In August, it is one year since Columbia artist and legend Laura Spong passed. To mark the occasion, if ART Gallery will organize several events. From Aug. 9-31, the gallery will present Laura Spong: Dealer’s Choice, an exhibition with some of if ART Gallery owner Wim Roefs’ favorite paintings by Spong.
“It only seems right that we pause and remember Laura one year after she passed,” if ART owner Roefs said. “Many of us think about her all the time and miss her, and we are all left with treasure troves of memories and stories about Laura.
“She was, after all, a character and much beloved, and she was a fixture on the Columbia and South Carolina art scene for decades. She also was someone who inspired many. Laura set an example for many, both as an artist and human being — an example of perseverance, dedication to talent and calling, modesty and kindness. And sly humor. It’s time we got to share some of our memories of this fabulous human being.”
In 2017, Spong received the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts for Lifetime Achievement, South Carolina’s highest award in the arts. The City of Columbia declared Sept. 5, 2017, “Laura Spong Day.”
A native of Nashville, Tenn., Spong was born in 1926 and passed on Aug. 13, 2018. She was among South Carolina’s most prominent abstract painters. Spong was included in Abstract Art in South Carolina 1949-2012, the South Caroline State Museum’s historic overview of abstract art in South Carolina.
Since the late 1980s, Spong had been a full-time artist, since 1991 keeping a studio at Vista Studios in Columbia, which last year was replaced by the new Stormwater Studios on Huger Street. Especially in the last 15 years of her career, her now considerable reputation grew not just in South Carolina but elsewhere in the Southeast. She managed to receive both critical acclaim and, in her last decade, soaring sales.
Special to GoColumbia