Art doesn’t have to be intimidating, boring or confusing. Artista Vista proves that, exposing art in different ways that can be enjoyed by more than the usual connoisseurs.
“This event makes art so approachable,” says Meredith Atkinson, director of the Vista Guild. “Lots and lots of folks attend that are outside of our 'normal art community,' if you will. It's just a great night to stroll in the Vista and check out these galleries when they're bustling.”
Artista Vista, a gallery crawl through The Vista, has been an anticipated event for 27 years. Vista galleries will open their doors from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, inviting everyone, no matter their art IQ, to absorb the Columbia art scene.
Artista Vista blends regionally and nationally renowned artists with local artists and gives attendees the opportunity to chat with gallery owners and artists while taking in paintings, sculpture, pottery and jewelry. It also offers an opportunity for those who enjoy art but aren't necessarily enthusiasts to enjoy the scene.
For example, it doesn’t take a degree in art appreciation to appreciate the Lantern & Light Parade. Or to participate in it. Join artists and make your own lantern with free materials near the Lincoln Street canopy from 5 to 8 p.m.
Then join other parade participants for the Light & Lantern Parade, which leaves at 8 p.m. from the Lincoln Street Tunnel entrance (at Lady Street), and proceeds through the Vista. Prizes will be awarded for the best lantern, best use of costume and best kids’ lantern.
“The Lantern & Light is another facet that fans of Artista Vista have come to love in recent years,” Atkinson says. “It's a magical time to let your creative juices flow, make a simple (or complex) paper lantern and then walk through the Vista on a beautiful evening.
There will be face painting and a balloon artist for children on Lincoln Street from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
“It's a great night to just stroll around in the Vista, especially if you live here, and you haven't done that in a while,” says Atkinson. “If you're a food person, of course you can visit Artista Vista's galleries and then choose one of our 85 bars and restaurants for dinner. Or check out the Lucas Sams show at Motor Supply Co. Bistro.
"And some of our artists, like Clark Ellefson at Lewis + Clark bring such a sense of humor to their work, like his robots, that anyone would enjoy seeing.
"And because we have the opening of the brand new Stormwater Studios that now joins Lewis + Clark and One Eared Cow Glass on Huger Street, this is a really exciting time to see how the Vista is growing, especially towards the Congaree River.”
Stormwater Studios is a new hub for artists in the Vista area. The complex of three industrial-style buildings houses art studios and workshop spaces.
Stormwater is designed to draw in the public with an interactive outdoor space and room for events and parties, as well as a sculpture garden and a trail along Kinsler Creek, which feeds into the Congaree River.
Stormwater Studios is hosting its first show by the resident artists in its new home during Artista Vista. This show, “Stormwater: Studio Premiere of New Work,” includes a champagne cork-popping at 6 p.m. to celebrate the studio’s official opening.
And the new studio's proximity to Lewis + Clark and One Eared Cow Glass makes it a great stop.
“I challenge anyone not to be wowed by the hand-blown glass demonstrations that will be taking place at One Eared Cow glass,” Atkinson says. “It's simply fascinating to watch them turn and mold this hot glass into beautiful, colorful vases and more.”
Other galleries participating in Artista Vista:
Carol Saunders Gallery, 922 Gervais St.: New works by Eileen Blyth, Stephen Chesley and Laura Spong, artists at Stormwater Studios. Carol Saunders Gallery will host an opening reception, 5-9 p.m., and feature jewelry and fine gifts.
Ellen Taylor Interiors, 1012 Gervais St.: Work by local artists and artists from Tennessee and North Carolina. There will be wine, shopping and an opportunity to meet the artists.
if ART Gallery, 1223 Lincoln St.: “International Art Ambassadors,” an exhibition of artists whose work is on loan at the United States Embassy in Bern, Switzerland. Artists Roland Albert, Michael Cassidy, Stephen Chesley, Mary Gilkerson, Jay Owens, Edward Rice, Laura Spong, Leo Twiggs, Enid Williams, Mike Williams and David Yaghian. An opening reception will be 5-9 p.m.
Lewis + Clark, 1001 Huger St.: “Incandescent Activity,” recent work of lamps, robots and artifacts by Clark Ellefson.
Lucas Sams at Motor Supply Co. Bistro, 920 Gervais St.: Lucas Sams, a multimedia artist, will have new and recent paintings in his exhibit “Lucas Sams: World Symbol, and Other Paintings.”
One Eared Cow Glass, 1001 Huger St.: One Eared Cow Glass will feature their colorful hand-blown glass and offer live glass blowing demonstrations.
That Godzilla Guy at Saki Tumi, 807 Gervais St.: Saki Tumi's ’s ARTuncorked will feature the final show of Sean McGuinness as That Godzilla Guy, as well as wine tasting and light hors d’oeuvres.
Stormwater Studios, 413 Pendleton St.: The Resident Artists at Stormwater Studios will present “Stormwater: Studio Premier Show of New Work,” the first exhibit of their work in their brand new studio and gallery space. Artists include Eileen Blyth, Stephen Chesley, Heidi Darr-Hope, Pat Gilmartin, Robert Kennedy, Sharon Licata, Michel McNinch, Kirkland Smith, Laura Spong and David Yaghjian. Additionally, USC at Stormwater Studios will present bachelor of fine arts candidate and painter Kara Mitton showing new works in her exhibit “Aberrant Reflections.”
Studio Cellar, 912 Lady St.: Attendees are invited to paint their own pieces, enjoy drinks and see art by Studio Cellar instructors.
A continuation of Artista Vista is Art Day, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 21. Artists on Huger Street — including Stormwater Studios, Lewis + Clark and One Eared Cow Glass — will offer beer, food and music. Stormwater Studios will have Plein Air Painting with Michel McNinch and Heidi Darr Hope, and Healing Icons will create a Community Chalk Mandala and Interactive Earth Mandala. Participants are:
▪ Carol Saunders Gallery.
▪ if ART Gallery.
▪ Lewis + Clark.
▪ One Eared Cow Glass Galleries.
▪ Stormwater Studios.
▪ Studio Cellar.
If you go
WHEN: 5-9 p.m. Thursday, April 19.
WHERE: The Vista, along Huger Street.
WORTH NOTING: Free shuttles will take attendees back and forth between Lincoln Street, the heart of the Vista, and Huger Street, where several Vista galleries are located.