Jasper Project Executive Director Cindi Boiter and Denise Gadson Receive the Richland Library Friends and Foundation’s 2018 Awards

By: Christina Xan

The Jasper Project is happy to share that the Richland Library Friends and Foundation is honoring two South Carolina women and their dedication to our community.

The Richland Library Friends and Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support Richland Library by raising awareness and financial support. Each year they recognize individuals who have supported literacy in Columbia.

This year, the two awards will acknowledge the achievements of women in Richland County who have contributed to our literary community and local libraries in their own unique ways. First, receiving the Lucy Hampton Bostick Award, is our own Cindi Boiter, and second, receiving the Ethel Bolden Minority Scholarship, is Denise Gadson.

According to the Richland Library, “the Lucy Hampton Bostick Award offers a custom, hand-blown glass award and cash honorarium while recognizing a South Carolina author, someone who has written a significant literary work on South Carolina, or someone in the Midlands who has significantly advanced the interest in books or libraries.” This award is named after a long-time head librarian in Richland County and former Richland Library director (1928-1968) who is “credited with fostering interest in Southern literature and history, improving cultural life in Columbia, and promoting library appreciation throughout the state.”

Cindi Boiter has been chosen to receive the award this year as a fierce advocate of the literary arts. Boiter was a freelance writer for 20 years and has published a book of award-winning stories. After teaching Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina for a number of years, she went on to become the founder of The Jasper Project and Jasper Magazine, of which she is the Editor-in-Chief.

Likewise, the Ethel Bolden Minority Scholarship provides $3,500 in financial support for students from “underrepresented ethnic and racial groups, who are working toward the completion of a Master of Library and Information Science degree at the University of South Carolina.” This scholarship was created in 2010 and named after Bolden to recognize her years of service to the Richland County community and its libraries.

Denise Gadson has been chosen for this award this year for her continual passion for reading and for helping others, both children and adults, on their journey towards gaining that same passion as well. Gadson is the author of children’s book Penelope's World Famous Cookies and is currently seeking to further her education along in order to continue aiding others in their quest for knowledge.

The Richland Library Friends and Foundation has plans to formally recognize these wonderful women during a reception in 2019 (date TBA).

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Keith Tolen Opens Jasper's First Tiny Gallery Series this First Thursday at Tapp's

Artist Keith Tolen - photo by Michael Dantzler

Artist Keith Tolen - photo by Michael Dantzler

The Jasper Project is bringing a brand new project to light during First Thursday this month: The Tiny Gallery Series.


Jasper’s goal with this project is twofold – to support artists in our community and to encourage budding art collectors to start their collections. During upcoming First Thursdays, Jasper will be teaming up with local artists to display their work for sale at affordable prices in their studio at Tapp’s Art Center.


Kicking off the first series is local artist and South Carolina native, Keith Tolen. “I’m honored that I’m kicking this off; it’s hard to believe,” Tolen said with a chuckle as we chatted over coffee, “But I’m nervous too. I want to do this event justice.”


Tolen has been studying and working on his craft for decades now. An art education major in college, he worked in both retail and real estate before landing the job as an art teacher at Camden Middle School – a job he cared for and worked at for 30 years.


Beyond teaching, Tolen has been creating art since a young boy. He and his brothers used to draw together, and Tolen’s first love was film and photography. When he focused on painting in college, he became heavily influenced by the abstract expressionist styles of the 1970s, the art style that still influences him today. In his recent years, Tolen has tried to challenge himself by taking classes in different art styles, such as still life. All of these influences come together for his Tiny Gallery Series where there is one thing in particular to expect: eggs.

Keith Tolen egg.jpg

Tolen said that the form of the egg is key for painting. It is between shapes, not circle or oval, pointed at the top, and plays with light and shadow in simple yet complex ways. He is using eggs in these paintings as a “balance of the simplicity of the egg and the chaos of abstract expressionism.”  


“I hope these eggs take on a personality and travel from canvas to canvas, taking on the identity of its surroundings while still maintaining its own integrity,” Tolen says, “I love color, and the challenge with these paintings was to have backgrounds rich with color but for the eggs to be the draw, to be very neutral.”


This will be the third time Tolen has shown his egg paintings this year, the first two times both to a positive critical reception. When asked about past accolades in his career, however, Tolen told a powerful story about a young girl in his first 6th grade class who took her passion for origami and taught an entire class of 50 students her art, holding their attention on a Friday far after the bell had rang.


“I could sell a painting for a million dollars,” Tolen said, “But it wouldn’t compare to the moment that girl stood in front of her peers and captivated them with her art.”


From this comes the importance of an event like the Tiny Gallery Series. Like what that girl did for her class, “Art inspires us; it educates us.” Tolen said.


When asked about his goal for his paintings in particular Tolen said, “There’s two things I want people to say. Either ‘I can do that’ or ‘I appreciate that.’ I want people to see my paintings and be inspired to go use their creativity and make something of their own, and if not to at least look at them and know they mean something special.”

Tiny Gallery Series Graphic 2 JPG.jpg

This event is, again, not just a chance to see art from local artists but to help the community of Columbia start their own art collections. “It’s important to have art in the home beyond just for exposure,” Tolen says, “Having original art on your walls builds bonds, connections, and it demystifies the idea that only certain people can experience art. Art is for everyone.”

Future artists participating in the Tiny Gallery Series include Olga Yukhno, Bonnie Goldberg, Dave Robbins, and more.

To see Tolen’s work, stop by Tapp’s Art Center in Studio #7 starting at 6:00 p.m. this Thursday, October 4th, and be sure take a piece of his passion home for yourself.

—Christina Xan


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Celebrating Jazz on Main Street - by Mike Miller

This First Thursday Jazz is the Main Event

main street jazz fest.jpg

     Thirty years ago, a Columbia restaurant owner named Veron Melonas and his trumpet-playing pal Johnny Helms decided that Columbia needed a cool jazz party right on Main Street. Melonas owned the Elite Epicurean, a top-notch eatery right across the street from City Hall, and he said, “Why don’t we put the stage right outside?” Helms knew a lot of jazz players in New York, so he got on the phone and invited several of them down to the South Carolina capital city. Just like that, a jazz festival was born.

     “Jazz on Main” as it was called was first staged in July of 1987, and it ran for 10 years. One of the festival’s first performers, pianist Marian McPartland, called it “a true happening,” and it was pretty special. Musicians who came to Columbia during those years included trumpeter Clark Terry, saxophonist Jimmy Heath, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, and bassist Milt Hinton, just to name a few.

     To celebrate the 30th anniversary of that first “Jazz on Main” show, November’s First Thursday on Main will become a jazz festival of sorts. But this will not be a nostalgic event. It will showcase many of Columbia’s current crop of talented jazz musicians, players such as Mark Rapp, Tony Lee, Amos Hoffman, and Sam Edwards. Columbia jazz veterans such as Dick Goodwin, Danny Boozer, Robert Gardiner, and Jim Mings will also be performing.  

     Festivities begin at 6 p.m., and there will be live music at several locations on Main Street. Trumpeter Mark Rapp is the prime mover on Columbia’s contemporary jazz scene, and his quartet will be performing in the Main Street Public House. The guitar duo of Mings and Monte Craig will be in front of Mast General Store, and a revolving array of local jazz stars, including guitarist Hoffman, bassist Edwards, trombonist Mitch Butler, and drummer Boozer, will play on a stage in Boyd Plaza outside the Columbia Museum of Art. Add trumpeter Goodwin and the Tony Lee Group to the mix on Boyd Plaza, and you’ve got one of the most impressive collection of jazz players to come together in Columbia in quite some time.

     Back in 1987, there was an impressive array of jazz artists playing around town as well. Goodwin’s big band played weekly shows in a club called Greenstreet’s. Guitarist Terry Rosen and bassist Frank Duvall could be heard often at happy hour in the Five Points restaurant Garibaldi’s. But the most adventurous jazz happening took place on Tuesday night in Pug’s, a Five Points bar named after owner Pug Wallace. Weekly jam sessions there featured players such as drummers Reggie Ritter and Ted Linder, guitarists Mings and Rosen, trumpeters Al McClain and Helms, keyboardists John Drake and John Emche, and saxophonists Hans Tueber, Roger Pemberton, and a teenager named Chris Potter. For Columbia jazz fans, those nights in Pug’s were not to be missed.

     Today’s Columbia jazz scene is just as vibrant, and truth be told, it’s more diverse and active than its counterpart from three decades ago. Jazz can still be heard in Five Points at Speakeasy’s on Saluda Street. But the epicenter for jazz has moved uptown to places such as Public House on Main, Gervais and Vine, and Pearlz in the Vista.

     Other Columbia nightspots are featuring jazz nights, and there are many other exceptional musicians playing around town than just the ones mentioned above. It’s a great time for jazz artists and fans in Columbia, and that’s why it seemed like a good idea to revive the spirit of “Jazz on Main” and celebrate this cool, complex, and free-flowing music in the capital city.     

Girls Rock Roulette 2017 - by Bria Barton

... some bigger girls are getting their chance to shine.

girls rock roulette.jpg

An ensemble of rocker chicks is strumming, drumming and singing their way to New Brookland Tavern on Sept. 23 to show off what it means to have girl power.


Girls Rock Columbia is hosting Rock Roulette 2017, a fundraising event that goes toward funding their Girls Rock Camp and year-round programming.


Although Girls Rock strives to teach their younger members the splendors of music and self-confidence, on this night, some bigger girls are getting their chance to shine.


“At Girls Rock Camp, we always remind our campers that their most powerful instrument is their voice. It's really important to us that our adult volunteers and supporters have opportunities to use their voices just like our campers,” Jess Oliver, Girls Rock Columbia executive director, says. “We lead by example, so it's good to be able to empathize during camp week when we are asking them to do something that might be intimidating. This is a great opportunity for volunteers who might want to work on building up their confidence in front of an audience because they will have their band mates up there with them for support.”


Last month, the Girls Rock ladies were each assigned a band in preparation for Rock Roulette 2017. Over the last couple of weeks, their task has been to practice their instruments and compose at least one original song with their respective band members.


“I am most excited about the people who have never played an instrument. One of my band members is playing keyboard for the first time, and she showed up to rehearsal absolutely glowing,” Oliver says. “It helps me remember that, yeah, we are largely a summer camp for youth, but it's really important to empower each other too. We adults doubt ourselves sometimes and feel small and powerless too, so it's important to take the opportunity to do something brave and remember, ‘Oh yeah... I ROCK!’”


Those participating in Rock Roulette 2017 are also individually raising money for Girls Rock through their own Razoo links, which they have posted on their social media. Oliver encourages people to donate because every dollar goes “directly to Girls Rock Columbia's future programming.”


Oliver believes that the public should come out and support Rock Roulette 2017 because it might just be that inspirational push a person needs in order to step out of their comfort zone. Additionally, she says, “[Rock Roulette is] bound to be a fun and energetic night of community and positivity” and that the audience can expect to see “a lot of really big smiles.”


“I'm also really happy that we have some community members participating in Rock Roulette who have never volunteered with us,” Oliver says. “We want to continue to grow, and this is one way we can keep making connections.”


