Columbia has a vibrant art community, and people like Bohumila Augustinova are responsible for giving artists a platform to showcase their efforts.
As curator of the Anastasia & Friends art gallery, Augustinova has been a staple to artists and art lovers throughout the Midlands.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
A. I was born and raised in former Czechoslovakia where I studied fashion design. I come to Columbia in 1998. I am an artist and art organizer, and I work at Columbia Art Center as an Arts and Culture Specialist. I also manage the Anastasia & Friends art gallery, curate art for Motor Supply, and I am a leader of Yarnbombing of Columbia. (Yarnbombing is a form of street art where people decorate public spaces with kidding or crochet.)
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Q. How long have you been curating Anastasia & Friends? And what is the significance to you?
A. I been managing/curating for Anastasia & Friends for a little more than three years. The gallery was founded by my dear friend Anastasia Chernof. When she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer I offered to help with the gallery so she could focus on her health. After six months of working on the gallery together, she asked me if I would like to take it over. That was in November of 2015. When Anastasia made the announcement, she wrote a beautiful explanation about what the gallery meant to her, why she’s been doing it, and how it was a wonderful monthly gathering of old and new friends. It really spoke to me. I love that I have the opportunity to show local art.
Q. What do you feel are the strengths of the art scene in Columbia?
A. Years ago I was part of the Runaway Runway fashion show at the Columbia Museum of Art and I was a runner-up. A guy come to me and said, “I love your work, want to do a show?” And I did. Throughout the evening I met so many new people and learned a lot of them were artist. Even though I was the new face they all counted me as one of their own. Right away. No question asked, even though my work was so different. It always been like that.
There are so many new faces coming up all the time and it’s because there are galleries and organizations that want to show their work. We want to see something different. Over the years I’ve been part of many great collaborations. That’s because local artist like to work together. I don’t see competition, I see community.
Q. What’s next for you?
A. Last year I was really focused on my job, the gallery and Yarnbombing. It takes a lot of juggling to be able to do all that, but my creativity suffered. I am ready to get back to work. I already agreed to be a part of great art collaboration that you will all hear about soon. I am also learning new mediums and that is taking some of my art in new direction, which is really exciting.