Posts Tagged ‘if ART Gallery’

if ART Gallery Presents The International (Mural) Project at Gallery 80808 in Vista Studios in Columbia, SC – Oct. 5 – 16, 2012

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012


We just received this today – a little late for our Oct. issue, but an important event that readers should know about. The PR for such events should be handled better, but such is life in the art world – art first – worry about publicity later.

Here’s the press release:

if ART Gallery Presents The International (Mural) Project at Gallery 80808 in Vista Studios, located at 808 Lady Street in the Vista area of Columbia, SC, from Oct. 5 – 16, 2012.

The group exhibition and mural project features works by: Roland Albert, Stephen Chesley, Jeff Donovan, Ralph Gelbert, Mary Gilkerson, Tonya Gregg, Klaus Hartmann, Jorg Heieck, Peter Lenzo, Reiner Mahrlein, Janet Orselli, Anna Redwine, Silvia Rudolf, Laura Spong, H. Brown Thornton, Mike Williams, and David Yaghjian.

An artists’ reception will be held on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, from 5- 9pm.

A panel discussion about the Columbia/Kaiserslautern Artists Exchange will be offered on Sunday, Oct. 7, beginning at 2pm.

Sunday, September 30, afternoon: Kaiserslautern artist Klaus Hartmann contemplating his next move as his Columbia colleagues Mike Williams, Tonya Gregg and Mary Gilkerson work on the mural.

For more than a decade, Columbia, SC, artists and those of the Kunstlerwerkgemeinschaft (KWG) in Columbia’s German sister city of Kaiserslautern have been going back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean. Columbians Mike Williams, Stephen Chesley, Jeff Donovan, David Yaghjian, Tonya Gregg, Laura Spong and others went to Kaiserslautern to work and exhibit. KWG members Roland Albert, Ralph Gelbert, Klaus Hartmann, Reiner Mahrlein and Silvia Rudolf came to Columbia, and their work graces the walls and backyards of many a local home.

The informal artists exchange’s next installment is Columbia/Kaiserslautern: The International (Mural) Project, an if ART Gallery exhibition at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, Columbia, SC. Seventeen artists – six German, nine from Columbia and two formerly of Columbia – will participate in the event, which will consist, first, of the creation of a collective mural and, second, the exhibition.

Monday October 1, 2012, morning: Detail of the mural in progress.

Two Kaiserslautern and nine Columbia artists collectively will create a mural at Vista Studios between Sept. 29 – Oct. 5. The mural will be on a patchwork of canvas pieces mounted to a wall as one single work of art. The German mural participants are Klaus Hartmann and Silvia Rudolf; the Columbia artists will be Stephen Chesley, Jeff Donovan, Mary Gilkerson, Tonya Gregg, Peter Lenzo, Anna Redwine, Laura Spong, Mike Williams and David Yaghjian. The mural will be the centerpiece of the Columbia / Kaiserslautern exhibition.

“It’ll be interesting to see how the mural turns out,” said if ART owner Wim Roefs, who is organizing the event. “These are artists with often rather different approaches and styles. On the other hand, they all have great affinity for each other’s work and all are talented and assured in their own abilities, so I suspect they will work to compliment each others’ contributions rather than artistically fight each other. I wouldn’t be surprised we if we were to end up with a work of art in which the various styles are beautifully integrated.”

October 1, 2012, Monday afternoon: Kaiserslautern artist Silvia Rudolf and Columbia’s Tonya Gregg in front of the mural.

All mural artists also will be showing individual works in the exhibition, which will run Oct. 5 – 16, 2012. Others participating in the exhibition are Kaiserslautern artists Roland Albert, Ralph Gelbert, Reiner Mahrlein and Jorg Heieck; Aiken, SC, artist H. Brown Thornton; and Columbus, NC, artist Janet Orselli, who is a Columbia native.

On Sunday, Oct. 7, starting at 2pm, during a panel discussion, participants in the Columbia-Kaiserslautern exchange will talk about their experiences. “Columbia artists typically come back highly energized from their trips to Kaiserslautern,” said Roefs, who has visited Kaiserslautern several times. “The KWG, which has it’s own collective studio, is a vibrant group of artists that also includes literary and performing artists. It’s a membership-by-invitation-only club and its members are highly respected, serious artists who have organizational talents to boot. It’s an inspiring combination.”

Monday afternoon, October 1, 2012: Detail of the mural in progress.

The collective mural will be shipped to Kaiserslautern after the exhibition. In Kaiserslautern, the mural first will be exhibited in its original form. Next, KWG members will add to the mural, exhibit the new version and then ship it back to Columbia.

“It should be good week,” Roefs said of Hartmann’s and Rudolf’s visit. “Silvia and Klaus will be working here alongside their Columbia colleagues. Artists will be going in an out of Vista Studios, working on the mural, exchanging ideas, drinking coffee. We’ll have a series of luncheons and dinners, and I am sure everyone will come out of the week energized.”

You can see more images here (

Gallery hours during this event at Gallery 80808 will be: Weekdays, 11am-7pm; Sat., 11am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm; and by appointment.

