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waverider

Arts in Columbia

How would you rank the arts offerings/community in Columbia? (Music, theater, literature, visual art, etc.)  

33 members have voted

  1. 1. How would you rank the arts offerings/community in Columbia? (Music, theater, literature, visual art, etc.)

    • Excellent
      8
    • Good
      15
    • Fair
      7
    • Poor--I feel like I'm in a cultural black hole!
      3


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I'm curious as to what people think of the arts community and opportunities in Columbia. This includes music, visual art, theater, literature, the whole nine. I know that a strong arts community can be a good selling point for a city, and I wonder how Columbia measures up in that area.

This is also close to my heart because I'm a performance poet, working hard to promote poetry readings, open mics, and slam competitions in Columbia. So any ideas on how the arts can be promoted in this area would be great to share as well.

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I have always considered Columbia to have an excellent arts community. There are many museums and a healthy variety of visual and performing arts venues. USC helps that presence alot.

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I'm curious as to what people think of the arts community and opportunities in Columbia.  This includes music, visual art, theater, literature, the whole nine.  I know that a strong arts community can be a good selling point for a city, and I wonder how Columbia measures up in that area.

This is also close to my heart because I'm a performance poet, working hard to promote poetry readings, open mics, and slam competitions in Columbia.  So any ideas on how the arts can be promoted in this area would be great to share as well.

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There are those that say Columbia is an artistic waste land, however, I am forced to disagree with them.

Charleston is by its 'tourist destination' status somewhat more artsy than is Columbia, however, for a non-tourist type city Columbia does better than holding its own. I lived in Philadelphia, PA, area (actually the suburbs in New Jersey) and my experience since I have retired here is that proportionately Columbia is just as strong in the arts as is Philadelphia. One must remember the word proportionally for you must realize that the city of Philadelphia is more populous than is the entire state of South Carolina.

The university here has a good solid arts program that helps Columbia be stronger in the arts than other cities our size. That added to the home grown venues impresses me considerably.

In my opinion, Charlotte is the true arts waste land of this region.

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I have always considered Columbia to have an excellent arts community. There are many museums and a healthy variety of visual and performing arts venues. USC helps that presence alot.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Spartan,

How do I post a comment to this Blog without quoting someone else? I am using the 'reply' button.

Doug L

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One must remember the word proportionally for you must realize that the city of Philadelphia is more populous than is the entire state of South Carolina.

This comment is certainly perplexing to me (1.5m vs. 4.2m), but regardless, Columbia certainly has a very vibrant "arts scene," especially considering the size of the city. There's no shortage of artistic activities to engage in, and USC certainly does enhance the range of choices.

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What works to Columbia's advantage in this case is that it is a college town (home to the state's flagship university) and the state capital.

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One must remember the word proportionally for you must realize that the city of Philadelphia is more populous than is the entire state of South Carolina. 

This comment is certainly perplexing to me (1.5m vs. 4.2m), but regardless, Columbia certainly has a very vibrant "arts scene," especially considering the size of the city. There's no shortage of artistic activities to engage in, and USC certainly does enhance the range of choices.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

He probably meant the Philadelphia Metro

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I think it's fair. There's plenty of cultural diversity and opportunities to check out creative stuff, but the youth-oriented arts scene could use a boost.

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I can say that I've traveled to other similar and larger sized cities and Columbia can hold its own and go above with any of them. I believe there is a poetry seen in Columbia. I think there is a place in the Vista that holds poetry events. When I was living in Greenville I met a girl at a poetry slam from Cola who was telling me about it.

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I can say that I've traveled to other similar and larger sized cities and Columbia can hold its own and go above with any of them. I believe there is a poetry seen in Columbia. I think there is a place in the Vista that holds poetry events. When I was living in Greenville I met a girl at a poetry slam from Cola who was telling me about it.

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Indeed. Hey, waverider... are you aware of/involved in the poetry night at Jammin' Java on Tuesdays? It's supposedly pretty cool.