Rock Roulette 2017 begins at 8PM. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at http://www.ticketfly.com/event/1559008. They will also be available at the door.

Rocio Zalba Directs Julia Vargas' SYZYGY Play Visitemos a la Abuela - Performed Entirely in Spanish by Palmetto Luna's La Tropa

“This collaboration and inclusivity reminds us that art has no borders,” -- Rocio Zalba, director, Visitemos a la Abuela


Thursday, August 17th six ten-minute plays will be shown at Tapp’s Art Center each with approximately two and a half minutes of darkness to commemorate the total solar eclipse that will darken Columbia for the same amount of time on August 21st.


The Jasper Project invited six playwrights to create one of the unique plays to be performed at 7pm and 10pm with a free reception honoring the playwrights from 9-10pm.


Director Rocio Zalba will be directing the play Vistemos a la Abuela written by Julia Vargas. The play will be performed completely in Spanish by theatre troupe La Tropa including Lucy Jaimes, Ysaul Flores, and José Luis Gallardo. Zalba is a Spanish instructor at USC.


Zalba got involved in the Syzygy event when Ivan Segura of Palmetto Luna, a non-profit organization that works to create awareness of Latino art and culture in South Carolina, asked if she could direct the play.


“This collaboration and inclusivity reminds us that art has no borders,” says Zalba. 


The characters comprise a family which the play focuses on. La Abuela is played by Jaimes. The father and son of the Grandmother, Pedro, is played by Flores. And the son of the father, Daniel is played by Gallardo.


“The play is about the human disconnection that occurs when we make technology the only means in which we connect to others,” says Zalba. “This is demonstrated through the discord that occurs within different generations in a family unit.”


Because of the themes of family and connection in the play, the audience can relate to the play regardless of their knowledge of Spanish.


The need to connect with others is universal,” says Zalba.


Zalba is most excited about directing the two minutes and forty-one seconds of darkness in the play.


“Since our play is in Spanish and our audience may be mainly composed of English speakers, we had to figure out a way to communicate with our audience what is happening on stage without much dialogue,” says Zalba.


A limited edition, bound volume of the nine poems and six plays will be available for purchase to commemorate this historic time in the state’s history and culture.


Tickets to see the six plays are $10 at 7pm and 10pm on August 17th at Tapp’s Art Center.

by Karie Grace Duncan

Bakari Lebby Directs Jon Tuttle & Cindy Turner's SYZYGY Play, One Another

Bakari (Kari) Lebby - photo by Singing Fox Creatives

Bakari (Kari) Lebby - photo by Singing Fox Creatives

by Jenna Schiferl


In astronomy, syzygy is the alignment of three celestial objects.  The origins of the word date back to as early as Ancient Greece, where the word suzugos meant ‘yoked’ and ‘paired.’


As part of the upcoming total solar eclipse celebrations in Columbia, The Jasper Project is launching a three-part series featuring South Carolina’s top poets, playwrights, directors, and actors.  SYZYGY will kick off on Thursday, Aug. 17 with a poetry invitational and book release at the newly renovated Richland County Public Library Auditorium.  Later that day will begin the SYZYGY: THE PLAYS. Six local playwrights were asked to create a 10-minute piece with three actors or less.  The only other requirement was that each performance includes two and a half minutes of “darkness” to continue in the theme of the solar eclipse.  Finally, the project will conclude with SYZYGY: POSTMORTEM, a panel discussion and reflection led by playwright Jon Tuttle and Columbia Poet Laureate Ed Madden.  The discussion will delve into topics such as the processes of culture transitioning to art and its effectiveness.


University of South Carolina graduate Bakari Lebby will direct Jon Tuttle and Cindy Turner’s drama, One Another.


Jasper executive and editor-in-chief Cindi Boiter approached Lebby to direct the play, who was immediately on board.


According to Lebby, One Another is incredibly relevant to the current political climate.


One Another is about trust and privilege. I believe it is a very timely piece,” Lebby says.  “I'm excited for people to view this piece and contemplate its relevance to this country and them personally.”


Although the play is limited to 10 minutes, Lebby and his team are working to create a fully developed and cohesive storyline.


“We're working hard to flesh out a full true story,” Lebby says.


The three actors featured in the play are Akida Lebby, Jason Stokes, and Avery Bateman.  Lebby emphasized the impressive cast when asked why individuals should be interested in seeing the play.


“We have veteran Trustus Company members and my little brother, so I think it's worth seeing their artistic prowess,” he says.  “I'm very stoked and thankful for this opportunity, and I hope we keep pushing the boundaries of theatre, art, and the culture of Columbia.”


Ultimately, the night will be one with themes of alignment, synchronization, and of course – darkness.


SYZYGY: The Solar Eclipse Plays will be performed at 7 pm and 10 pm on Thursday, August 17th with a reception honoring the artists at 9 pm. Tickets are $10 and are available at https://www.tappsartscenter.com/

Playwright Jon Tuttle   

Playwright Jon Tuttle


Cassie Premo Steele Talks with Syzygy Poetry Open Call Winners Ann Humphries & Maggie Olszewski


Interview with Ann Humphries and Maggie Olszewski


Jasper asked Cassie Premo Steele, who adjudicated the Syzygy New Voices of the Eclipse poetry contest for new and emerging writers, to talk to the winners about their poetry and processes.


Maggie Olszewski, whose poem, “The Nature of Shadow,” was chosen as the contest winner, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and she is 16 years old. She has been writing ever since the age of 6, when she wrote her first piece—a Harry Potter fanfiction. This year she is attending South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, where she will further pursue her craft.


