When I hear terms such as “our city is on the brink of…” used in magazine articles, newspaper profiles, and, most recently, at a city council candidate forum, I instantly cringe. It’s a lazy quote, cotton candy rhetoric, instantly sounding sweet but quickly dissolving without the substance to back it up. The term has been used a lot to describe Columbia for many years and recently our explosive growth throughout the city has led us to hear the term more and more. This growth is not by accident and not a surprise to many people. For a decade or more, there have been many young people in Columbia that have made the conscious decision to stay and live here. The decision was not to just live in Columbia, but to make Columbia the place that they wanted to live in. Andy Smith was one of those individuals. Andy’s work in growing the Nickelodeon Theater is not only benefitting the theater itself, but the community as a whole. He has not shied away from what the additional responsibilities of being the Executive Director of a non-profit arts organization bring. He is personally integrated into the arts community, bringing artists of all disciplines together to create and spread their talents through the city as a whole.
Andy does not just make the” appropriate appearances” at arts events in the city. He’s been personally involved and invested in our arts community, and he’s made both that and his national arts organization experience the foundation of his campaign. That kind of experience, coupled with Andy’s creative yet concrete plans for the future of our city, is what is so inspiring and new for a metropolis that has, for far too long, been stuck on the verge of…something.
In Andy we have an opportunity that we have not had in recent memory. As an arts community we have the opportunity to not only have someone who understands the arts and knows the artists in Columbia, but a champion of the arts as a new foundation for our city to grow on for many years ahead. Take time and vote for Andy Smith for the city of Columbia’s at-large seat on November 3rd.