Christmas Wishes For and From the Columbia Arts Community, Part III

from Jeffrey Day

I still would like Santa – or someone – to bring a 30-foot tall, brightly-painted, fiberglass sculpture of Strom Thurmond standing on his head to be installed in front of the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center at USC. That and more money for the arts. And a governor who doesn’t try to kill all arts funding. Two in a row is plenty. I know, I’m being completely unrealistic, but I’m counting on a jolly fat man who travels in reindeer drawn sleigh and slides down chimneys to take care of all this.

I'd also hope that everyone  – from artists to art lovers – will resolve to open your horizons. Go to art places and events (from exhibitions to performances) you’ve never before been to.

I could go on and on and on, but I will give everyone their Christmas wish and shut up.



from August Krickel

I hope Santa brings lots of  good roles in good shows to local performers, and plentiful audiences to come see them perform. More often than not, in reviews, I find myself saying that while the material may be hokey, or mediocre, or paper-thin, or all-too-familiar, the actors on stage do an awesome job with it. There are literally hundreds of good shows around that rarely if ever get produced, and if you produce good material, Columbia has more than enough talent.  The new age of social media and instant communication only helps the traditional word of mouth that has always benefited local theatre, and when word gets out that there's a good show, audiences will come whether they have heard of it before or not. If the same 4000-6000 people that will flock to see an adequate road company production of 30-40-50-year old musicals at the Koger Center would go see top-knotch productions stretched out over several weeks at places like Town, Trustus or Workshop Theatres, those organizations would have their best seasons ever.  The same is true with music - if the same 18,000 people who pack the Colonial Center to see Carrie Underwood or Jimmy Buffett for the dozenth time would go see local artists in local clubs, 20 local clubs would have shows with standing room only.



from Ed Madden

For there to be more and more interesting opportunities for inter-arts collaborations, more and better bridges between the university and the community.

For those in power to recognize that the arts are a necessity not a luxury, a vital part of education not an extracurricular option.

For more opportunities for young artists.

from Cindi Boiter

What would I want Santa to bring the Columbia arts community for Christmas?

It wasn't until I assigned myself the same question I had asked of other members of the arts community that I realized how difficult the question would be to answer. Difficult -- not because it's hard to think of things we need, but because it's hard to come up with a wish list that doesn't seem entirely too greedy. And really, given our abundance of richness in terms of talent around here, how much more can we ask for?

But I did put my head to the same task I had asked of others and the list below is what I came up with.

That said, I want to go on record as being enormously grateful for the support the arts community has given our magazine, the sense of community that so many people are working to nurture and grow, and the talent -- both humble and expansive -- so many artists share with one another. I'm thankful for how full our arts calendar is and that many days, we have to make choices -- or extra stops --when going out for an evening of the arts.

But enough sap. Here's what I would ask for Santa to bring:

  • More small theatre spaces, black box types with sprung floors where small, sometimes impromptu, theatre and dance troupes could perform in a cost-effective way.
  • Performance art -- whether it's good or bad, it always make people think and talk with one another about just how good or bad it was.
  • More opportunity for discourse -- hence, more talk back sessions after plays, concerts, and ballets and gallery exhibitions. We grow as individuals and a community when we discuss and debate.
  • I'd like for people who publish articles about the arts to actually read, copy edit, and proof the articles they publish. Mistakes will still be made -- we certainly have made them at Jasper (I'm still sorry, Thomas Hammond) -- but at least show a little respect for the written word. Magazines are about communication -- not just design. Even if the publisher doesn't deign to actually read the articles he or she publishes, she or he should be aware that others do. Good writers rely on good editors -- let them do their jobs.
  • More attention to the literary arts. Ed Madden, Jasper's literary editor (above) is working diligently to facilitate literary arts exchanges both via the magazine and via public events. (Find us upstairs at the What's Love Festival this February.) Let us know what you think, and share your ideas with us. We're here to serve.
  • Recognition that craft-persons, amateur artists, and professional artists are all unique entities, and while each operates under its own distinct paradigm, each entity is important to an arts community.
  • I want an arts festival -- a multi-day, multi-genre event that would showcase Columbia as the arts destination it is becoming. Who wants to work with us on making this happen? We're ready to go.

Thanks for reading this three-part shopping list of what some of us would like for Santa to bring the Greater Columbia Arts Community. If you missed part one, you can refer to it here. And if you missed part two, you can find it here.

And there's more to come. Stay tuned to What Jasper Said as we examine Columbia's New Year's Resolutions for the Arts.

Until then, happy holidays from all of us at Jasper, and please check out our ever-evolving website at