Columbia has long been home to a vibrant local arts community, and it’s only getting more active.
The city boasts an annual multidisciplinary film and arts festival — Indie Grits — that draws audiences and filmmakers from all over.
Both Main Street and the Vista offer monthly art crawls — Main Street’s First Thursday series and the Vista’s more recent Third Thursday event.
Then there’s the annual Open Studios event — in which artists throughout the city welcome guests and talk about their artistic process — put on by the 701 Center for Contemporary Art.
Columbia’s most progressive theatre company, Trustus Theatre, has recently committed itself to developing new works.
The University of South Carolina’s School of Music is drawing top-notch faculty members such as Guggenheim Fellow Jesse Jones and presenting world-class concerts at the Southern Exposure New Music Series and from Grammy-winning artists-in-residence the Parker Quartet, among others.
The city also has a robust dance scene, which includes the Columbia City Ballet, Columbia Classical Ballet, USC Dance Company — and several more.
And then there’s Conundrum Music Hall, which packs its calendar full of eclectic and cutting-edge musical offerings ranging from avant-garde jazz to Turkish folk to contemporary classical.
Bottom line: There’s a lot going on in Columbia, and if you don’t know that then you haven’t been paying attention.
That’s where the annual Free Times Cultural Season insert comes in. Here, you’ll find listings for hundreds of upcoming arts-related events, including arts exhibitions; classical, choral and opera performances; films; theatrical productions; dance performances; literary events; and more.
If you’re already into the arts, then you already know the value of our annual calendar. If you’re new to the area or a newcomer to the arts, here’s your chance to catch up.
For further information about specific events, your best bet is to follow organizations’ web sites and Facebook pages — and to check Free Times in print and online regularly.
Of course, schedules sometimes change, so be sure to check with the specific organization or venue as dates approach. — Dan Cook
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Now Hiring in the Vista!
Hickory Tavern is opening mid-December and looking for bartenders, servers, hosts and kitchen staff. Apply in person: Click for details!
A Re-Imagined Christmas Carol at Trustus
Watch as five actors perform all the characters of Charles Dickens’ classic story and create a live musical score in a production that had audiences and critics raving last year. Get your tickets here!
Make Your Own Beer and Wine!
Come get started on your “liquid hobby” and help us celebrate our 46th year in the Columbia area. Bet Mar Liquid Hobby Shop: 736 St. Andrews Road.
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage offers 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
Surreal Innovation Salon Now Open
Columbia’s newest total care spa is now taking appointments and offering $10 off services $25 or more for first time clients. Location, hours, and more info here.
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Holiday Wish ListWhere to shop for gift ideas in Columbia this season: