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!

Jasper Goes to the Library - Tuesday with Laurie McIntosh!

Laurie  Starting in December at the Richland Library and six of its branches, don’t be surprised to smell turpentine in the circulation department or hear singing in the stacks because Jasper is going to the library!

Jasper Goes to the Library is a new outreach program presented in a partnership between Jasper Magazine and Richland Library. Once a month for six months and at six different library branches, artists from six different arts disciplines will present an hour long program of performance and demonstration.  Disciplines include dance, theatre, the literary arts, music, visual arts, and film.

It was a brainstorm that originated with Heather Green, manager of Richland Library Wheatley. “I had really begun thinking about how Richland Library could partner with our community artists to have the biggest impact on our community,” Green says.  “Although we are considered a metropolitan area, many of our residents do not have access and exposure to the many arts resources we have right here in Columbia. I decided to contact (Jasper editor) Cindi Boiter to get the ball rolling on a Richland Library/Jasper partnership. My initial ideas were small – that Jasper could come to Richland Library Wheatley, which is my location, and present something arts related. Cindi blew my small ideas wide open suggesting that Jasper and the Library collaborate for a series of presentations – from performing arts to visual arts. So in one afternoon meeting, my little idea grew into a wonderful partnership.”


Local visual artist Tim Floyd is also one of the six selected artists and arts groups to participate in the inaugural program and is scheduled to present and demonstrate on January 7th  in 2014 at the Ballentine branch of Richland Library. For Floyd, who will be talking about creative solutions and demonstrating how to make an encaustic painting, it makes perfect sense for an arts magazine like Jasper to design a series of arts events which will allow working artists to share their talents with their community in free and public spaces.  “Libraries are the knowledge hub of a community. Showing original art and process is important for the encouragement of others,” Floyd says. “Maybe one person will get a spark and go out and create something.”


The programs will all take place on the first Tuesday of the month starting on December 3rd  with visual artist and writer Laurie McIntosh who will be talking about and reading from her art book, All the In Between – My Story of Agnes, at the Wheatley Branch. McIntosh’s book is an annotated catalogue of an art series she completed commemorating the life and death of her mother. Other presenters include the musical duo of Todd Mathis (guitar) and Cully Salehi (viola) who will perform at the North Main Branch on February 4th, films from The 2013 2nd Act Film Festival presented by Jasper Magazine on March 4th at Richland Library Northeast, Columbia City Ballet Company on April 1st at the Southeast branch, and the South Carolina Shakespeare Company on May 6th at the Cooper branch.


“Columbia has so many wonderful resources. We should all be partnering more to maximize our message that all residents/communities deserve to have quality education and information—no matter their socioeconomic standing,” says Green. “I am so excited that Richland Library and Jasper are partnering up to further promote the arts in Columbia. Six months of Jasper artists in our libraries? That sounds pretty awesome to me!”  






Italy, Spain, and a Hat Shop in Charleston -- Tim Floyd's new show at City Art by Sam Smith

tim floyd  

“Italy, Spain, and a Hat Shop in Charleston” is Columbia’s first gallery show to feature only encaustic painting. The artist, Tim Floyd, is using it as an opportunity to benefit the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. The show will be starting on August 1, and it goes until August 31 at City Art (1224 Lincoln Street, Columbia, SC 29201). On August 17 at noon, Floyd will host a gallery talk at City Art.

Encaustic art is made by using hot beeswax, resin, and pigment. This mixture becomes a liquid paste which is then applied to wood, canvas, or another medium on which to paint. Because of the beeswax element of the painting, the painting can also become a sort of sculpture, and the artist may use metal tools to sculpt the paint into the desired form or, after it cools, they may use heated metal tools. There are also heat lamps or various other heated tools one may use to extend the time they have to word on it. Encaustic art has been around since it was used in Fayum mummy portraits from Egypt around 100-300 AD. While an older technique, encaustic painting remains an interesting medium, and is still not as well-known as other mediums such as oils or charcoal.

tim floyd best

Tim Floyd, while he hasn’t being doing encaustic painting for quite as long, worked on the majority of the paintings featured in this show during the five weeks he spend touring Italy with his wife, Carol, in 2012. Other pieces in the show are from Barcelona, Charleston, Columbia, Houston, and the Bahamas. While traveling, Floyd would sketch out images to later use as a basis for his encaustic painting; he would also take unusual objects he found to later work into his paintings.

tim floyd fountain

In June 2013, Floyd and his daughter, Felicia, won the “Best in 3D” award at the Greenwood Festival of Flowers Juried Art Show for a collaborative portrait. Felicia has Muscular Dystrophy, which is a group of muscle diseases that affect different sets of muscles based on what exact disease one has. In all cases, the muscles weaken, sometimes involving muscle degeneration or atrophy. A percentage of sales during the opening reception on August 1 will go to Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, where Floyd’s daughter was treated. While the idea is to buy his artwork, enjoy it, and help a worthy cause, Floyd hopes that everyone will consider supporting the Children’s Hospital no matter what.

The Arts Center of Greenwood Best of 3D: "Matthew" by Tim and Felicia Floyd

His love of art and his travels may have inspired his paintings, but his personal connection to the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital inspired the donation of a percentage of sales. Without the Children’s Hospital, his daughter likely would have died.

The show is at City Art, and everyone and anyone is encouraged to venture out to see “Italy, Spain, and a Hat Shop in Charleston.” To inquire about purchasing artwork from Tim Floyd, contact City Art at (803)252-3613.

-- Sam Smith, Jasper intern