Ann Humphries is also from Columbia, where she studied poetry with Nikky Finney and Ed Madden at USC. Her poem, “An Eclipse and A Butcher,” was chosen as the honorable mention in the contest. She has also earned Ultimate Outsider status for visiting all 47 state parks — as the only blind person to finish. She has a guide dog and tree named in her honor.


Cassie: Since this was a contest for new and emerging writers, can you tell us a little about why you entered the contest and how it felt? This might be helpful to others who may be hesitant to submit their work.


Maggie: This prompt really hit home for me. As someone who is deeply invested and interested in the science behind the upcoming eclipse, the idea to convey my feelings towards it artistically hadn't occurred to me. It felt great to take the prompt and shape my own thoughts around it. 


Ann: I loved this prompt. I became deliciously lost in the research. I spun five poems about the eclipse. 


Cassie: Can you say a little about what the process of writing poetry is like for you?


Maggie: I usually sit down with a rough idea of where I want to go or end up—often a first line, a theme, or a story. I get my thoughts onto paper and revise in a couple of days.


Cassie: When you have a specific assignment, such as you did for this poem about the eclipse, is your writing process different?


Maggie: Yes. When I have a specific assignment, I don't wait to revise. I plan the structure of the poem before I start and make sure I have a stronger sense of what I'm trying to accomplish. 


Ann: I appreciate deadlines. I played in the research, asked myself what would be a unique perspective. What I especially admired about this contest is its intersection of science, visual art, poetry, even plays, culture, history, and technology. This contest took me to fresh reservoirs of writing.


Cassie: What's your sense of the poetry and arts scene in Columbia?


Ann: Bursting with life! And Jasper is a nexus for collaboration across the genres. By the way, I searched the country for comparable contests. All I could find were readings and plays in Oregon and Illinois. Good for Jasper! Bravo to the SC Humanities Council.


Maggie: I know quite a few actors and artists through my father, but not as many as more established writers might (obviously). From what I can tell, everyone seems to know everyone, and there's an immense amount of collaboration and supportiveness that goes on. It seems like a really cool thing to be a part of. 


Cassie: And if you could wave a magic wand and make something happen in the city, what would it be?


Ann: Bring back the Book Festival - or fully support Deckle Edge. I savored every morsel, would have pitched a tent. If only we could have clones to attend all the events.  


Maggie: Hm. That's a good question. I'd probably clear the city of litter. It's not too bad in my little corner of Columbia, but I've driven through areas that could really do for a cleanup. Maybe we could get all the artists together to clean up the city and make an art project from it!


Cassie: I love that idea! Anything else you'd like to share?


Ann: I'm becoming a Jasper Guild member.


Maggie: And I’m really grateful for this opportunity.


Cassie: Thank you both.


Jasper thanks Cassie for all her efforts in this project - from adjudicating the open call to participating as a poet in the Syzygy Poetry Invitational.

If YOU'D like to become a member of the Jasper Guild like, Ann (and thank you, Ann!), just click on "Store" at this website's main page.

Look for Ann and Maggie's poems in the Fall 2017 issue of Jasper Magazine.

Join us on Thursday, August 17th at 3 pm in the first floor auditorium of Richland Library to hear Ann, Maggie, Cassie, and a spectacular cast of South Carolina's most elite poets read their poetry in response to the eclipse at SYZYGY: The Poetry (free). Then join us at 7 pm or 10 pm at Tapp's Arts Center for the performance of SYZYGY: The Plays ($10).


Cassie Premo Steele is the author of 14 books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, including Earth Joy Writing (2015) and Beautiful Waters (2016).  She has recently completed a novel about mindfulness called The Lessons of Birds and is working on a poetry collection called Tongues in Trees. She works as a writing coach with women from around the world and lives in Columbia with her musician/web developer wife and laughter-inducing daughter. 

Cassie Premo Steele is the author of 14 books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, including Earth Joy Writing (2015) and Beautiful Waters (2016).  She has recently completed a novel about mindfulness called The Lessons of Birds and is working on a poetry collection called Tongues in Trees. She works as a writing coach with women from around the world and lives in Columbia with her musician/web developer wife and laughter-inducing daughter. 

Summer Lovin' Lip Sync Battle Brings Arts & Culture Community Leaders Together for the Arts

By Bria Barton

Intern, The Jasper Project

Richland Library's Tony Tallent as Libba Rae Shun -- For the Arts & The Jasper Project

Richland Library's Tony Tallent as Libba Rae Shun -- For the Arts & The Jasper Project

What happens when you mix the refined art of lip-syncing, a fierce and fabulous drag queen, and a whole lot of Columbia talent in one space?  You get The Jasper Project’s highly amusing and much anticipated Summer Lovin’ Lip Sync Battle on July 7 at Tapp’s Art Center.


“You can think of the Summer Lovin’ Lip Sync Battle as a whole bundle of goodness wrapped up with a big, beautiful bow,” Tony Tallent, emcee and special guest performer, says.  “Summer Lovin’ offers the opportunity for anyone to take to the stage for the evening, get their moves on, and embody those irresistible songs that make them feel like a star.”


The fundraising event will go toward benefitting The Jasper Project and the many projects and happenings it organizes throughout the year.


“We've got a lot going on, and we can't do it without our friends, volunteers, and patrons,” Barry Wheeler, President of The Jasper Project Board of Directors, says.  “Fall Lines, our literary publication, is coming out August 6th and just before that on August 4th, we’re sponsoring the preview of the play, Black Super Hero Magic Mama at Trustus, and on Thursday, August 17th, we're putting on Syzygy: The Solar Eclipse Plays, a night of poetry and theatre.  Our next Jasper Magazine will be published in September and the 2nd Act Film Festival follows in October.”


