Center for the Performing Arts for each performance and at selected other venues as required. The membership director also initiates and maintains online ticketing services required for designated venues. This director communicates directly with the membership regarding special events, and other member benefits. Educational Outreach Coordinator duties include direct mail campaigns to promote the Educational Outreach & Engagement Series, registration of participants and collection of associated fees. The coordinator is required to be physically present at all Educational Outreach & Engagement Series productions in every venue.

Experience/qualifications

  • Previous customer service experience strongly preferred.
  • Outstanding written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Proficiency with Excel, Word, and other common office software.
  • Basic accounting skills.
  • Exceptional organizational skills.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with members, community partners, the board of directors and staff.

Procedure for applying (all positions listed above)

Qualified candidates should e-mail a current resume, together with a cover letter indicating interest in the position and salary requirements, to both Executive Director William Starrett at WStarrett@ColumbiaCityBallet.Com and Finance Director Robert DeBerry at RDeBerry@ColumbiaCityBallet.Com. Deadline for applications is July 1, 2021. For more information about Columbia City Ballet, visit www.ColumbiaCityBallet.Com

Submitted material

Richland Library exhibition series to highlight BIPOC artists

Pop-up outdoor shows to start this spring

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Thursday, April 15, 2021

Richland Library is collaborating with local visual artist Jeff Rivers to expand the social and economic participation of underserved artists and communities.

We're currently seeking submissions for an outdoor exhibition series in May and June 2021. The Pop-Up Art Shows intend to highlight the work of local BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) artists and their unique personal ties to seven of our library locations, including:
  • Edgewood (2101 Oak St.)
  • Main (1431 Assembly St.)
  • North Main (5306 North Main St.)
  • Northeast (7490 Parklane Rd.)
  • Sandhills (763 Fashion Dr.)
  • Southeast (7421 Garners Ferry Rd.)
  • St. Andrews (2916 Broad River Rd.)
We're looking for work that speaks to each neighborhood's roots, culture and citizenry. Submissions should contain the artist's head shot and bio, at least five examples of the artist's work, the artist's preferred location, and a brief summary of the artist's connection to the community. To read the official call for artists or to apply, visit www.richlandlibrary.com/services/exhibit-richland-library. The deadline is Thursday, April 15. For questions, please contact Emily Stoll at 803.587.3637 or estoll@richlandlibrary.com.

About Richland Library

Awarded the National Medal in 2017 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Richland Library is a vibrant, contemporary organization that provides resources and information that advance the Midlands. Offering state-of-the-art technology, a variety of literary and cultural programs and 13 bustling facilities located throughout the county, Richland Library provides a truly customizable, modern library experience for residents and visitors alike.

Jason Rapp

Third Doko Film Fest announced

All-virtual format planned in 2021


In the second year of the Doko Film Fest, a total of 143 entrees came from across the country, as well as from Canada, India, China and the United Kingdom. This year, no matter where you are, you can join in.

“Whether you’re in Blythewood or Dhaka, Bangladesh, we’ll all be here together,” says festival creator Ray Smith. That’s because in its third year the whole event will happen virtually, streaming live over two days: March 20 and 21. There will be plenty to see and interact over. So far, submissions have been received from across the U.S., India, Canada, Oman, Iran, Poland and Mexico. The film competition for students aged 14 to 18 gives young filmmakers the chance to show their films to a live audience, attend master classes led by award-winning professional filmmakers, and have their work judged by industry professionals. It’s been held for the last two years in Blythewood, a small town north of Columbia. At the third festival, attendees will be able to view the selected films, attend virtual master classes and listen to a live panel of professional filmmakers providing feedback on each day’s films. All will all take place from 1-4:30 p.m. on March 20 and 21. New in 2021: It will all be free to attend. Tickets are available here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2021-doko-virtual-film-fest-tickets-128798211919 The festival is entirely volunteer-based, so donations are requested. Any received go toward the continued mission of supporting the arts and next year’s Doko Film Fest. The climax of the event will continue to be the awards recognizing the best in each category, as judged and selected by a panel of film professionals. Those categories are:
  • short story,
  • documentary,
  • visual effects,
  • animation,
  • music video,
  • comedy,
  • and pocket video (which means a film that is made and edited completely on a smartphone).

