When Greenville native Laurie Brownell McIntosh moved to Columbia to be an art and graphic design student at the University of South Carolina, she fell in love with the capital city and decided to make it her home.
In the 37 years since, Columbia has returned the love through appreciation of McIntosh’s various forms of art. In 1989, McIntosh started Brownell McIntosh Graphic Design, then transitioned mostly to fine art in 2005. From 2007-13, she served on the foundation board of the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville and now serves on the school’s advisory board. Since 2010, McIntosh has been the resident artist at Vista Studios, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a show opening Nov. 12.
In June, McIntosh and her husband, Duncan McIntosh, general counsel for Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, moved to Camden, where her most recent project is the renovation of an 1885 Queen Anne Victorian home in downtown. The couple has two sons in college.
EAT: With my studio being in the Vista I’m a big lunch eater because that’s how I get to see people and get out of my studio for a bit. I love to go to M Vista and get the green tuna, which is tuna tartare wrapped in an avocado. I also love Takosushi for their fried asparagus and their specialty rolls. One of my favorite dinner meals in town when it’s in season is the soft-shell crab at Terra.
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In Camden there is the coolest sandwich place there called BSL (Broad Street Lunch) Sandwich Shop. Their specialty is hamburger on bread. They have pictures of the Camden High School football team lining the walls. It’s just a great small-town diner.
Camden House of Pizza has an incredible gyro dinner that has the best pita bread and the most delicious salad dressing you’ll ever eat. We also like Sam Kendall’s in Camden. It’s a neat old small-town, high-end restaurant with brick walls and good hamburgers and steaks. It’s a great place to go to see everybody in town.
DRINK: My favorite place to go for drinks is Bourbon – mainly because of the bourbon. And it’s the only place I know in Columbia that serves Boudin, which is a cajun liver pudding stuffed in a casing. I just love their whole Cajun, New Orleans slant.
When my friends come into town I love to go to The Oak Table and look at the State House, especially at Christmas. When I want to get a cold beer, watch a football game and be with friends, I go Henry’s (Restaurant and Bar) on Devine where they have fried everything and good hamburgers.
PLAY: My husband and I love to entertain and have people over constantly. He starts cooking and then he figures out who’s coming. We also love to hunt and fish and spend time outdoors.
When we go out, our favorite date night is to go to the Nick (Nickelodeon Theatre) to the early movie and walk across the street to Michael’s (Cafe and Catering) and have wine and pizza. That to me is a great night.
We also love to go to gallery openings, especially at Gallery 80808 and City Art, which has revolving shows that are always, always timely. Gallery West is a great little studio across the river next to Terra in West Columbia.
LISTEN: The Township (Auditorium) is my favorite place to listen to any kind of concert. I really enjoy bluegrass, folk-type music like Alison Krauss and Amos Lee.
Birdfest is a Bluegrass music festival held each May (in Panola, S.C.). I would never miss it. It has lots of regional musicians and many from Asheville. I might miss Christmas but I would never miss Birdfest.
And once a year we clear our calendars for the Indie Grits Festival here in town. It is so much fun and I think it’s the best thing that’s happened to Columbia in a long time.
SEE: We enjoy going to the Columbia Museum of Art and seeing the current exhibits as well as their permanent collection – it’s really phenomenal. Trustus is always a good time. Nothing like being able to drink a cold beer and watch a play. The Riverwalk is great. It’s one of those hidden treasures everyone needs to find. And, of course, Soda City (Farmer’s Market) on Saturday morning is a great, fun thing to do.