The Best of Figure Out 2016

It's part of the changing seasons. As people all over Columbia anxiously await the suspension of the heat index and a reason to put on more clothes, Planned Parenthood Health Systems sponsors an exhibition at Tapp's Arts Center in which all the subjects of the art take them off. It's no secret; Figure Out, which just finished its 4th iteration at Tapp's Arts Center, is one of Jasper's favorite yearly exhibitions. And though the show came down this weekend, the art will linger on in our memories and on some of our walls.

But if you missed it, here are just a few of Jasper's favorite pieces from Figure Out 2016.

Kristi Berry

Lauren Chapman

Lauren Chapman - detail

Lyon Hill

Ansley Adams

Will South

Billy Guess

Kim Fabio

Anne Marie Cockrell


Until next year.





Just say no to Facebook

no This week started out great. Lots of exciting stuff on the calendar, interesting meetings, tasks that I absolutely love to do. Looking ahead and all the way through Saturday morning's game, I was psyched for what the third week of September held in store. My Facebook calendar was full and I was happy!

Monday was a bit of a chore, though. For the fifth day in a row I was still working on a 2nd Act Film Festival project that should have taken less than two days to finish.

Tuesday was a little tougher. It was the last day for Jasper Artist of the Year nominations which means the beginning of a lot of sorting and stuff and I was continuing to work on last week's merciless mess of a project. I ended up forgetting about one meeting and rescheduling another.  I did make it to the Nick to see Grandma that evening and didn't feel too guilty about that since I reviewed it for the blog.

Wednesday meant day seven of the same old project, day two of the JAYs, and only two meetings, both about very exciting stuff.  By the end of the day one meeting got pushed back 30 minutes and the other two full hours, but that was OK because that night was the first night of ARTS101, our much anticipated series of arts history and appreciation presentations from esteemed members of our arts community. I remember when we first announced this series -- so many people were happy about it! And the Facebook event racked up 19 yeses and 19 maybes almost immediately. With a possible 38 people (no, I never expected the maybes to show up but I don't believe in being unprepared) coming out, the mag staff and I, along with two eager interns, were ready to greet our crowd with carefully prepared and reproduced copies of the ARTS101 calendar, a primer on John Constable, who was the subject of Mary Gilkerson's fascinating presentation, a slideshow loving prepared by our buddy Shige at Tapp's, a bar set up by Daniel, and a plate of assorted cookies. Three different kinds.

I'll just cut to the chase. No. One. Showed. Up. No, the maybes didn't show up, of course, but neither did the yeses. None of them. We did have a gentleman come in from off the street but I don't know if he knew he was coming in for a presentation or not. We were glad he was there. And we were glad we were there. It was a casual and informative presentation enjoyed over cold Coronas and cookies and I am thrilled with the knowledge I now have about landscape artist John Constable. (Primer below for your enjoyment and edification.)

Now, we're at Thursday and by the end of the day my buddy and Jasper film editor Wade has ably taken the cursed week-old project off my crippled hands.  I'm still working on the JAYS but the end is in sight, and I've turned my attention back to the next issue of the mag as well as the bones of the non-profit that's at a steady boil on the back burner of my life, waiting patiently to be moved up front and served. I wanted to go to the closing reception for Figure Out at Tapp's, one of my all-time favorite shows in town. In fact, I wanted to blog about the reception and appeal to the powers that be--in this case gallery owners and operators in the city-- that we must not relegate figurative and nude shows to one event a year held behind warning signs on closed doors. We must make the human body, clothed or unclothed, a part of our everyday art experience. As an arts community we can no longer be afraid of breasts and penises! But, of course, I didn't have time to go to the show or write the blog and only sneaked out to the Trustus fundraiser at The Whig (63 yeses and 24 maybes -- I don't think so) because I love Trustus and I love The Whig and I knew my kids would be there. I came home and went back to work.

So here it is on Friday afternoon. I'm tired, it's been raining for the past two days, the temperature is fall-ish, and new episodes of good TV started this week and are waiting on my DVR.

But wait, according to Facebook I have six events to go to tonight. Six different exciting events. Six events that would enlighten me, make me a better person, and allow me to enjoy the company of all the other yeses who want to go to these events and see each other.

You all know how this is going to turn out. I've already taken off my bra, smudged my makeup by rubbing my eyes, and poured myself a glass of wine. I ain't going nowhere.

But on Wednesday night of this past exciting and life-affirming week, in addition to learning about John Constable I learned something else. I learned about the power of the yes and I learned about the power of the no. (Maybes never really count.) So before I poured that vino and unsnapped that brassiere I visited the pages of all the fun events I will not be going to tonight and I changed my status. Yes, I could have done it earlier, had I been more honest with both Facebook and myself. But I'll take credit for doing it at all and I challenge myself to be better about it next time.

