Jasper's Artisan Fairway Central to West Columbia Kinetic Derby Day by Christina Xan

The Jasper Project Brings Bigger and Better Artisan Fairway to 2019’s Kinetic Derby Day

Kinetic Derby Day Poster Art by Michael Krajewski

Kinetic Derby Day Poster Art by Michael Krajewski

The City of West Columbia is bringing back Kinetic Derby Day for a 2nd year this Saturday. This event is a combination of both derby car racing and kinetic sculptures to represent the creativity in STEM and to give people of all ages a chance to learn and create. The kinetic sculptures will be shown in a parade that kicks off the event, and the racing, hosted by GoCo Events, will happen throughout the day.


The event’s goal to inspire creative problem solving and creative thinkers is perhaps most inventively seen with The Jasper Project’s Artisan Fairway, which is even bigger and better than last year.


Barry Wheeler, who is president of the Board of Directors here at Jasper, has been planning and organizing the fairway for over 6 months, ensuring he developed a variety of different musicians, poets, and visual artists. With the help of Grayson Goodman and Mark Plessinger, Wheeler was able to create these experiences, allowing people to witness art being made, make art themselves, and purchase from local artists.


During the entirety of Derby Day (11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.), there will be performances on the JAM Room Stage, where 5 different musicians will showcase their work: Saluda River Academy for The Arts, Boomtown Waifs, John the Revelator, Midimarc, and Husband. These performances are not meant to form one loud concert but instead to create a small, relaxed environment where the musicians can share their craft and create a sense of community for everyone. Wheeler hoped that this would “develop an environment that cultivates interesting happenings.”


Around the corner, in the courtyard behind Ed’s Editions, Columbia’s Poet Laureate, Ed Madden, and Bert Easter have organized 4 hours of jazz & poetry readings from local poets. Starting at noon, Mark Rapp will kick off with 45 minutes of jazz, while Madden, Ethan Fogus, Loli Molina, and Monifa Lemons Jackson will all be reading poetry for 20 minutes each.


Beyond these readings & performances, State Street itself will be lined with tents, two of which will be two visual arts tents. In the first, five local artists will be doing live paintings: Michael Krajewski, Lucas Sams, Corey “Roc Bottom” Davis, Shelby Leblanc, and Thomas Washington. People will be able to come and watch the artists in their process and see how 5 different artists approach their art in unique ways. Additionally, there will be a silent auction as it develops, and at the end of the day, 5 people will go home with original works of art.


In the second visual art tent, people who have been inspired by the live paintings can do live paintings of their own. People will be encouraged to draw “Roboto” in whatever form it means to them. All drawings will be uploaded to the Derby Day social media, and a vote will be held after the festival for the best art piece.


Additionally, there will be 21 tents set up with completely different artistic encounters. Wheeler’s goal for the 21 tents was to provide not only very different artists but artists who take away the stigma that art is pretentious. In fact, several of the tents will be actually teaching art or providing hands on art experiences. For example, Yarnbombers of Columbia, who will also be doing an installation piece on State Street, will be teaching knitting in their tent. Directly next to them, the Columbia Art Center will be doing clay turning demos for adults and children who want to learn how to hand turn clay.


In addition to just seeing art, Wheeler has also brought much more chances to purchase art pieces. The Jasper Project, The Crafty Cottage, Laura Garner Hine, Pat Harris, Mary Mac Cuellar, and Katie Chandler will all be selling art that they have created or curated, with again, a goal of providing a variety of styles. The Jasper Project’s tent, for example, will have Derby Day themed prints by Michael Krajewski.


Again, Wheeler wanted to reinforce his message that art is vast. An example of this, he placed Crafty Cottage and Hine’s tents are side by side, to show a contrast between crafting and what is deemed “fine art,” so that people can see the creativity, hard work, passion, and talent that goes into creating these different classifications of art. Continuing with the theme of contrast, Pat Harris and Richland Library both do very different kinds of art with wood, the latter doing woodworking and the former working with a lathe, and they both will be showing their work in their respective tents.


These are only some of the opportunities. There will be bike shows & repairs, found footage video screenings, virtual reality demos, 3D printing, face painting, henna, balloon art, and more. Every tent you enter will allow you to either learn more about what the community is doing, create your very own art no matter what skill level you are at, or support the artists of Columbia.


Lastly, there are tents for our local youth who need help in their school or personal lives. The Midlands Middle College will be there offering opportunities for high school kids to get college credit, while LRADAC will be there with programming to help those addicted to drugs and alcohol.


