If there is ever a great time to visit Columbia
, it is during the month of April. In the coming weeks you’ll see a lot of Columbia
posts from me. That’s because Columbia has at least 180 arts and cultural events happening within those 30 days -- 180!!
I know this well, because I am co-chair of the board for One Columbia for Arts and History
, an organization that highlights and markets Columbia’s creative culture. Last year our executive director was gathering information for the calendar that goes out every week and she came to me and said, “Um, something really interesting is going on here.” We looked at the list, and it was almost as long as it is for the month in 2013. Once we got over our shock and excitement, the organization decided to give the month a title: One Month, One Columbia.
Why, you might ask, does Columbia have such a huge number of events at this time? My answer to you is: I have no idea! But I’m willing to venture a couple of guesses:
1. The weather:
April tends to bring a serious case of spring fever on in South Carolina. With average highs ranging from 71-80 throughout the state and the worst-offending pollen having blown away, everyone is ready to burst out of their homes to do something that stimulates the senses and the mind.
2. The kids are still in school:
The littler ones are at their desks until the end of May. Therefore local parents are eager to use their last couple of months of freedom to go enjoy the concerts, exhibitions, and experimental theater shows that their kids don’t find very amusing. Once summer hits, it’s all about keeping the younger ones entertained. Right now, it’s all about us “old folk”. (Note: there are family-friendly events as well, but not nearly as many as in the summer months)
3. The weather again:
Did I mention that summer is only a couple of months away? It’s going to be HOT! There is a reason that the Midlands experience a “summer exodus” to the beach!
You’ll be hearing from me about some of the events going on in the Capitol City throughout the month, but here are a few for you to jot down in your calendar right now:
* April 4 -- First Thursdays on Main
: While this is a monthly event, the April incarnation is the official kickoff party for One Month, One Columbia is a street party that starts at 6 p.m. in the heart of Columbia on Main Street. The party will encompass several blocks as galleries and restaurants remain open to celebrate art and community in style. Main Street.
* April 13 -- Spork In Hand Puppet Slam
: A celebration of Southern puppetry that is not for the faint of heart (or those younger than 18.) Puppeteers are invited from all over the Southeast to perform “gloriously gritty evenings of experimental short puppetry and object theater performances.” You’ll laugh heartily and gawk openly at this raucous and fun show. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 Apr. 13. Showtimes: 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.. Nickelodeon Theatre, 1607 Main St.
* April 12-21 -- Indie Grits Film Festival
: What began as a small, regional film festival in 2007 is now a very big deal. Presented and created by the Nickelodeon Theatre, the festival brings filmmakers in from around the Southeast who have an independent mentality and far-reaching artistic scope. In 2010 the festival was named one of the world’s coolest film festivals by Movie Maker magazine, and with 10 days of screenings and cultural events, that is an honor well-earned. Various locations.
* April 25-27 -- Artista Vista
: Now in its 22nd year, Artista Vista is the longest running gallery crawl in South Carolina’s Midlands. This is the first year that the event will span an entire weekend as artists and galleries in the Vista region of Columbia open their doors for visitors to see why the city is known to be a progressive hotbed for artists. This year also includes “Install It 3,” an installation that asks artists to create non-traditional works for display in unusual settings. Curated by longtime arts writer Jeffrey Day, this year’s installation will focus on the arts history of Washington Street, which was once a social and business hub for the African-American community. The event is free and open to the public. Various locations.
I’m out of breath just thinking about what April is going to bring. Last year I needed a week in the house to recuperate from so much excitement! Make your plans now, because Columbia is going to be in amazing form this spring.