And I challenge you. Just say no to Facebook unless you really are planning to attend an event. But if your enthusiasm gets the best of you and you really believe you can make it to all those openings and receptions and concerts and presentations that you want to go to, do what I'm going to try to start doing. (I admit to being the worst about this in my life prior to this evening.) See where Facebook expects you to be and, if you're not going to be there, don't pretend. Change your yes to no and, if you must, leave a little message. You're tired, you're drained, you have a date with Olivia Pope. Doesn't everyone's head hurt a little? Just be honest with Facebook. Change it to no.




And here's that John Constable primer I promised you:

arts101 mary


John Constable

  • Born June 1776 – died March 1837
  • English Romantic Painter
  • Landscape artist known for his paintings of Dedham Vale in the Essex-Suffolk area of England, now known as “Constable Country”
  • Most famous works – ‘Dedham Vale’ (1802), ‘The Hay Wain’ (1821), and ‘Wivenhoe Park’ (1816)
  • Inspirations include Thomas Gainsborough, Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Van Ruisdael, and Annibale Carracci
  • Known for the sense of realism and vitality that he imbued in his art
  • Known for taking landscape painting in a new direction
  • Believed his paintings should come as directly as possible from nature
  • Made hundreds of outdoor oil sketches, capturing the changing skies and effects of light.
  • Happiest painting locations he knew well, particularly in his native Suffolk. He also frequently painted in Salisbury, Brighton and Hampstead, making numerous studies of the clouds over the Heath.
  • Received little recognition in Britain in his lifetime, but was much better known in France.
  • In 1824, ‘The Hay Wain’ won a gold medal at the Salon in Paris and Constable had a profound influence on French Romantic artists.


Third Annual Figure Out: A Figurative Nude Art Show brought to you by Planned Parenthood and Tapp's Arts Center

Dalvin Mustafa Spann  

Tapp's Arts Center (1644 Main St.) will continue its partnership with Planned Parenthood South Atlantic by joining with local artists to celebrate the human figure. A fundraiser in its third year, Figure Out will include painting, drawing, sculpture, mixed media, film and photography.


Leslie Pierce

The exhibition will include a special wall of art by Leslie Pierce. Pierce, who passed away earlier this year, was a volunteer and director of adult programming and partnerships at Columbia Museum of Art. She was a beloved supporter of the arts in Columbia who became involved in Figure Out in 2013, as an exhibiting artist and as a committee member.


Sandra Carr

In addition to special events surrounding the show, Figure Out will be on exhibit throughout the month of September at Tapp’s. This show is curated by Molly Harrell and Billy Guess. Proceeds from art sales support the work of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.


Figure Out Special Events

•       Wednesday, Sept. 2, 5:30-7 p.m.: Sponsor/ artist reception

•       Thursday, Sept. 3, 6-10 p.m. (during First Thursday on Main): Figure Out opening night.

•       Wednesday, Sept. 16, 12 – 1:30 p.m.: Panel discussion and lunch on Art & Sexuality. A light lunch will be provided for attendees who register in advance by

More than 40 artists will participate and have pieces on display as part of Figure Out, including Michaela Pilar Brown, Sarah Madison Brown, Billy Guess, Ron Hagell, Molly Harrell, Whitney LeJeune, Dre. Lopez, Gwynn Pevonka, Kirkland Smith and Dalvin “Mustafa” Spann.


For more information about Tapp’s Arts Center, visit or call (803) 988-0013.


About Tapps Arts Center Tapps Arts Center is the premier contemporary art center in downtown historic Columbia. Tapps is a gathering place for creative exploration and is dedicated to bridging connections in creativity by offering workshops, classes, affordable studio rentals, exhibition space and cultural events to help artists and art enthusiast create, learn and grow.


About Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Each year Planned Parenthood South Atlantic serves thousands of women, men, and teens. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic provides high-quality, nonjudgmental, reproductive healthcare and medically accurate, age-appropriate sexuality education. Our services include vital life-saving cancer screenings, STD/STI prevention, testing and treatment and access to safe, legal and ethical abortion services.




Come Figure Out what Tapp’s is Excited About (Nudes. It’s Nudes.)

figure out Tapps Art Center presents the second annual showing of Figure Out: A Figurative Art Show.  The show will open on First Thursday and run through Saturday, September 27.

A mix of painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, and film, all of the pieces will depict the human form in one way or another.  A panel lunch on art and sexuality including artists, educators, and coalition partners will occur on Wednesday, September 17 at noon.

In addition to the artwork, the event on Thursday night will feature live music by Lindsay Holler’s Western Polaroids and an interactive drawing lesson by Said Bouftass, a Moroccan artist who studied in Paris, and is now the artist-in-residence at Redbird Studio.  Bouftass will teach participants how to do large-scale portraits, pictures larger than life-size in an effort to actually use the body while drawing it.

Opening night is September 4, 6 - 10 pm at Tapp’s Art Center on 1644 Main St.

- Kirby Knowlton