The Jasper Project’s history of flamboyant lip sync showdowns has its beginnings in December 2016 when a Christmas-themed battle took place after the Jasper Artists of the Year Awards.  The success and enjoyment of the first show made for an easy decision to host another. Winners were Abigail McNeely, who is co-chairing this fundraiser wit Bonnie Boiter-Jolley, and Tallent, who was the People's Choice Award Winner.


“It was clever, playful entertainment that brought the crowd to its feet.  It was natural to bring this element into this July’s fundraiser and add a little summer lovin’ to it,” Tallent says.


The line up of performers features a wide array of talent from both members and admirers of the Columbia city arts and culture communities including Jordan Lawrence from the Free Times, Lee Snelgrove of One Columbia, Mario Guevara of Columbia Music of Art, Jenny Mae Hill, Ashley Hayes, Al Black, Kayla Cayhill, Mark Ziegler, Nancy Marine, Abby Ludwig, Chris Cockrell, Tiffany James, Kendrick Marion, Cory Alpert, and more. Celebrity judges, who are also slated to perform, will include Raven Black, Abigail McNeely, Wade Sellers, and Deborah Adedokun.


The master of ceremonies, Tallent will be hosting the event—as well as performing a special act—under his drag persona, Libba Rae Shun.


“One way to describe Libba Rae Shun is this: If Marie Antoinette married a Suffragette and they had a baby named Joan Jett,” Tallent says.  “So, Libba Rae is really a type of embodiment for the concepts and sometimes contradictions that keep me alert, fascinated or pleasantly confused and wondering.   Ultimately and obviously, Libba Rae is about liberating yourself, fearless expression and dressing-up-and-out for the occasion—all the occasions. And this is certainly one of them.”


Guests can expect a head-to-head lip sync off for the championship as well as many surprises thrown in throughout the night, Boiter-Jolley, an organizer of the Summer Lovin’ Lip Sync Battle, says.


Audience members can also get in on the action by buying votes for $1 to help support their favorite lip-syncing competitors and The Jasper Project.


“The Jasper Project illustrates what can happen when artful dreams and intentions come alive.  Jasper not only celebrates our community, it honors and supports the multi-faceted talent and vision flowing throughout our area,” Tallent says.  “Plus, this fundraiser is set simply to be a great deal of fun with some fantastic, supportive, progressive-minded community members.”


Although the arts can be a fairly serious matter, the Summer Lovin’ Lip Sync Battle showcases the perfect contrast for an evening filled with quirky characters, whimsy, and plenty of laughs.


“Creative people channel their creativity into projects that fulfill an itch, and sometimes that means creating an outrageously fun spectacle,” Wheeler says.  “A little fun and frivolity is necessary every now and then. And there's not much better than folks from our rich community of artists coming together to do some lip sync battles.”


Tickets are priced at $10 and can be purchased at www.Tappsartcenter.com.

All-Arts Trivia-Yeah w/Guest Quizmasters this Sunday Night at The Whig

trivia How much fun was Trivi-Yeah at the Whig, back when Eric Bargeron would slam us up against the wall with what was probably the most clever (and often) most difficult questions in town? Winning was usually out of the question (thanks Les Frogs!), but placing was a thrill! Hell, just winning the best team name was a hoot, even though it was usually because someone who will remain nameless screeched like a banshee.

Well, Trivi-Yeah is back for one night only courtesy of the good folks at the Whig and it benefits the Jasper Project -- and this time Quizmaster Bargeron has created an all-arts slate of questions to spin our brains out of control. And to make it even more interesting, we've asked some guest quizmasters to come in and ask a few questions about local arts and award all kinds of fun prizes in between the standard Bargeron rounds.


Eric Bargeron, Quizmaster


Guest Quizmasters:

JAY Julia Elliott

Julia/Liz Elliott - Author of The Wilds and The New Improved Romie Futch


Larry Hembree, formerly of the Nick, Trustus, SCAC, and current president of the Board of Directors for the Jasper Project


Kari Lebby, musician, podcaster, pop maven, pretty boy


William Starrett, artistic and executive director of Columbia City Ballet


Wade Sellers, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, Columbia mover & shaker, and film editor for Jasper Magazine


Prizes include swag from lots of your favorite arts organizations, books, t-shirts, mugs, pens, stickers, buttons, etc., plus the regular Whig treats and goodies.

6 - 8 pm, Sunday September 25th

$5 suggested tax-deductible donation to the Jasper Project, who brings you Jasper Magazine, 2nd Act Film Festival, Fall Lines - a literary convergence, Marked by the Water, Wet Ink Spoken Word Poetry, and more

For more info -- click here!


New Film in Works -- "Rising" by Ron Hagell with Terrance Henderson

Rising_Logo “Rising ”is a new contemporary dance film by Ron Hagell, with choreography by Terrance Henderson. It is being made for The Jasper Project as a part of the “Marked by the Water” commemoration of the first anniversary of the 1000 Year Flood on October 4, 2016.


Both Hagell and Henderson have felt strongly that the artists of Columbia need to “make artwork” in response to this major event that brought upheaval to so many lives in our hometown. To that end both artists, experienced in dance and filmmaking, came together to devise this new work.


The artists were close to some of those whose homes were engulfed on the night of October 4, 2015 particularly along Gills Creek in the Rosewood section of the city. In the aftermath many had lost a lifetime’s worth of treasured possessions and their homes but thankfully, with the help of neighbors and strangers, few lives were lost.


Talking through the disaster’s lead-up and with a good deal of knowledge of the community since the flood, both felt that there has been a change in our community and that a comment about this could be the starting point for new work.


