First Thursdays on Main continues to expand as new businesses open downtown. The monthly arts crawl now spans from the 1200 to 1700 blocks, and as the weather gets warmer, the event will likely get bigger. The free event takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. on March 6.
For First Thurday founder and Frame of Mind owner Mark Plessinger, the most interesting aspect of it all is the grassroots effort behind it.
“We all throw a party for our businesses at the same time and invite the city,” he says. “We always have a very enthusiastic response from the patrons that come out. They love being on Main Street, within the arts and cultural community.”
Long a completely grassroots effort, First Thursday received its 501(c)(3) status last July, giving the event the ability to apply for hospitality tax funding it can use for promotion and the security required by the city. The organization has also received an official designation that allows attendees to carry beer and wine in plastic cups on the sidewalks between the 1200 to 1700 blocks. Another goal is to advertise the event in Charlotte, Charleston and other nearby cities, thereby drawing more patrons to the event and benefiting the merchants in those blocks.
Frame of Mind hosts Part II of the exhibition See It My Way, featuring paintings by JJ Ohlinger and Jarid Lyfe Brown. This show features an innovative approach to how we think of the human body. Colorful and vivacious, yet urban and edgy — not to be missed.
Anastasia & Friends Gallery
1534 Main. St. (at Free Times)
The much-anticipated Painted Violins exhibition is a fundraiser for the South Carolina Philharmonic. Fifteen artists have transformed violins into works of art through their own approaches — some painting the instruments, other altering them in more fundamental ways. The violins will be sold in a silent auction format from starting March 6 until March 21.
While stopping in to look at the art should be your first priority when you arrive downtown, you might also want to fill your belly. Al-Amir is celebrating its grand opening at the corner of Main and Laurel streets, and Bourbon at 1214 Main St. is doing a sneak peek at its new restaurant space. Cantina 76 (1301 Main St.) will have two-for-one margarita specials, and The Whig will offer new River Rat beer for the afterparty.
If you care to try your hand at a painting class, Grapes & Gallery (1113 Taylor St.) is offering a beer and Girl Scout cookie pairing, along with an instructor-guided painting session from 5 to 9 p.m.
Among other participating venues: Carolina Hair Studios, Wine Down on Main, Tapp’s Arts Center, The Arcade and the Gallery at City Hall.
As First Thursday continues to expand from the State House to City Hall, there is a plethora of options for all to enjoy — especially in April, July, September and December. During those months, portions of Main Street are closed for more outdoor entertainment.
“These months are naturally larger as we fill the streets with as much fun and entertainment as we can,” Plessinger says.
And where does First Thursday hope to be five years from now?
“We want the event to be one of the calling cards for the city of Columbia — to encourage as many participants from across the state to make the trip to their capital city and enjoy,” Plessigner says. “And it will continue to be art-based.”
3LAU on Sunday, October 26th and the Unofficial Skrillex Mothership Tour After-Party on the 27th. More information and tickets for both can be found here. VIP tables available.
King Lear in Finlay Park
October 16th-18th and 22nd-25th, the South Carolina Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare’s King Lear. All performances held at the Finlay Park Ampitheatre at 7:30 PM. For tickets and more information, click here or call 803-665-2000.
Four Miles, Twelve Doughnuts
Winston’s Wish aims to increase knowledge and understanding of children with autism, and you can help by participating in the 4.donut Race on October 25th. Start at Edventure Children’s Museum, run 2 miles to Krispy Kreme, eat 12 doughnuts, and run back! Registration is required and can be done here before October 23rd at 5 p.m.
Bluegrass, Bidding, and BBQ
Join The Palladium Society Thursday, October 23rd from 7-10 p.m. for its 11th annual silent auction, featuring music by The Mustache Brothers and catering by Bourbon and The Oak Table. Tickets are $30 at the door and include admission, drinks, and food. Get yours online now!
The Other Place at Trustus Theatre
Juliana Smithton is a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. A mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth of Juliana’s mental health boils to the surface in The Other Place, running at Trustus Theatre October 17th through November 1st. There will be a talk-back following the matinee on October 19th. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the box office at 803-254-9732.
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