Go Columbia

Celebrate art during Artista Vista gallery crawl event

David Yaghjian

Artista Vista is more than just an awesome catchy name.

For nearly three decades, the event has given Midlands residents an opportunity to celebrate art in one of Columbia’s most thriving entertainment districts with this free, signature Vista gallery crawl.

In its 28th year, participating galleries will feature regionally and nationally renowned artists, as well as local artists. Attendees can chat with gallery owners and artists while taking in paintings, sculpture, pottery and jewelry.

The Vista galleries will be open from 5-9 p.m. Thursday, April 18 for Art Night, and these special shows will also be available for viewing during regular gallery hours Saturday, April 20 for Art Day.

And there are a few extras.

A Lantern and Light Parade will start at dusk (around 8 p.m.) on Thursday, April 18. Soda City Brass Band will lead the parade through the streets of the Vista. The Vista Guild will offer a free lantern-making workshop before the parade from 5-7:30 p.m. under the Lincoln Street canopy by Blue Marlin, and invites everyone to walk in the parade with their lantern creations. The Vista Guild will supply lantern-making materials and lightbulbs. The workshop will be led by artists Jugnu Verna and Frey Mudd.

There will be children’s activities on Lincoln Street between Gervais and Lady streets from 5-7:30 p.m., with face painting and a balloon artist.

Stormwater Studios, a new gallery in the Vista which includes 11 working studios, will open its doors and will have a reception for its new exhibit, “Rites of Spring” on April 18 from 5-9 p.m. in conjunction with Artista Vista. Participating artists include Eileen Blyth, Stephen Chesley, Heidi Darr-Hope, Pat Gilmartin, Robert Kennedy, Sharon Licata, Michel McNinch, Anna Redwine, Kirkland Smith, and David Yaghjian.

Stormwater artists will open their studios and welcome guests to meet them and see their process. They will also feature the music of Gatlinburg’s Pea Pickin’ Hearts, with Rachel Gibson and Jon Ives. There will be light appetizers and a cash bar. The event is free, family-friendly, and open to the public.

On April 20, Stormwater will be open for Arts Day, featuring a Golden Acrylic paint demonstration by Lee Monts in the gallery, plein-air painting on the grounds, and a chalk mandala led by Heidi Darr-Hope. Both events are free and open to the public.

We asked Kirkland Smith and other Stormwater Studios artists to share some of their thoughts about “Rites of Spring” and Artista Vista:

Q. Why is Artista Vista an important event for the Columbia community?

A. Artista Vista highlights a sampling of Columbia’s diverse talent which in turn heightens the quality of urban life.

Investment in the arts is what make a community vibrant and alive. Art translates what it means to be human by recording personal as well as universal experiences. Artists are the gatherers of our collective memory. As one of the only major true gallery crawls left in Columbia, Artista Vista brings our community together, fostering different ways of seeing the world we live in.

Art, and the cultural environment more broadly, are magnets in attracting businesses and tourists to a city. Most people in Columbia don’t realize what a rich collection of diverse artists we have right here. Artista Vista gives us an opportunity to show the community what an asset we can be in building Columbia into a great place to live and work.

Q. What is your favorite aspect of “Rites of Spring?”

A. All of the Stormwater Artists enjoy the challenge of creating around a theme and seeing how the everyone will interpret “Rites of Spring”.

Q. What is your favorite part of Artista Vista?

The artists of Stormwater Studio have a mission. We have dedicated our lives to Art and want to share that with everyone! Welcoming the community at large into our private studios and sharing what we do is what Artista Vista is all about. Whether folks are art collectors or just strolling into galleries to look at art, we love to meet them and hear their reactions to the art we are showing. It is nice when parents or grandparents bring in their children and talk about art and artists with them. We always enjoy seeing our many supporters and lovers of local art.

Q. What makes Artista Vista different from other festivals/events in Columbia?

A. Artista Vista’s focus is exclusively on the arts, and that is what sets this event apart from all the other wonderful festivals in Columbia. The Vista has been designated as Columbia’s Arts District and that is something for which we should all be proud. This annual event gives us an intimate view into the importance of the arts and allows the entire city to celebrate this.

If you go

Artista Vista

When: 5-9 p.m. April 18; during gallery hours April 20

Cost: Free

Where: The Vista

Participating galleries: Ellen Taylor Interiors + Design, Carol Saunders Gallery, City Art, Studio Cellar, if ART Gallery, One Eared Cow Glass, Lewis + Clark, Stormwater Studios.

Good to know: Free shuttles will run between Lincoln and Lady streets, Senate and Park streets, and Huger Street at One Eared Cow Glass (1001 Huger St.) from 5:30-9:30 p.m. April 18.

Details: www.VistaColumbia.com for event maps and information about the Vista.