If we think back to our state and town in the years and months leading up to this event it is clear that South Carolina has been in a socio-cultural slump for some time. There were many problems that came to a head prior to the flood. The Charleston shooting happened and this lead to the final chapter in the decades long struggle to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the Statehouse grounds. While one negative incident led to a positive one, the economic and political plight of many blacks and other citizens of the state did not change. Old problems of inequality and racial division seemed as intractable as ever. The SC State Supreme Court ruling regarding basic education rights for all children showed us how serious the situation had become. But many still believed that, even with these news headlines, change would only come in the far distant future - if at all.


Then the flood came.


Since the flood came so quickly and waters rose to heights never before witnessed in living memory, those affected needed a great deal of assistance from across the whole community. In most areas the destruction was so great that normal services could not cope. In these cases many communities saw neighbors and stranger helping each other in a myriad of ways regardless of race or social standing. The flood brought down barriers and in their place we have felt a change that has stayed around. It’s a ripple on the surface of our town, where history runs deeper than the three rivers. But it’s there and we hope it will lead to a new beginning and a bridge to change.


Our dance film speaks to this hopeful future but rests in the arms of our Southern traditional/spiritual music. As with most contemporary dance, every element of the work is symbolic. The historic photograph stands-in for much that is lost – washed away by the waters. But still our victim is helped to rise from the flood into a new life with the help of others.





“Rising” Film Production Organization:

Production: Studio 53 – Contact: Ron Hagell or Shirley Smith

Telephone: (917) 216-2098 or (803) 609-0840


Filmmaker (script and direction) – Ron Hagell

Choreographer and Music Arranger – Terrance Henderson

Principal Vocalist – Katrina Blanding

Supporting Vocals – Terrance Henderson and Kendrick Marion

Art Director – Eileen Blyth

Auditions are currently underway for dancers and additional crew. The film will be completed in late September for screening on October 4, 2016.

This film is being produced under the auspices of the Jasper Project as a part of “Marked by the Water,” under the leadership of Cynthia Boiter, Ed Madden and Mary Gilkerson.




Frozen Ghosts, Black Hole (2010) by Columbia, SC native Osamu Kobayashi, born 1984 - oil on canvas)  

"This is the simplest form / of current: Blue / moving through blue; / blue through purple; / the objects of desire / opening upon themselves / without us.” — "The Way Things Work", Jorie Graham


This is how it feels to walk through the Columbia Museum of Art's Big & Bold exhibit. The  exhibition room is flooded with bright color and light, every painting and sculpture seems iridescent.  For example, the painting Cape II by Sam Gilliam is a series of currents and pools of color, threading against and bleeding into one another.  The piece looms over spectators, several feet taller than any person.  Most art exhibits are curated under a certain theme, typically unified by the subject of the work or similarities between the artists.  However, Big & Bold isn’t a collection 20th century cigar paintings, or a display of Southern female photographers.  The work displayed was chosen for its emphasis on artistic concepts outside of the subject — every work seems to be an exploration of texture, luminosity, or medium.  The exhibit also seeks to answer the question: does size matter?


Cape II - Sam Gilliam (1970 acrylic on canvas)

Gilliam (born Tupelo, MS 1933) is a color field painter, meaning he poured acrylic paint directly onto an unprimed canvas.  Except, color field painting was too flat and literal for Gilliam.  He began bunching up the canvas, so that the paint flowed in the particular direction he wanted.  The canvas itself was used as art, adding newfound element — a more holistic, immersive feeling to the work.  Similarly, David Budd's painting Mars Black is a plain, all-black canvas, at least from afar.  However, closer, one can see that Budd was obsessed with what goes into making a painting, every little brush stroke.  It shows each layer of glimmering paint, each lifted scale, a city of texture.  This piece illustrates how much effort goes into each individual stroke, the entirety of the excoriating art-making process.  Each work in Big & Bold has a sense of innovation to it and a larger-than-life history.


For example, the most famous piece is inarguably a print from Andy Warhol’s Mao series.  This 1976 print displays Mao Zedong, the totalitarian Chinese ruler, in gaudy neon colors, lathered on his face like stage makeup.  A man named Bruno Bischofberger encouraged Warhol to paint a picture of the most important person in the 20th century, suggesting he do Albert Einstein.  However, Warhol chose to do Mao.  With that, he turned a man who campaigned against individualism and capitalism into a monument to artistry and consumerism.  Warhol rapidly reproduced the prints of Mao in different sizes and color schemes — the height of product availability, a harlequin oxymoron.


Phil III by Chuck Close

Big & Bold displays that size does matter.  It helps convey a feeling and a story.  A photorealist, Chuck Close’s Phil is a hyperrealistic, enormous portrait of the composer Philip Glass.  Close (born Monroe, WA, 1940) suffers from face blindness, a neurological disorder that affects the patient's ability to recognize faces.  The photograph confronts that troubling reality, and emphasized his ability to overcome his disorder, with two-dimensional, stationary faces being all that he can understand.  This struggle would not seem merely as pronounced if Phil could hang in a bathroom.  Amy Fichter’s illustration Breasts, a series of colorful lines that form a women’s boldly stuck-out chest, stands against the societal rejection of women’s bodies.  It wouldn’t be nearly as rebellious and unabashed if it could fold into a back pocket.  Most strikingly, however, Big & Bold shows how important certain things are to the artists, and what they want to say the loudest.


