The Daily Gamecock

31st annual Artista Vista looks to grow local art scene, educate Columbia community

<p>FILE—A photo of three art studios on the corner of Huger and Pendleton Street on June 21, 2021. The three art studios share the goal of providing an art district to the Vista.</p>
FILE—A photo of three art studios on the corner of Huger and Pendleton Street on June 21, 2021. The three art studios share the goal of providing an art district to the Vista.

The 31st annual Artista Vista returns to The Vista on Friday, highlighting a multitude of different art forms and local artists.

Hosted by the Congaree Vista Guild, the event features a wide array of art forms from murals to glass sculptures, according to Executive Director of the Congaree Vista Guild Abby Anderson. Artista Vistsa aims to assist in expanding the cultural knowledge of the local community as well as highlight local artists' work, she said.

“Our point is to kind of help celebrate these artists, whether it's just a gallery or studio space,” Executive Director Abby Anderson said.

Anderson said The Congaree Vista Guild and the community itself hold artwork very closely with regard to the culture of the community.

“The Vista is very proud of the arts that we have in our district. We like to say that the Vista was founded on the arts,” Anderson said.

The Vista being "founded on the arts" is not simply a metaphor or coined expression. The Vista community has a deep-rooted historical connection to the arts.

“Back in the 80s ... not very many people came down to the Vista, because there were railroad tracks that ran down Lincoln Street," Anderson said. "So, a bunch of artists saw an opportunity to renovate a bunch of warehouse space for cheap — it was $1 a square foot that they were renting — and so these artists kind of came down, and it became a funky part of town because of them, so we like to celebrate our roots."

The Congaree Vista Guild aims to pays homage to these roots. By providing a space for local artists to shine, Anderson believes it will help highlight their talent with a extensive display. 

One of these displays, called the Jasper Project, will be presented at Artista Vista by Coal Powered Filmworks. 

"The Jasper Project is a nonprofit arts advocacy organization here in Columbia," Wade Sellers, the president of the Jasper Project and the owner of Coal Powered Filmworks, said. "Board members Kimber Carpenter, Ginny Merett, Emily Moffitt and Laura Garner are the four artists that will be showing their artwork in the studio during the weekend.”

Coal Powered Filmworks plans to use the Jasper Project's presented works to expand the community's love and awareness for art, according to Sellers.

“I started myself as an independent filmmaker 25 years ago ," Sellers said. "I've loved the city and have tried to do as much as I can to help encourage the growth of the arts here in Columbia.”

One Eared Cow Glass will also be featured at Artista Vista. The local art studio, run by USC alumni Tom Lockart and Mark Woodham, specializes in blown glass art work. For the upcoming event, One Eared Cow Glass has chosen to feature special, new styles of faces in its blown glass artwork.

“We try to come up with new things, especially when we're having the holidays come up or there's events coming up — something different than what people typically will see when they come in here," gallery manager of One Eared Cow Glass Katrina Lockart said.

Katrina Lockart said she believes events that highlight local artists, such as Artista Vista, help to remove elite stereotypes such as forms of art being too expensive or elitist just from their apperance and that displaying some of the blown glass works to break these barriers.

“A lot of people think that (blown glass) is not affordable, or they have no idea how it's actually made," Lockart said. "If you've never seen blown glass done, then you have no idea. You think everything comes from a factory and molds (and an) assembly line, whereas this is all made by an individual by hand here on the premises. It's appreciation for the art form itself,” Katrina Lockart said .

This desire from One Eared Cow Glass is something Anderson said she hopes is one of the biggest takeaways people get from Artista Vista — the ability to experience and learn about art in a new way.

“I also just hope that they come and get to experience art in a new and different way than what they're used to and just see what some of these incredible artists in our hometown,” Anderson said.

All of these creations and more will be on display from April 14 to April 16 at Artista Vista. For more information on the schedule of events, visit The Vista's website.


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