A Valentine's Day showcase of art and entertainment entitled "Infamous Lovers" is a fundraising event that will allow attendees to celebrate love as well as art produced by some of Columbia's very own at the historic 701 Whaley venue.
This '70s themed event held by local publication The Jasper Project will feature live entertainment, food, local art and a costume contest with local prizes.
Jasper Magazine was a Columbia-based arts magazine founded in September 2011. After five years of producing multiple art projects, Jasper Magazine rebranded as a nonprofit called The Jasper Project.
They have facilitated numerous projects to commemorate local artists and share their work with the Columbia community. The Jasper Project publishes articles weekly on its website, along with a print edition that comes out twice a year.
The "Infamous Lovers" event is raising money for The Jasper Project's upcoming print edition coming out this spring, which will be distributed for free at nearly 100 local locations.
The event will feature Big Love, a local Fleetwood Mac cover band, as its headliner. Big Love is composed of five Columbia locals: Bekah Rice, Adam Corbett, Marshall Brown, Shane Sanders and Sharon Gnanashekar. The band will perform the '70s group's hit songs.
"We've got Big Love, a Fleetwood Mac cover band that has a bunch of local musicians that are in other bands who've kind of come together to do this," said Bekah Rice, managing director for The Jasper Project and band member of Big Love.
A dance troop from West Columbia called Tiny Coven Dance led by dancer Ashley Moore is known for its fusion dance style. The group will bring an eccentric element to the evening by showcasing American Tribal style dance, a unique discipline of belly dancing.
Joe Turkaly, a chef in the Columbia area for nearly 37 years now working in the Kappa Sigma fraternity house, will be providing hors d'oeuvres. There will be drinks, charcuterie platters and fruit trays at the event.
Turkaly has worked with numerous nonprofit organizations over the years, and said he appreciates The Jasper Project for its local contributions.
“We love what Jasper does for the local music and arts community. They do some great work, and they highlight people that normally wouldn't be in the spotlight," Turkaly said. "It feels really good to be a part (of it and) to make the food, to see the smiling faces when we're out at these fundraising events."
Guests can also compete in a costume contest for the chance to win prizes. Contestants can dress as their favorite "infamous lover" and show off on a red carpet. Those who enter the contest can win $100 gift cards from contributing sponsors such as Sound Bites Eatery and The War Mouth, or they can win two tickets for a show of their choosing at the re-established New Brookland Tavern.
There will also be a silent auction where attendees can bid on champagne bottles uniquely painted by artists from the Columbia area.
Lee Ann Kornegay is the chief advocate for historic 701 Whaley. She first produced a documentary capturing the restoration of this venue in 2006 and now helps manage the space where "Infamous Lovers" will be held.
“(It's) a night that's entertaining and different and something that singles and couples and anybody could really come and enjoy," Kornegay said. "So it's been a lot of different things over the years, but the events, the parties ... those are the kinds of things that turned it into a very vibrant venue."
Attendees can also visit the 701 Community Hallway Gallery right next door, which will be showcasing featured Jasper Project artist Thomas Washington’s exhibit: Love Quest, a free art show starting on Feb. 11. Guests are able to get a first-hand look at the kind of creators the Project highlights in its issues.
"Infamous Lovers" takes place on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14 and will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. More information can be found at The Jasper Project's website.