Bonnie Goldberg's Arcade Mall studio on Main Street.
A picture on a wall. Striking, no? Or maybe just pretty. Or maybe you don’t get it.
Want to know more?
Columbia’s Open Studios, in its fourth year as a 701 Center for Contemporary Art event, offers the perfect opportunity to see beyond what’s on the wall (or the shelf, ceiling or floor). This year, 45 artists throughout the city will open their studios to anyone who wants to meet them in their natural environments. That’s a lot of ground to cover — enough to fill an entire weekend of exploring. While most of the studios are within a few miles of 701 CCA’s home at 701 Whaley, there are several as far away as Chapin and Irmo.
For those of you with limited time, heading to a cluster of studios will be your best bet. Two spots on the tour, the Studios in the Arcade on Main Street, as well as Studio Carlisle and Viridian Gallery and Studio in Melrose Heights, offer multiple studios in one place.
In the Arcade Mall (enter on the 1300 block of Main Street), four artists will welcome visitors. Bonnie Goldberg, Whitney LeJeune, Martha Thomas and Lindsay Wiggins are just a few of the artists who claim the Arcade as their artistic home.
Goldberg, known for her elegant, spirited renderings of figures, has two spaces there, one upstairs for exhibitions and one downstairs, where she works.
“My upstairs space is fabulous,” Goldberg says. “I have the balcony, the skylights, the chandeliers. I feel like I’m on top of the world and when I am in there, I own it.”
This year, she’ll be upstairs, though she’s happy to show her downstairs space to anyone who asks.
“I have tried having a model, but there are usually so many people for Open Studios — and it’s not that easy to work and talk at the same time,” she says. “This year, I will just be there to talk art with whoever comes and would like to share what I do.”
Melrose Heights’ Carlisle Street, just one-tenth of a mile long, is home to two studios, each with multiple artists. Viridian Gallery and Studio artists Regina Moody, Nini Ward, Carey Weathers and Charlene Wells will open the doors of their work and gallery space to visitors. They’ll be joined by longtime Open Studios participants in Studio Carlisle, just a few doors down.
During a recent visit, Julia Moore and Page Morris were working inside Studio Carlisle and the conversation flowed. They are well versed in other artists’ work, because they share time as well as space. The group hosts local artists to come and teach in their studio and invites other artists to attend the sessions.
Like the artists in the Arcade, Studio Carlisle’s residents are inspired by being around like-minded people. Moore, who opened the space with Chappy Manning and Marian Soule in 2011, paints in an oversized man’s blue oxford shirt, using light streaming in from the large window that forms the front wall of the studio.
“The most important thing now is that we’re beginning to attract people who are interested in art to this area,” Moore says.
Outside, she points to surrounding buildings where architects, interior designers, artists and others work. The short block is quickly becoming a small and welcoming art community.
Open Studios is a free event, and if you have the time, the full tour would make for a lovely weekend. (A complete guide is inserted in this week’s Free Times to help you plan your route.) But don’t miss out if your dance card is almost full with soccer games, work or other weekend fun; maximize your time by exploring these shared spaces.
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