About Doko Film Fest

Doko Film Fest gives high school-aged filmmakers from across the USA and beyond a showcase for their visual storytelling. Its mission is to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence of young filmmakers and provide them an outlet for their creativity. Doko Film Fest was created by business educator and documentary filmmaker Ray Smith. To learn more about participating, attending or becoming a sponsor—and to view some of last year’s winning films and for further information—please visit https://DokoFilmFest.com.

Submitted material

Columbia dancers awarded NEA grant

Wideman Davis Dance of Columbia was approved for a $20,000 grant Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the dance company's immersive and interactive Migratuse Ataraxia.

This project will fund a three-month residency, followed by four public performative installations. Wideman Davis Dance will use the residency and performative installations to develop and test a community-oriented residency curriculum that introduces, integrates, and expands the themes of “Migratuse Ataraxia.” Wideman Davis Dance’s project is among 1,073 projects across America totaling nearly $25 million that were selected during this first round of fiscal year 2021 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects funding category. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support this project from Wideman Davis Dance,” said Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “Wideman Davis Dance is among the arts organizations across the country that have demonstrated creativity, excellence, and resilience during this very challenging year.” “The National Endowment for the Arts Grant not only supports a performative experience of “Migrartuse Ataraxia, but also residency activities and facilitated sessions with community groups, including students from Allen University and Benedict College and seniors from the Columbia Housing Authority residential programs. We are excited to receive NEA support to assist us in our art making and our efforts to engage the Columbia, SC community,” co-director, Tanya Wideman-Davis and Thaddeus Davis said in a statement.

Project Description

The original performance, which was workshopped at Columbia’s Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens in April of 2019, centered on the humanity of enslaved Africans in antebellum homes despite the oppressive bondage under which they lived. In 2021 Migratuse Ataraxia intentionally shifts, exploring the journey from spaces of enslavement to those of Black liberation and empowerment through a mobile performative intervention that moves from the antebellum Hampton-Preston site to the former home of Modjeska Monteith Simkins, South Carolina’s most notable civil and human rights activist. Participants will travel a route where they will encounter the artists’ responses to historic structures through large scale projections, sonic environments, and live performances that speak to Black futurity. By focusing the energy on this temporal and physical migration, WDD reclaims the representation of Black bodies and narratives, creating new visual, emotional, and intellectual entry points in an immersive, interactive setting. In addition, the spatial shift will allow the artists to redirect the focus from the interior architecture of an antebellum site to an expanded exterior magnification of the physical labor of Black bodies – centering these performative practices on a celebration of radical Black female space. For more information on projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

Submitted material

Curator job posted by Columbia Museum of Art

The Columbia Museum of Art (CMA) is seeking a collaborative curatorial leader with a strong academic background, a vision for embracing new cultural trends and technologies, and who understands and embraces programming for diverse audiences.

The curator will work with CMA staff and leadership to help define and implement fresh presentations of our permanent collection, and create exhibitions and programming that inform, engage, and expand our audiences to promote the CMA as a leading fine arts museum. The curator will share management of the curatorial department including, but not limited to, oversight of staff roles and responsibilities, the museum’s annual exhibition program and collection research, writing, presentations, acquisitions, patron relations, and networking. Executive Director Della Watkins leads the museum's commitment to be welcoming, community-centered, vibrant, and inspiring. In addition to these values, the CMA staff and board eagerly embrace diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion to contribute to an open environment for the communities we serve. The person selected to fill this curatorial position will have demonstrated the capacity to promote these attributes.

