Friday, December 4, 2009

A little life on Main Street

I strayed a little from my proposed schedule for hitting all the art show opening Thursday night, but I still had plenty of time to see everything, catch up with a bunch of people and talk to a lot of babies. (Babies, not babes, although I might have done a little of the latter too.)

Like most people, I probably spent the bulk of my time at various art shows on Main Street for the “Mingle and Jingle” event that was an outgrowth of the art shows and other activities that the shop Frame of Mind started last year.

I tried to keep my expectations for the art shows low – and I wasn’t disappointed. Take that as you will.

You can’t help but be impressed when an eyeglass shop like Frame of Mind shows sculptures by an established artist like Virginia Scotchie. The graphic arts team Piensa Art Company took over the empty Silver’s Building (it reminded me of what happened in the early days of the Vista), stuck the art all over the walls in a crazy, fun way and left spare toilets scattered through the space (above left). Eileen Blyth’s installation (top) of found architectural elements in the entryway of another empty building worked well and showed how these vacant spaces can be used effectively. I was happy to see the new Nickelodeon Theatre filled with art (from artists who work at the Village Artists gallery in Columbia’s far Northeast shopping zone, but it is awfully mainstream for an event like this and the quality all over the map.

My favorite artwork was Bill Guess’ installation of Barbie doll legs in a flowerbed.

I can’t do much but admire this grassroots uprising of art on Main Street – god knows Main Street needs something.

Still, I would have loved to see more of the many empty stores, or at least the entryways, and more artists doing installation work and more edgy art created specifically for the spaces. It needs a curator frankly – which is something I mentioned in a column two months ago. And I really wish the big Main Street art place – the Columbia Museum of Art – had a hand in this.
(For more on Main Street and the arts take a look at my story posted Oct. 10. You can find the archives on the bottom right of this page.)

The crowd at the event was OK. It would have been better if the word had gotten out in a more coherent fashion. As far as I can tell what I wrote about the event was the only significant press it received. That’s because no press release was sent out until the last minute (and I think I’m the only one who got it) and the bulk of the information trickled in dribs and drabs. I had about 20 emails from 20 different people. I thought this was an important, if not tidy, event and worth the pain in the butt of gathering the info. One can’t expect everything to be delivered neatly wrapped up. When that’s how one gets the news, they’re no longer a reporter.

Still, I’ve always joked that I’ve spend 50 percent of my career begging people for basic information so I can give their arts event some attention. But that’s another column.


  1. Thanks for posting the barbie leg pic, Jeffrey...priceless. I hope Main Street keeps moving this direction.

  2. Teri Keener MewhorterDecember 4, 2009 at 11:34 AM

    I kept my promise! I read it all and I really thought the Barbie installation was fun.


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