For further information contact Wim Roefs at if ART by calling 803/238-2351 or e-mail to (

Columbia, SC’s Spring Arts Festival – Artista Vista – Celebrates 20 Years – Apr. 28-30, 2011

Saturday, April 9th, 2011


Artista Vista, the Columbia, SC’s, Congaree Vista’s annual gallery crawl, will once again usher in spring in the Midlands from Thursday, Apr. 28 through Saturday, Apr. 30, 2011. The event features special exhibits at each of the participating galleries from 5-9pm on Thursday night and from 11am-5pm on Friday and Saturday.

In celebration of Artista Vista’s 20th anniversary this year, well-known arts writer and critic Jeffrey Day will curate a variety of installation art exhibits, original poetry readings, music performances and more in the streets of the Congaree Vista Thursday evening.

Artista Vista’s founding grew out of the rise of installation art in the 1990s, so we wanted to embrace art outside the gallery to honor the 20th anniversary while recognizing that many of Artista Vista’s founding galleries are still thriving twenty years later,” said Day.

The three-day event will encompass all forms of art from visual to performing arts.

Thursday, Apr. 28, (5-9pm): Installation pieces by an assortment of artists will be on display at 927 to 929 Gervais Street and the fire-training tower on Park Street.

Fiber artist, Susan Lenz will unveil her public art project, Looking for a Mate. Lenz collected mate-less socks from the public during Vista Lights, last Fall, and used them to create an art quilt.


Barry Wheeler and Heather Bauer will present a photography piece at Lewis + Clark, which will share the history of the Vista through photos. Dr. Sketchy’s anti-art group will perform at Ellen Taylor Interiors and Design’s storefront window from 7:15-8:30pm.

Friday, Apr. 29 (11am-7pm): Installations will be on display at 927-929 Gervais Street.

Saturday, Apr. 30 (11am-7pm): Installations will be on display at 927-929 Gervais Street.

There will be a special performance by the USC percussion ensemble at 1pm at City Art Gallery.

From noon to 1:30pm, One-Eared Cow Glass artists will be collaborating with artists from the About Face art group at One-Eared Cow (1001 Huger Street).


USC’s art department painting studios (located in the Vista at the corner of Devine Street and Gadsden Street) will have an open house and the department’s new wood-fired kiln will be up and running from 11am to 4pm. Participants include: Kara Gunter, Susan Lenz, Amanda Ladymon, George Fenter, Billy Guess, Marius Valdes, Eileen Blyth, Barry Wheeler, and Heather Bauer.

As a special part of its 20th anniversary, Artista Vista is offering a social media contest at this year’s event with the chance to win a limited-edition, silk screened, signed 2011 Artista Vista poster and a $50 gift certificate to Motor Supply Company Bistro. All you have to do is search “Artista Vista” as the venue on Foursquare and check in as you come to each gallery during the event. Whoever becomes the mayor of Artista Vista by checking in at the most galleries the most often over the course of the three-day event wins the poster and gift certificate.

Artista Vista 2011 participating galleries include: Carol Saunders Gallery, 300 Senate, Vista Studios/Gallery 80808, The Gallery at Nonnah’s, Paul D. Sloan Interiors, if ART Gallery, Lewis + Clark, Gallery at DuPre, SC State Museum, SC Contemporary Dance Company, City Art Gallery, and One Eared Cow Glass.

Free parking will be available in the Vista’s parking decks located on Lincoln Street near Lady, Park Street near Pendleton, and Lady Street near Wayne Street. Many galleries will offer complimentary hors d’oeuvres and wine.

To learn more about the Congaree Vista, Columbia’s arts and entertainment district, visit ( or follow the Vista on Twitter: (@vistaguild).

Arts Whining – Not a Good Image for the Arts Community

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

While scanning the Internet for news about what’s going on in the Carolina visual art community I came across an interesting feature in Free Times a Columbia, SC, based publication (Issue #22.14 :: 04/08/2009 – 04/14/2009) entitled, Cutting the Arts – Midlands Groups Struggle Amid Declining Support, by Ron Aiken. As I read through the piece I had to cringe – it’s just the kind of publicity the art community doesn’t need – someone in the arts whining about the lack of public and private funding. You can find the full article here.

Wim Roefs, board chairman of the 701 Center for the Contemporary Arts (a non-profit) and owner of if ART Gallery (a for-profit) provided the bulk of the whining. For the purpose of keeping things straight I’ll be putting Roefs words in bold type – everything else will be me.

When asked how the local situation regarding corporate giving has effected the people assembled for this article Roefs offered the following:

Our situation (at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art) is a little different in the sense that we don’t have anything to compare ourselves to since we’re in our first year.

But when a bunch of us started this project in 2007 it was a much better climate. We couldn’t even think about what it would be like when we opened in 2008 — in the meantime it’s just all bottomed out. So when we were starting, we were really waiting for a few big — well, big for us — chunks of money. Our budget the first year is $187,000, so we were waiting for these few big ones and then making a big leap of faith.

The fact is this center may have been in the planning in 2007, but they didn’t open the doors until Oct. 2008 – well after the bottom dropped out of the economy. They had plenty of time to put a hold on this effort, but decided to ignore the climate because all the right people were behind their efforts and money was flowing to the group that had done nothing yet.