Scope of Work

  • Collaboratively conceptualize and research an exhibition and collection strategy that supports the museum’s vision, mission, and core values for discussion with the executive director, director of art and learning, and presentation to the board of trustees
  • Encourage and facilitate a culture of collaboration by serving as a Lead Manager across programmatic and supporting departments to ensure effective communication, efficiencies, and accountability
  • Co-Lead the annual planning of the exhibition schedule, including those exhibitions initiated by the CMA, traveling exhibitions, artist installations, private collections, and loans
  • Initiate and manage relations with assigned institutions, collectors, and/or businesses in developing exhibition loan contracts, check lists, and schedules.
  • In concert with a curatorial team of six team members, oversee coordination of exhibition installation design, layout, graphics and shipping/handling.
  • Show commitment to the positive development of curatorial team through leadership, management, and supervisory duties, including but not limited to, annual performance appraisals and professional development.
  • Review exhibition proposals and ideas for artistic merit, mission fit, budget and scheduling factors.
  • Actively solicit, cultivate, and steward relations with colleagues, donors, members, lenders, staff and guests.
  • Champion the museum as a welcoming place by serving as a positive museum representative through participation with programs, development, and publicity marketing and networking activities.
  • Develop, maintain, and strengthen relationships with members of the broader arts community including artists, curators, educators, writers, journalists, collectors, and cultural institutions both nationally and internationally
  • Provide expertise and information for collections committee meetings, collections management policy and strategy, assigned grant applications, and general fundraising activities as requested.
  • In collaboration with Development staff, help identify potential donors, collectors, and sponsors for the collection and designated exhibitions.
  • Ensure proper dissemination of exhibition schedule, visual materials, content and text for exhibition promotion, and related information to CMA departments.
  • Responsible as assigned for coordination, development, and monitoring of the curatorial departmental annual budget.
  • Serve on curatorial and cross-departmental special project teams as assigned to foster collaboration and communication.

Requirements

  • MA in art history or related field, PhD preferred
  • 8+ years of increasingly applied curatorial experience
  • 5+ years of growth in management-level museum experience
  • Demonstrated excellence in conceiving and organizing successful exhibitions for new audiences
  • Demonstrated level of knowledge in the museum’s collecting areas including American, Asian, European and Contemporary art
  • Proven ability to foster and encourage innovation around new models for partnering (both internally and externally), and for exploring new creative relationships with artists central to the CMA mission
  • Demonstrated experience developing, communicating, and managing department projects, staff, budgets, and goals
  • Effectively navigate through the complexity of key issues, challenges, and opportunities to affect actions; guide staff to proactively build and align stakeholders, capabilities, and resources to achieve institutional objectives
  • Proactively model the importance of timely collegial interaction, personal accountability, maturity, professionalism, communication, and exchange across disciplinary boundaries
  • Demonstrated experience in donor cultivation and stewardship
  • Self-directed and motivated work with curatorial team to ensure care and conservation of works
  • Mastery of English language and the ability to plan and deliver oral and written communications that make an impact, persuade, and inform their intended audiences
  • Knowledge of research tools and methodologies
  • Monthly evening and weekend time and occasional travel
  • This position requires a criminal background check
  • A considerable amount of time sitting, standing, walking, climbing stairs, and reaching
  • Experience handling objects and tools
  • The ability to lift up to 30 pounds

Contact

The Columbia Museum of Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to diversity, accessibility, equity, and inclusion. Confidential inquiries, applications, and recommendations are welcome. Please email cover letter and resume to Mrs. Jeanna Dixon-McCray, at JDixon-McCray@columbiamuseum.org with “Curator” in the subject line. Salary range is commensurate with experience.

About the Museum

The CMA is the largest international art museum in the state of South Carolina, located a short distance to Charleston, SC, Greenville, SC and Charlotte, NC. Columbia is the state capital and the second largest city in the state. In the heart of South Carolina at the convergence of three rivers, the area is home to thriving colleges and universities, award-winning hospital systems, and diverse and charming neighborhoods to suit any lifestyle. Several business and retail districts with outdoor cafés, coffee shops, art galleries, and shops present year-round opportunities for entertainment, socializing, and enjoying the outdoors. The city includes historic architecture of a bygone era while high-tech start-ups and artist venues make up Columbia’s diverse downtown areas. Established in 1950, the CMA is exceptional in its impact, attracting both national and state recognition, and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and creative educational programs. The museum now welcomes more than 135,000 visitors annually—including more than 28,000 children—and acts as a catalyst for community creativity and serves as the cultural anchor of Columbia’s downtown district. In order to serve even more audiences, the CMA recently underwent a renovation of the 1998 facility, including new collection galleries with a progressive thematic layout, new studios for art-making and cutting-edge program and event spaces. The newly renovated Boyd Plaza adjacent to the CMA provides an attractive outdoor art and gathering space downtown. The CMA is committed to the concept of an inclusive and participatory 21st century museum, where art is meant to be experienced, not just seen. The CMA is a collecting institution and maintains a collection numbering approximately 7,000 works of art. The CMA’s collecting emphasis is on American, Asian, European, and Contemporary art. The collection includes artists as aesthetically and stylistically varied as Sandro Botticelli, Renee Cox, Charles and Ray Eames, Sam Gilliam, Robert Henri, Claude Monet, Tintoretto, Pat Steir, and Andy Warhol. The governing Collections Committee has an eye to the future and embraces accessions of remarkable artworks that foster ideas through visual conversations. The CMA encompasses 124,000 square feet of permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, studios, public spaces, and storage. The museum actively mounts approximately four special exhibitions per year, with a dynamic menu of related public and educational programs. The CMA operates with an approximately $4.5 million budget and a staff of 29 full-time and 27 part-time employees (including security and special event staff).

