Since it is the Fourth of July, isn’t it appropriate that artists will paint the city streets red, white and blue.
And orange. Probably green, yellow, purple and fuchsia, too. They should also add a touch of garnet to be politically correct on Independence Day.
For Color Columbia, a temporary mural competition organized by Pocket Productions, eight artists will paint 10-by-10 foot murals on Main Street during the monthly event First Thursdays on Main.
B.A. Hohman, Amanda Ladymon, Sarah Flowe, Roy Pascal, Red, McClellan Douglas, Cedric Umoja and Michael Krajewski will compete for the $300 jury prize. There will also be a people’s choice award.
Sidewalk chalk will be available so that onlookers can create their own mini-murals on the street, too.
Pocket Productions, a local organization that engages the public in art, is known for the flash mobs at its ArtRageous events and Playing After Dark, the series that brings together visual and performance artists. One of Pocket Productions’ most memorable stunts was an MP3 Experiment collaboration with Charlie Todd, the Columbia native who is the founder of the New York-based prank collective Improv Everywhere, at the 2012 Urban Tour. Participants acted out directions on their MP3 players as hundreds, who were sometimes pulled into the piece, watched.
But with Tiny Doors of Columbia, an installation collaboration between scenic designers and authors, and Color Columbia, Pocket Productions is presenting art that doesn’t have to be seen in the moment.
“We’ve actually moved into visual installations of a variety of kinds,” Pocket Productions’ Sherry Warren said. “We just kind of wanted to spread out and do a lot of different kinds of things.
“The visual is not as brief. It’s nice to have these things that will be there a little bit longer so that people can see them.”
The artists are scheduled to work from 5-9 p.m. on primed surfaces in front of the Columbia Museum of Art, though they can begin as early as 2 p.m. They will be provided with materials and shade. And water.
The artists submitted work samples and sketches. Umoja, an artist known for his depth, created sidewalk paintings on Main Street to help promote Cirque du Soleil’s “Quidam” in April. While his original plan was altered to fit Cirque’s specifics, the design sparked the initial Color Columbia discussions between Warren and Mark Plessinger, the owner of Frame of Mind, the Main Street eyewear shop.
“He’s going to realize that idea,” Warren said of Umoja.
Warren said each of the eight artists took different approaches in their mural sketches, from the traditional to the abstract. (The images that accompany this article are of work submitted by the artists during the application process.)
“It’s just going to be a great variety of things. It’s a variety of different subject matters.”
Don’t expect all of the murals to have a Fourth of July theme.
“That would end up being very trite,” Warren said.
Public art — specifically murals — have been of recent interest. In May, One Columbia unveiled a photo mosaic mural on Lady Street. Since AgFirst Farm Credit Bank sold its Hampton Street building, many have wondered what will happen to “Tunnelvision,” the large mural Blue Sky painted on the AgFirst building in 1975.
Warren said that Color Columbia artists will be positioned so they are next to an artist with a different aesthetic.
“They’re just going to feel so different,” she said of the work.
There probably won’t be any gamesmanship, because an inherent characteristic of the Columbia arts scene is that the artists here enjoy the collaborative process.
“To have the public come out to see what these artists can do, it’s going to be great for the community to know,” Warren said. “Just the visibility of the artists is going to be great for them and the community.
“And I wouldn’t mind some more murals.”
Reach Taylor at (803) 771-8362.