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Indeed. Hey, waverider... are you aware of/involved in the poetry night at Jammin' Java on Tuesdays? It's supposedly pretty cool.

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I am involved with that--was out there last night. It's called Soul Therapy, and it's a weekly open mic with monthly slam competitions. I'm a member of the 2005 Columbia Slam Team as well (my third time making the team!), which is going to compete at the National Poetry Slam in Albuquerque, NM next month.

It's my affiliation with the poetry scene here that led me to ask the question about how the arts in general are perceived. It's not just about the artistic outlets, it's also about access, promotion, and (unfortunately) funding--especially for some of the more grassroots programs with little to no institutional support that tend to be attractive to younger crowds.

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I can't say anything about the current arts scene in Columbia since I don't know it very well. I'll be moving to town in 2 months and am eager to get to know it. But coming from NY, I'm not expecting the world either. But I can offer some insight from the point of view of artists.

I am in the performing arts myself (will be commuting to NYC every other week), and I know a lot of artists and I know what they want. Especially the last couple of years (after 9/11, AND soaring living costs in NYC, AND less funding available for projects) a lot of artists are leaving the city or at least talking about where to go. A primary concern is cheap living, space to work in, and a creative energy vibe. NY USED to have that as well as proximity to patrons and venues.

I have a few ideas for an artist-in-residency program that might help give Columbia's artistic scene a boost. It's not cheap, but the presence of a strong arts scene can do wonders to a local economy. Somebody recently told me (she didn't know I was in the arts myself) to go live where the artists, the bohemians and the gays live - that those areas always start booming. Real estate values, tourism and local businesses go up.

Right now I'm living in a small town outside of NY that's desperately trying to define itself as the arts town of the area. There are incentives like encouraging artists to live/work in downtown lofts by not having to pay property tax - a big deal up here - and a landlord renting to artists doesn't have to pay tax either.

With all the loft conversions going on in Columbia right now, I think there's a big danger that these great buildings all get carved up into small luxury rabbit holes. There has to be a mix of very affordable, large and small raw space AND both small and large upscale housing - all mixed together.

Gotta go now, but I'll elaborate later on my ideas of how to bring in world class artists on a temporary basis if you are interested.

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I can't say anything about the current arts scene in Columbia since I don't know it very well. I'll be moving to town in 2 months and am eager to get to know it. But coming from NY, I'm not expecting the world either. But I can offer some insight from the point of view of artists.

I am in the performing arts myself (will be commuting to NYC every other week), and I know a lot of artists and I know what they want. Especially the last couple of years (after 9/11, AND soaring living costs in NYC, AND less funding available for projects) a lot of artists are leaving the city or at least talking about where to go. A primary concern is cheap living, space to work in, and a creative energy vibe. NY USED to have that as well as proximity to patrons and venues.

I have a few ideas for an artist-in-residency program that might help give Columbia's artistic scene a boost. It's not cheap, but the presence of a strong arts scene can do wonders to a local economy. Somebody recently told me (she didn't know I was in the arts myself) to go live where the artists, the bohemians and the gays live - that those areas always start booming. Real estate values, tourism and local businesses go up.

Right now I'm living in a small town outside of NY that's desperately trying to define itself as the arts town of the area. There are incentives like encouraging artists to live/work in downtown lofts by not having to pay property tax - a big deal up here - and a landlord renting to artists doesn't have to pay tax either.

With all the loft conversions going on in Columbia right now, I think there's a big danger that these great buildings all get carved up into small luxury rabbit holes. There has to be a mix of very affordable, large and small raw space AND both small and large upscale housing - all mixed together.

Gotta go now, but I'll elaborate later on my ideas of how to bring in world class artists on a temporary basis if you are interested.

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Nice, sojay. I'd love to hear more of your thoughts. Totally agree with you on the living options point. There has to be more variety and plenty of raw space available. I've been advocating turning the Olympia area into an arts district for a while now. There's plenty of opportunity there and lots of big, old spaces that could be converted. The Vista is not an arts district anymore. It's an entertainment district. And the current idea in local government circles is to try and turn Main St. into an arts district, but that's just not going to work... not with the lack of affordable gallery space and reasonable residential options for artists. It just won't happen. They'd be better off focusing their energies on courting more retail (higher-end stuff and everyday neighborhood support type shops that will be patronized by all the people moving in to the new condos and apartments down there), more restaurant options, a mini-plex movie theater... stuff like that.

They'd also do well to take a look at the NoDa area in Charlotte and bring that to Olympia. It would be a brilliant move.

If not Olympia, then North Main, or Taylor St., around the Township Auditorium, should be seriously considered. West Columbia, with the areas around State and Meeting Streets, could also make a serious run at it if they got their act together. Unfortunately, I don't see anything going on just yet that will focus the creative culture on an area. And with some officials thinking they're going to transform Main Street using the arts as a catalyst, we may have to wait for that to flop first.

I'd recommend reading Richard Florida's Rise of the Creative Class, if you're into it. I don't think Florida is 100%, but he's got some good insights into the New Economy and how creativity and the arts will drive it in the postmodern age. It's also interesting to note how high Columbia has consistently ranked in Florida's creative cities list. We're pretty high up there. And I think the city would do well to take advantage of it.

One of my beefs with Florida and those that share this point of view is the persistent assertion that "gays are creative." While I'm sure that's true in some cases -- it certainly has been played up in pop culture -- to me, that seems a lot like saying "blacks are good at basketball." I am not equating race with sexual orientation, but it just seems like a misguided generalization. My wife and I have had gay friends with far worse taste in art than our own! :)

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Emerging.me, have you made your vision of turning Olympia into an arts district known to city council? I know this isn't the first time I've heard you state this, and I also think it's a good idea. For one, it will help to revitalize that area (Assembly south of Blossom) and give more of a sense of continuity to downtown. With the advent of the research campus, I think that Main Street doesn't need to be an arts district--simply concentrate on bringing a nice mix of restaurants and maybe even retail to an urban, walkable environment.

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Emerging.me, have you made your vision of turning Olympia into an arts district known to city council? I know this isn't the first time I've heard you state this, and I also think it's a good idea. For one, it will help to revitalize that area (Assembly south of Blossom) and give more of a sense of continuity to downtown. With the advent of the research campus, I think that Main Street doesn't need to be an arts district--simply concentrate on bringing a nice mix of restaurants and maybe even retail to an urban, walkable environment.

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I agree. We were actually considering moving our poetry readings down to Gallery 701 before we found out about all the problems there. It just feels like it would be a great arts district (that's so scientific, isn't it?:) ).

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I believe Main Street will gain some momentum on the higher end of art entertainment with the art museum, Nickelodeon, and possible the workshop. I would expect maybe a few galleries, lounge bars, and maybe some additional things that focus on perfroming arts. Problem is price of land is going up significantly downtown and the city will not make any allowances (like tax relief Sanjay was talking about). So nobody can afford to develop big open affordable units downtown.

Taylor St idea by the Township sounds the most appealing to me. It is centrally located to downtown, vista, 5 pts, the river and Bull St. I believe this would creat some vibrance to this city. JMHO

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Emerging.me, have you made your vision of turning Olympia into an arts district known to city council? I know this isn't the first time I've heard you state this, and I also think it's a good idea. For one, it will help to revitalize that area (Assembly south of Blossom) and give more of a sense of continuity to downtown. With the advent of the research campus, I think that Main Street doesn't need to be an arts district--simply concentrate on bringing a nice mix of restaurants and maybe even retail to an urban, walkable environment.

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I wrote a letter to Mike Dawson at the River Alliance about it, since they've played such a big part in guiding development in Olympia. Not all of Olympia is in the city limits, but the core of what I'm talking about ... those areas would be. Maybe I'll rewrite it and send it on the City Council. That's a good suggestion.

Speaking of "Assembly, south of Blossom"... I came up with the name SoBlo. :) Hilarious.

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