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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Ice Skate on Main Street
Columbia’s famously hot skating rink is now open! Additional information and discounts can be found here.
A Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Carnival
From 6-11 PM on December 31st on Main Street, enjoy rides, games, karaoke, food, drinks and more! More information here.
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