By Mari Pressley, Blythewood HS (Columbia, South Carolina)
One Columbia is the knot tying all of the arts and historical events of downtown Columbia. Specifically, the murals and sculptures of Columbia are what give downtown Columbia its character.
The streets of columbia are lined with beautiful murals like those at the Vista Greenway tunnel. The “Welcome to the neighborhood tunnel” and “A Watermarked Soda City” murals were just two out of the four murals painted earlier this year. These murals were both inspired by the convergence of the columbia community after the 2015 flood.
Just across the street from these murals, is “A body in spirit” sculpture. The sculpture displays a negative space which shows the figure of a human body. “A body in spirit” is simply meant to capture what is seen through it.
Boyd Plaza, located on 1500 Block Main Street contains three breathtaking sculptures. “The Mother and Children harvesting in the Field” sculpture was a gift to the city from Armistead Peter III in the year 1930. The Columbia Museum of Art fountain sculpture was created by Rodney Carroll who also happens to be a nationally known sculptor. Jali XXXVII is another piece of artwork located in Boyd plaza that was sculpted by a South Carolina based artist known as Steven Naifeh.
All of the murals and sculptures found in downtown Columbia would not have been made possible without the creative minds of some of Columbia’s best artists.
At the Tapp’s Art Gallery, Nicole Heere is just one of the many artists involved in One Columbia. On a normal day she will be in her studio painting a female empowerment inspired piece. “I would describe my artistry as lots of girl power,” she said.
Heere has been painting two to three times a week since she was a child. She is a devoted artist and has a strong opinion about an artist’s role in society. “An artist’s role in society is to make people think, it’s a form of communication,” she said.
When visiting City Art there is a peaceful pomeranian along with Randy Hanna who works in the art supplies store that fills the basement portion of the art gallery. Hanna believes that the murals are an of embracement of freedom.
Although he understands that the murals are something that the whole community can enjoy together, he also knows that everyone has different personal responses to different works of art. “Some people may hate it and some people love it,” Hanna said.
A few blocks away from City Art there is the Vista Greenway, filled with murals and string lights leading down to a tunnel. In the places surrounding City Art there are beautiful sculptures that build the character of the area.
“Right in our little area here, were lucky because there’s a little sculpture on the corner, there’s another piece right there on that side, there’s a little tunnel there, they’ve got some murals. Another rusted sculpture across the street that some german fellows did,” Hanna said.
Some of Columbia’s most memorable landmarks are its beautiful sculptures and Murals. The art throughout Columbia is one thing that attracts people to the city and makes it most memorable.