According to Wheeler, this event is most important because of how it can inspire children: “The festival promotes STEM, specifically women in STEM. If little girls see women already succeeding in STEM, they will already know what they can do. They don’t have to create place. It’s already there.”


While this article contains plenty of information, it can only provide a preview. To get the complete run down of events, check out the Jasper Kinetic Derby Day page. Here, you can see the locations of all the tents and performances as well as detailed background information about all our artists.


Come out Saturday at 11:00 a.m. to experience and create art. The event is completely free and jam packed with awesome events. We’ll see you there!


Follow The Jasper Project on Facebook and on Instagram @the_jasper_project

for more updates on local artists and events!


All: IN! Columbia Arts Revolution - An Interview with Founder Corey Davis

“I'd like to see us transform our local arts community into the All Inclusive community it SHOULD be with a more diversified variety of art and artists.” - Corey Davis

All In columbia.jpg

Jasper caught up with local artist Corey Davis, one of the leaders in one of the city’s new alt arts groups called All: IN! Columbia Art Revolution to ask a few questions about their organization. With 71 members on their Facebook group, this 6-month-old organization is set to challenge the local arts status quo on the grounds of diversity, inclusion, and basically demanding to make visible some of the long missing, but still active faces of the extended Midlands arts community.

We learned about All: IN! via the process of organizing the Jasper Arts Fairway for West Columbia’s Kinetic Derby Day on April 21st. All: IN! will be one of the arts groups on the Fairway. We asked Corey Davis a few questions and here’s what he said.


Jasper: Which artists from All: IN! will be involved in Derby Day?

Davis: “I know a few for sure like Doug (Black Atom), Mike Poole, Ben Murray, are coming in the flesh. There are a few who will be leaving work with us to display. Justin Claypool will also be there. Local Concert photographer.

There's a possible 6th... But that's a surprise. He's well known and loved in the community. And a fellow renegade of art.”


Jasper: That’s pretty exciting. Can you tell me a little more about the group?

Davis: “Basically the group is like ‘The Island of Misfit Toys’ in our local arts community. A much needed alternative to the arts scene that had seemed to be overrun with the same names, faces, and art that have been attached to the scene for years, with very little diversity in art or artists.

The point of the group is to shatter that narrative that THIS is what art is. The art that's been forced upon us.

Since the art scene here is broken into cliques that create its circle, those cliques aren't made of a variety of artists, they are personal, built on personal relationships and not much in the way of art.

It’s beyond just ‘politics,’ a term that us now more dismissive than anything else.

The name, ALL: IN is a play on,’All Inclusive.’ Which is far from what our local arts scene is. We have come to change that for the comic artists, the hand crafters, the photographers, game developers, graphic designers. And better representation for artists from the black, Latino, LBGT community and the legion of women artists (especially black women), who go unseen in our galleries, museums, and festivals.”


Jasper: Have you guys gotten together in formal meetings or is it mostly getting together via social media now?

Davis: “We do meetings. We are long overdue for the next one. Mark Plessinger came in to offer his input and bring about a bit more structure. This [Kinetic Derby Day] will be our first public outing.”


Jasper: What would you like to see your group accomplish?

Davis: “I'd like to see us transform our local arts community into the All Inclusive community it SHOULD be with a more diversified variety of art and artists.”


Jasper: OK - cool -- How do you guys plan to accomplish your goal?

Davis: “By no longer ASKING to be a part of the community. We are kicking the door down. I've been privileged for the past decade almost to have a choice of where I want to show in the community but a lot of my fellow artists haven't. So this is bigger than just me. I'm using whatever privilege I have in the community to bring them to the forefront.”


Jasper: Is your group primarily visual artists?

Davis: “We range from crafters, visual artists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, you name it. Pretty much every genre you can think of that's not openly represented in Columbia.”


Jasper: Is there anything else on the upcoming calendar that we can help plug?

Davis: “Right now I know there's a lot of separate shows we are doing outside of the group, but we are still kicking the idea around for an All In gallery show or event once our schedules permit.”


Jasper: how can folks become involved in your group?

Davis: “Check out the Facebook pages. Shoot a message or ask to join. If you see any of us at the events in the community just approach us and say, ‘I wanna be all in.’ Anyone is welcome - Professional or hobbyist.”


Check out All: IN! Columbia Arts Revolution at https://www.facebook.com/groups/125581774771636/


Check out the West Columbia Kinetic Derby day at https://www.kineticderbyday.com


Check out the Jasper Arts Fairway at the West Columbia Kinetic Derby day at https://www.facebook.com/events/526414867755639/