The exhibit runs through October 23, 2016 - for more info check out Columbia Museum of Art


New Reaches for Yemassee Journal, a Poetry Contest, & a Performance Thursday Night at Boyd Plaza by Maya Marshall

Yemassee Logo
Yemassee Journal founded in 1993, is the graduate student-run literary journal of the University of South Carolina’s MFA creative writing program. We're seeking exceptional and surprising writing from a range of national and international voices.
We publish fiction, poetry and nonfiction, and we're open for submissions year round. Check out our submittable page. We run an annual contest in poetry and fiction, which opens November 1st. This year we'll be holding our inaugural chapbook contest.
The editors, Maya Marshall, Tracie Dawson, and Emylisa Warrick, are dedicated to growing the in-person presence of the journal. We want to grow the literary conversation around what's relevant in this city, region, and country. So we publish reviews, interviews, and artwork that speak to the world we live in now. We provide a platform for emerging and established writers. To level the playing field we run contests in which we offer $750 for an exceptional poem, $750 for an exceptional piece of fiction and $1000 for an outstanding chapbook.
The 2017 Yemassee Poetry Contest will be judged by Jericho Brown (The New Testament). The final fiction and chapbook judges are TBD. Look to our website for details in October.
As we move toward developing a deep relationship with the community arts scene in Columbia, we would very much like to share space in the growing Columbia art scene. To that end we will be hosting a few events throughout the year.
You can catch us at the Jasper Project's Summer in the City Arts Showcase on August 4th. Also, we'll be hosting, a joint reading the RHINO journal at Drip in Five Points at 729 Saluda on August 20th.
-- Maya Marshall

Fall Lines 2016 Award Winners Announced (& Photos!)

Fall Lines  

Congratulations to Selected Contributors to

Fall Lines - a literary convergence, Volume III

and Prize Winners

Jasper assistant editor Kyle Petersen with Claire Kemp winner of the Broad River Prize for Prose

Claire Kemp - Winner of the Broad River Prize for Prose

Claire Kemp's short fiction, The Doll Maker, was selected from finalists by award winning, Columbia-based author Julia Elliott.

Jasper literary arts editor Ed Madden is shown awarding the Saluda River Prize for Poetry to Kathleen Nalley

Kathleen Nalley - Winner of the Saluda River Prize for Poetry

Kathleen Nalley's poem, The last man on the moon, was selected from finalists by South Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth.


Contributors' work selected or invited from more than 300 entries include:

Leah Angstman

Al Black

Julie E. Bloemeke

Laurel Blossom

Davi Travis Bland

Mark Burns

Jonathan Butler

Scott Chalupa

Tim Conroy

Ron Cooper

Pam Durban

Phillip Gardner

Terrance Hayes

Claire Kemp

Michael Miller

Tamara Miles

Patricia Moore-Pastides

Kathleen Nalley

Matthew O'Leary

Frances Pearce

Bo Petersen

Andrew Plant

Ron Rash

Mark Rodehorst

Eileen Scharenbroch

Maggie Schein

Randy Spencer


Additional photos:

Fall lines 16 flowers

Bo Petersen

Eileen Scharenbroch

Julie Bloemeke

Jonathan Butler

Mark Rodehorst

Matthew O'Leary

Michael Miller

Scott Chalupa

Tim Conroy

Travis Bland

Fall Lines 16


Sincerest appreciation to Tapp’s Arts Center, Jonathan & Lorene Haupt, Sara June Goldstein, Bert Easter, One Columbia for Arts & History, Richland Library, Friends of Richland Library, South Carolina Academy of Authors, University of South Carolina Press, Muddy Ford Press, Columbia Museum of Art, SC Philharmonic, Rosewood Art & Music Festival, Deckle Edge Literary Festival,Lee Snelgrove, Annie Boiter-Jolley

photos by Bob Jolley & Julie Bloemeke

Fall Lines Program Announced for Thursday, July 28th at Tapp's

Fall Lines

Thursday, July 28th, 2016 ~ 7 – 9 pm

Tapp’s Arts Center ~ Columbia, SC


7 – 8



8 – 9

Welcome & Recognition of Honored Guests – Cindi Boiter

Awarding of Prizes – Ed Madden & Kyle Petersen


Scott Chalupa

Claire Kemp

Kathleen Nalley

Travis Bland

Matthew O’Leary

Eileen Scharenbroch

Bo Petersen

Mark Rodehorst

Tim Conroy

Julie Bloemeke

Mike Miller

Jonathan Butler


Sincerest appreciation to Tapp’s Arts Center, Jonathan & Lorene Haupt, Sara June Goldstein, Bert Easter, One Columbia for Arts & History, Richland Library, Friends of Richland Library, South Carolina Academy of Authors, University of South Carolina Press, Muddy Ford Press, Columbia Museum of Art, SC Philharmonic, Rosewood Art & Music Festival, Deckle Edge Literary Festival


Fall Lines – a literary convergence launches third issue with a reception and reading at Tapp’s Arts Center July 28th

Fall Lines  


The Columbia Fall Line is a natural junction, along which the Congaree River falls and rapids form, running parallel to the east coast of the country between the resilient rocks of the Appalachians and the softer, more gentle coastal plain. 


Jasper Magazine, in partnership with Richland Library, USC Press, One Columbia, Muddy Ford Press, and The Jasper Project will release the third annual issue of Fall Lines – a literary convergence on Thursday, July 28th from 7 – 9 pm at a free reception at Tapp’s Arts Center. An annual literary journal based in Columbia, SC, Fall Lines was conceived as a mechanism for highlighting Columbia as the literary arts capitol of South Carolina.