Jason Rapp

New residents introduced by Richland Library

Artist, entrepreneur selected for short-term residencies


With the New Year underway, Richland Library is thrilled to announce two new additions to the residency program: Tammaka Staley as the artist-in-residence (AiR) and Kevin Williams as the entrepreneur-in-residence (EiR).

[caption id="attachment_46248" align="aligncenter" width="584"]Headshots of Tammaka Staley (left) and Kevin Williams (right) Tammaka Staley (left) and Kevin Williams (right)[/caption] A native of Columbia, Staley runs a performance art and speaking brand called Talks with Tammaka, and she’s the founder and executive director of Youth Affirming Sex Education (YASÉ), LLC. She hosts writing workshops to teach youth and young adults how to construct poems and improve stage performance. Staley also facilitates dialogues in public and online spaces about various gender, racial and sexuality inequities. Founder of Cognizant Leadership, LLC and owner of Escapology Columbia, Williams combines visual learning tools, escape room experiences, and team retrospectives to help individuals and groups learn more about themselves and create lasting change. He has more than 25 years of business experience in a variety of technical and leadership positions both nationally and abroad. During their residencies, Staley and Williams plan to:
  • serve as liaisons to the artistic and entrepreneurial communities
  • work with our staff to offer online programs, which are free and open to the public
  • host online office hours or virtual appointments to interact with local residents and answer their questions
  • curate digital content to highlight and share their expertise
Williams’ residency extends through May 2021, and Staley’s residency continues through June 2021. The library’s residency program aims to connect the community directly with local working artists, entrepreneurs and writers. Learn more here: https://www.richlandlibrary.com/residents.

About Richland Library

Awarded the National Medal in 2017 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Richland Library is a vibrant, contemporary organization that provides resources and information that advance the Midlands. Offering state-of-the-art technology, a variety of literary and cultural programs and 13 bustling facilities located throughout the county, Richland Library provides a truly customizable, modern library experience for residents and visitors alike.

Submitted material

Richland Library looks for first 2021 Artist-in-Residence

Residency runs January through May

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Thursday, December 31, 2020

In an effort to showcase the talents of area artists and provide a direct connection to the local arts community, Richland Library is currently accepting applications for our next artist-in-residence.

The focus of this residency, which runs January-May 2021, is to address the needs of local professional and emerging artists who are impacted by racial, gender, and socio-economic inequities and biases. Responsibilities consist of:
  • serving as a liaison between the library and area artists
  • curating digital content, such as art-making tutorials and studio tours
  • working closely with our arts librarian to offer online programs, which are free and open to the public
  • hosting online office hours to share expertise with others and answer questions
The residency also includes an online gallery exhibit of the artist's work on the library's website as well as a monthly stipend. We encourage artists spanning all mediums (traditional/fine art; sculpture; performance; filmmaking; musical; etc.) to apply. The deadline is Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020. Applications and additional information are available here: https://www.richlandlibrary.com/services/become-artist-residence Initially developed in September 2016, the concept behind Richland Library's artist-in-residence is to establish partnerships with local, working artists and to provide creative and educational opportunities to local residents in a way that supports cultural and artistic exchange. For questions, please contact Emily Stoll at 803.587.3637 or email estoll@richlandlibrary.com.
Awarded the National Medal in 2017 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Richland Library is a vibrant, contemporary organization that provides resources and information that advance the Midlands. Offering state-of-the-art technology, a variety of literary and cultural programs and 13 bustling facilities located throughout the county, Richland Library provides a truly customizable, modern library experience for residents and visitors alike.

Jason Rapp

Midlands music school expands virtual services, offers scholarships

Freeway Music School serves Columbia area


In response to the pandemic, Columbia's Freeway Music launched new virtual and socially distanced technique lessons, showcases, recitals, studio time and music videos, along with new scholarships, positively impacting hundreds of students across the region.