We did get, in 2007, money from (accommodations) tax and got money from (hospitality) tax, and then the decisive moment came when BlueCross came in and said we’re going to give you the rent for the gallery space. That gave us the money to say, all right, let’s make the jump. Then you have to start raising funds, both corporate and private. We don’t have ticket sales since we’re free. We’ve actually had good attendance. We’ve had 2,300 people come in through the first five months, which is pretty good for a contemporary arts center.

The opening of the center cost $100 a pop. It was also reported in The State that about 80 memberships to the center, ranging from $15 to $2,500, have been sold. That’s not exactly free to me. It was also reported in The State that so far it (the Center) has received $25,000 from BlueCross BlueShield (This is money from profits from people’s health care costs.) and $45,000 from city accommodations and hospitality taxes. (That’s money from taxpayers.) The building’s owners, Richard Burts and Robert Lewis, have donated $15,000 toward the annual rent of $40,000. (That’s a make believe donation of money that never existed.) How did these Columbia City leaders give so much money to a project which had not even opened? This building at 701 Whaley Street in Columbia has had a history of public funding going down the drain. When will these people learn?

We’ve had some other very unfortunate things that are related to the economic situation as well, one of which is that we cannot apply to the arts commission for operational funds because we didn’t exist — the arts commission came up with the decision that there would be no new projects funded — so we’re screwed there, because we’re new. The first year we couldn’t get any money from them because we hadn’t existed for a year yet, then by the time we qualified for money, the ruling came down for no new organizations.

I’m actually stunned here that the SC Arts Commission acted prudently in this situation by not giving funds to an unproven group and then putting a freeze on funding for new groups while their funding was being cut by the State. I’m really stunned, but I know it is really due to the fact – they just didn’t have the money to give “and” keep their staff on payroll. Hard choices had to be made.

And even though now there’s going to be some NEA stimulus money, we can’t get that money because they can only hand it out to previous grantees and what have you. We’re pissing beside a pot on all of this stuff, and it’s a bit of an issue. The city already has sent out a letter to everyone that next year you can expect a 25-percent decrease in H-tax revenue, so the $35,000 that we got last year, if we get $25,000 to $27,000 this year we’ll be lucky. So in the meantime we’re trying to make people feel bad about not giving. It’s all about guilt.

OMG – as the kids say these days – I can’t believe he said that – “we’re trying to make people feel bad about not giving. It’s all about guilt.” Apparently Roefs has no guilt for thrusting a new non-profit on the back of the Columbia and SC art community. If I was one of the city and county leaders in charge of handing out money I won’t be giving this ungrateful soul a penny. Much less the thought that since they got money one year it’s automatic that you’ll get money again. Once on the dole – always on the dole?

Now I’ll agree that it is stupid that the only people who can get a taste of that NEA stimulus money is only those who have received funding in the past, but I guess that was to prevent folks from just forming groups to get some of the money – I don’t know, but it does seem to add to the bad timing on the part of those who decided to take the leap in starting this new art center.

After we took the plunge, we had a bunch of people lined up, corporations and also private donors, that we were fairly certain would come through. Most of them tell you, “We’re looking at your sponsorship package,” and then, “We’re still looking at it,” and then you don’t hear anything anymore. And these are people we know who love this project, love the arts and love the people involved. So what happens is they just don’t show up; we don’t see them. They’re hesitant to even show their face lest they would be looked at with dollar signs in our eyes.

Can you imagine why these people are not showing up. And, how will they feel after reading or hearing about this article?

We’ve had some really nice surprises (with) people showing up and giving us money that were not even on our radar, and thank god for that. The ones that we thought of, not as the usual suspects, but somewhat low-hanging fruit, is hanging pretty high so far.

Unfortunately this is the statement Roefs should have made in response to the question – except for the low-hanging fruit and usual suspects part. I guess art donors are just considered fruit for the picking by Roefs or suspects. And, unfortunately Roefs’ statements will taint all non-profit groups looking for funding in tough economic times.

As someone who represents the commercial sector of the art community in SC and the Carolinas, it is hard to see how Roefs can’t see how lucky he is in even being able to receive public and private funding as a non-profit, but I can’t imagine ever making guilt my basis for why people should support my efforts.

I have asked our readers for financial support during these troubled times and have received support from people I know are trying to get by themselves. I view that support, like the support we receive from advertisers every month as a treasured gift. Hopefully a gift we have earned and a gift we will continue to earn and re-gift in the future. I don’t look at anyone with dollar signs in my eyes. And, I think most in the non-profit sector of the arts don’t either. There are some that do, but they are probably smart enough not to do it in public or make such public statements.

Some will ask why expose this underside of the arts when it might make everyone look bad in the eyes of the giving public?

All I can say is, I want that public to know that they have choices when they give their support and I would hope they pick organizations with people who are grateful for the money they receive – not folks who deal in guilt. I have said many times that we in the arts should wake up every day pinching ourselves over the fact that people give their hard earned money to support our efforts.

Unfortunately some artists and some in the arts industry think: I am, therefore you must support me.