A panel of judges selected 30 pieces of poetry and prose, from hundreds of international submissions, for publication in Fall Lines alongside invited pieces from Ron Rash, Terrance Hayes, Pam Durban, Laurel Blossom, and Patricia Moore-Pastides. Two prizes for the literary arts, sponsored by Friends of the Richland Library, will also be awarded including the Saluda River Prize for Poetry to Kathleen Nalley for her poem, “The Last Man on the Moon,” and the Broad River Prize for Prose, awarded to Claire Kemp for her short fiction, “The Dollmaker.”  Adjudicators included SC poet laureate Marjory Wentworth and award-winning author Julia Elliott. In addition, Fall Lines will also publish the winner of the 2016 South Carolina Academy of Authors Coker Fiction Fellowship, “I Can’t Remember What I Was Trying to Forget,” by Phillip Gardner.

The awards ceremony and reception will also feature readings by selected authors whose work is published in this issue of Fall Lines: Scott Chalupa, David Travis Bland, Matthew O’Leary, Mike Miller, Claire Kemp, Kathleen Nalley. Tim Conroy, Julie Bloemeke, Eileen Scharenbroch, Jonathan Butler, and Mark Rodehorst.

The editors of Fall Lines, Cindi Boiter, Ed Madden, and Kyle Petersen, are deeply appreciative of this year’s sponsors including Jonathan and Lorene Haupt, Sara June Goldstein, Richland Library, One Columbia for Arts and History, Muddy Ford Press, Columbia Museum of Art, the SC Philharmonic Orchestra, Rosewood Art and Music Festival, Deckle Edge Literary Festival 2017, and The Whig.

For more information please contact Cindi Boiter at cindiboiter@gmail.com.

Hashing Out the Truth: #InRefugeeShoes Premieres Tonight (12/17/2015) by Haley Sprankle

12339435_1726665004230939_5745986248966202437_o “It's hard for us to put ourselves in other people's shoes, especially if we can't see what is happening.”

That’s how Rosalind Graverson, Events Coordinator of local business Singing Fox Creative, opens up about Syrian refugees. In Turkey alone, there are almost 2 million registered Syrian refugees, fleeing for their safety in the midst of crisis. Backlash against refugees fleeing to America has plagued the media, especially among presidential candidates seeking to gain American approval. Graverson, along with founder of Singing Fox Creative, Catherine Hunsinger, sought to shed a different light on this situation through their short film #InRefugeeShoes.

“Thanks to social media, we live in a world where hate and fear spread faster than wildfire. It's so easy to fight hate with hate; to fight fear with fear - this film is important because it's utterly hate-free,” Hunsinger says. “Our incredible production team, cast, and crew all care about one message and one message only: we are all one. What one of us suffers, we all suffer. If we continue to fight hate with hate, we'll get nowhere. My hope is that this film will inspire others to fight hate with love and to make a positive difference in the world.”

The idea for the project came to Hunsinger while discussing the weight of the refugee situation with friends, and within an hour, she and Graverson assembled a film crew and the majority of their cast.

“I have a few select friends who will allow me to hop up onto my humanitarian soap box and preach from time to time. One day a few weeks ago, I was standing on that proverbial soap box, begging to understand how one can look at a Syrian refugee as anything but a fellow human being - another member of our single most important race: the human race. It hit me that my hushed conversations with friends who already agree with me were making no difference, which is when I decided that I needed to DO something. But how does one have a conversation with someone who doesn't want to listen?” Hunsinger asks. “This was the question that ultimately led us to the film format. How do we ask someone to have a conversation with themselves, with no ideas to argue with but their own? Film. And how do we paint this picture in a way that will help people truly view the Syrian Refugee Crisis through purely human eyes? Paint the picture as if it were happening to US.”

Over the course of three days, the film was shot with a talented group of local film and theatre professionals. Two weeks later, and the film is debuting tonight at Coconuts Tropical Cafe. The premiere event begins at 6:30, with screenings of the film both at 7:00 and at 8:00.

“Before when I thought of refugees, all I saw was the homeless aspect of it. Of course that still is a huge part of it, but these were normal people, with jobs, families, hobbies, pets. Now they're living in fear of ISIS, of losing their families, of each other. It's hard to imagine what it could be like for us, but I'm hoping that the film helps to scratch the surface,” Graverson adds. “My hope is that people will just stop and think. I don't know if it will change anything, but we've already seen some positive feedback so that's really encouraging, telling us that we're on the right path… Maybe this will help us see more kindness and love, or at least some forethought before we post that comment or share that story.”

At the end of the day, this film seeks to bring people together and offer a different perspective to the public about the everyday plight that Syrian refugees continue to face.

“We're in discussions about where to take this project next. I think it's clear that we've got more to do with it - we can make a bigger difference than we imagined. The potential is unreal,” Hunsinger says. “The goal is absolutely to make a difference and to make life easier for our fellow humans worldwide, especially in Syria.”

The Jasper Project presents ARTS101 - A 6-Part Arts Appreciation Lecture Series

arts101 mary Ever wanted to take that art history class you neglected in college or revisit some of the stories of arts greats you may have snoozed through way back when? The Jasper Project is making it easy to brush up on your cultural literacy and we’re doing it in intimate settings with folks you already know and admire.

The Jasper Project presents ARTS101, a series of presentations by Columbia artists of stature about the great artists who have gone before us and influenced the world of art. All events are informal, free and open to the public and all start at 7 pm at Tapp’s Arts Center.

Please join us.


September 23, 2015 Mary Bentz Gilkerson talks about John Constable

October 28, 2015 Stephen Chesley talks about Edward hopper

November 18, 2015 Tish Lowe talks about Antony Van Dyck

January 27, 2016 Kirkland Smith talks about John Singer Sargent

February 24, 2016 Mike Dwyer talks about Richard Diebenkorn

March 23, 2015 Cedric Umoja talks about Dondi White