A small business, Freeway Music is rooted in face-to-face interaction and in-person instruction. Once the COVID-19 pandemic limited its ability to open studio doors at its five Columbia locations, the music school brought instruction and opportunities into the homes of its students by incorporating virtual lessons, showcases and recitals in different formats. It has also introduced new technology in order to make lessons even more productive.
“Music is a vehicle for creativity, healing, emotional expression, and so much more,” says Don Russo, founder and chief operating officer of Freeway Music. “It offers hope and is vital during these isolating times. We are committed to showing our music family that they don’t need to physically be together to play together.”
Founded in 2011, Freeway Music offers student-centered music education that also benefits the broader community, making a positive impact through lessons for all skill levels and ages, as well as music therapy, theater, showcases, recitals, and partnerships with various charities, organizations and community events. Freeway Music has locations in downtown Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Northeast and within Sims Music. In addition to its virtual services, Freeway Music is now offering in-person, socially distanced lessons and free studio time as a new experience for its students, enabling them to take home their own recordings. The school is also using technology like Sound Slice, which allows students to see their music notated online, control tempo, and loop sections with which they may be struggling. This summer, Freeway Music students held outdoor, socially distanced concerts at Steel Hands Brewing and Market on Main in downtown Columbia, giving kids the opportunity to perform safely in public with adult supervision. “Our goal is to create opportunities for our students to continue to learn and showcase their work during this hectic time,” says Tony Lee, co-founder of Freeway Music. “Music and creative expression should be accessible to everyone, which is why we’re creating safe and innovative solutions to meet the needs of every family.”
As the pandemic began to alter lives for businesses and families alike, Freeway Music recognized a need within its own music community–families who no longer can afford lessons and instructors who have lost their jobs. As a result, Freeway Music created “Jam for the Fam,” a virtual concert benefiting those in need. Local musicians volunteered to perform, and the event provided 10 scholarships for students to continue lessons and benefitted four instructors who have recently experienced significant loss. “Freeway Music is so much more than a music school — they are our extended family,” says one scholarship recipient’s mother. “When COVID-19 hit and my family was down to one income, they stepped in to help my daughter continue her lessons with a special scholarship. With their help, my girls could continue doing what they love, making music.” Freeway Music believes that music transcends barriers of all kinds and unites people from all walks of life, and the school uses its resources to uplift and encourage the entire Columbia region and beyond. Its philanthropic support of local organizations and community outreach include the following:
  • Co-partnership of the Freeway Music Festival, which unites the music community and celebrates local and regional talent. The 2019 event raised money to help build a new greenhouse at City Roots Organic Farm.
  • Fundraising and performances for many local causes and charities including The Conner Foundation, Palmetto Children’s Hospital, Harvest Hope Food Bank, The Women’s Shelter, Pets Inc., Pawmetto Lifeline, Trustus Theatre, Girls Rock Columbia, the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation, and the South Carolina Philharmonic, among others.
  • Lesson donations and performances for local schools including Bethel-Hanberry Elementary, St. John Newman, Heathwood Hall, the University of South Carolina, Columbia College, Blythewood  and Irmo high schools, St. Andrews Middle School and many more.
  • Volunteerism and support of local events including the Festival of Trees, Rooftop Rhythms, St. Pat's in Five Points Parade, Palmetto Christmas, the MG&C Long Run, the Heart and Sole Run, Get in the Pink Race, Vista Lights, First Thursdays on Main, and more.
  • Music scholarships including the Friends Grant in partnership with The Christopher Conner Foundation to help students that can’t afford music lessons, and the Davis Cripe Scholarship, which was created in loving memory of Freeway Music Irmo/Ballentine drum student Davis Cripe.

About Freeway Music

Founded in 2011, Freeway Music is the Columbia region’s premier music school with five locations in downtown Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, the Northeast, and within Sims Music. Freeway Music offers private lessons for all skill levels, styles, and ages on a wide range of instruments including piano, voice, ukulele, drums, bass, strings, woodwinds, horns, mandolin, banjo, and more. Freeway Music’s mission is to equip students in music and life to make a positive impact in their community. Freeway Music is the exclusive music school partner of Sims Music, a locally owned and nationally recognized music store. For more information visit www.freewaymusic.net or call 844.537.7661.
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels