Columbia Open Studios returns with fresh artists, April 5-6

Artist - Jean Capalbo  

Like the other Open Studios events around the country – unaffiliated, much like the First Thursdays phenomenon – Columbia Open Studios has grown to be a widely anticipated annual art event around the Midlands. Presented by 701 Center for Contemporary Art, the free, self-guided tour opens the doors to visual artists’ studios across the region on April 5 and 6, 2014.


The first weekend in April, thousands of people will venture out to chat with artists about every aspect of their work, meet fellow art lovers and purchase favorite pieces, if they wish, at zero markup. Guidebooks are available at various locations around town and at 701 CCA, located inside historic 701 Whaley on the 2nd floor. Nearly a dozen of these artists are new or returning to the tour after a hiatus, yielding a variety of new stories, inspirations and techniques for tour goers. Artists take full advantage of their personal backgrounds, favorite art-making tools and studio spaces, proving that inspiration can be found in the most typical and seemingly mundane places.


Curious about the kind of experience you’ll get during Columbia Open Studios?

Learn more about a few of the tour’s newest artists before mapping out your weekend of studio-hopping.


Renea Eshleman, Cayce   Renea Eshleman serves as the Associate Director of Academic Affairs for the S.C. Commission on Higher Education. Such a hefty title could certainly mean a challenging work day – which is why she sees art as her therapy.   Eshleman makes her own jewelry and is also a painter, using her “mother-in-law-suite”-turned-studio to house her supplies. The studio is readily accessible for loading/unloading art and supplies from the adjoining garage, which also serves as a spill-over space for too-good-to-pass-up art display units and frames.   A small porch and French doors to the outside inform her jewelry-making, providing a source of inspiration outside her chaotic yet comfortable space.          


Jean Capalbo, Shandon Extensive travel and a professional background in education are Jean Capalbo’s muses. In fact, she was in Tanzania in March, observing animals on the Serengeti and other African plains. (Her painting in the near future will undoubtedly be influenced by this trip.)   She has served as a school administrator and a teacher, enjoying the field in its entirety due to its creative core. Specializing in acrylic and oil painting, Capalbo is always searching for unique mediums to craft surface designs, including everything from plastic doilies to foam stamps.   Capalbo has recently relocated to the Carolinas from Sedona, AZ. She has painted all her life, taking time to study the field at UCLA, Santa Monica College, USC (our USC that is) and Sedona Art Center in Arizona.


Charlene Wells, Melrose Heights/Millwood Wells is one of four Open Studios artists operating out of Viridian Gallery & Studio on Carlisle Street. She refers to the area as a developing “art block,” boasting not only another studio, but also several other artists, an architect and an interior decorator.   Wells has studied under many accomplished artists. While painting under Reuben Gambrell, she met a handful of fellow artists with whom Viridian was later formed. Her paintings of subjects from the created world are allegorical expressions that she hopes will inspire a viewer to pause, study and decipher the symbol - while also noting her expression of color and value.


Returning to the tour are Tim Floyd and Jan Swanson. Other newcomers are John & Venetia Sharpe, Patrick Mahoney, Lindsay Wiggins, Lisa Strally and Mary Lynn Williams.


  • Find out more about your old favorites as well as the new talent on 701 CCA’s Columbia Open Studios website:
  • Get a guide at 701 CCA (701 Whaley, 2nd floor) or at art-loving venues around town.
  • Preview Party Thursday, April 3, 7-10pm at 701 CCA, $5/$10 with cash bar and complimentary hors d’oeuvres.
  • Tickets:
  • The Columbia Open Studios tour Presented by 701 Center for Contemporary Art Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6, 2014
  • Free!

Columbia Open Studios -- A Very Special Opportunity

Artist - Christian Thee There’s something about seeing art in the making that allows for an intimacy between artist and art lover that can’t be matched. Seeing the places where artists work, the tools that they use; experiencing the various sights and sounds that influence a favorite artist as she or he creates the works we love … It’s a special treat. A gift.

This weekend, Columbia arts lovers have the opportunity to pull back the curtains on our beloved community of visual artists and see some of the magic behind the mystery of creation via Columbia Open Studios.

Artist - Jeff Donovan

Included among the artists participating are:  Heidi Darr-Hope, Jeff Donovan, Clark Ellefson, Diane Gilbert, Mary Gilkerson, Mary Ann Haven, Howard Hunt, Judy Bolton Jarrett, Amanda Ladymon, Alicia Leeke, Whitney LeJeune, Michel McNinch, K. Page Morris, Blue Sky, Laura Spong, Christian Thee, and Ellen Emerson Yaghjian, for a total of 58 artists in 43 different locations.

Artist - Russell Jeffcoat

Visiting artists in their natural habitats is fun, informative, and inspiring. Kicking off the weekend of visits and activities is the Opening Night Preview Party Thursday night from 7 - 9 pm at 701 Whaley - a treat in itself! Complimentary hors d’oeuvres by Linda Phillips Catering; cash bar with liquor, wine & beer; DJ Irv Thompson; party photos by Jasper's own photo editor, the talented Forrest Clonts! Fabulously reasonable tickets are available here.

Artist - Whitney LeJeune

Don't miss this opportunity to become a more intimate, more engaged supporter of your local arts scene. Have a wonderful weekend.

Artist - Ellen Emerson Yaghjian


Call for Artists Deadline: January 31 for Columbia Open Studios

701 Center for Contemporary Art (701 CCA) is excited to announce the return of Columbia Open Studios on April 21-22, 2012!


Now part of the 10-day Indie Grits Festival!

This weekend-long event will take place on Saturday and Sunday April 21-22, 2012 as an official festival partner of The Nickelodeon Theatre's 6th annual Indie Grits Festival – now 10 days, the festival's other partners include Morihiko and the SC Philharmonic, Slow Food Columbia, Crafty Feast, the smash hit ConvergeSE interactive conference, live music all over town, and the Spork in Hand Puppet Slam at Indie Grits.


Save the date for the Open Studios Preview Party and Indie Grits Festival kickoff bash, Thursday April 19, in the Grand Hall, 701 Whaley!


What is 701 CCA Columbia Open Studios?

It's a self-led, driving tour of artists’ working studios spans the City of Columbia and Richland and Lexington Counties, showcasing the Midlands’ talented visual art community.

Artists open their studios to the public from 10am-6pm on Sat., April 21 and noon-6pm on Sun., April 22. Participation fee is $100 for 701 CCA members and $150 for non-members (comes w/one-year Family membership), plus a $50 refundable deposit. Artists keep 100% of sales -- 701 CCA takes no commissions.


Statewide marketing plan and more

The statewide+ marketing plan includes distribution of 60,000-80,000 printed program guides in hip cultural spots as far as Asheville, Charleston and Augusta, plus a massive social media campaign, statewide PR + advertising (and into Asheville, etc.), road signs, partnership support from the "Famously Hot" Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau with their out-of-market outreach efforts, and much more.

As a nonprofit visual art center, 701 CCA is committed to giving artists maximum exposure at the most minimum cost possible.




Artists who have registered thus far:

Artist Studio Name Website
Alejandro Garcia-Lemos Friday Cottage ArtSpace
McClellan Douglas McClellan Douglas Jr.
Grace Rockafellow Grace Rockafellow
Patrick Parise Southern Printworks
Nancy Will Nancy Will
Laurie McIntosh Vista Studios #6
Joseph and Kelly Shull jellykoe
Richard Lund Richard Lund Art Studio
Claire Farrell Claire Farrell
Nancy Butterworth Impressions Pottery
Jan Swanson Studios in the Arcade
Richard and Gay Vogt Baldmoose Studio
Lucinda Howe Lucinda Howe Art Studio
Bonnie Goldberg bonnie goldberg
Judy Bolton Jarrett ArtCan Studio/Gallery
Susan Lenz Mouse House, Inc.
Amanda Ladymon Amanda Ladymon
Alicia Leeke Alicia Leeke
Ben Compton Ben Compton Art
Ruby DeLoach The Art Party Press, Studio & Gallery


Want to be an integral part of the Indie Grits Festival and rally some new fans? Here's your chance. Artist registration deadline: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 11:59pm.