701 CCA Columbia Open Studios.

By Abigail Thielke

701 CCA Columbia Open Studios by Forrest Clonts - HIGH RES (10)

In just a few weeks, 701 Center for Contemporary Art presents the 5th anniversary of Columbia Open Studios: a free, self-led driving tour of artists’ working studios spanning the City of Columbia, Richland and Lexington Counties, showcasing the Midlands’ brilliant visual art community. This weekend-long tour allows the public to meet and interact with the artists in a variety of unique studio environments. And even more, it’s FREE! …Sounds like a great weekend outing to me!

View map here.

Preview party at 701 Whaley April 9, 7-9 p.m.

Saturday, April 11: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, April 12: 12-6 p.m.

Visit www.columbiaopenstudios.org for more information.

Meet the New Artists: 


  • Ron Hagell
    • He’s a digital artist who works with photography, film and light installations, often mixing media.
    • He’s known for his narrative and directorial work in film, working with entities from PBS to Lifetime.
    • Born & raised in Camden; came back to Columbia to be with family.
    • He loves including digital aspects in works because he says peoples’ perspectives on a piece of art are already so different, and adding a digital aspect changes peoples’ perspectives even more so.
    • He’s taught film & photography at University of London and screenwriting at RISD. He has an MFA from Columbia University.
    • He currently teaches screenwriting at Tapp’s Art Center, and is a leader for the Master Acting Track at Trustus.
    • He’s taught acting classes at local Columbia high schools, and wants to start teaching more at other high schools and colleges.
    • Currently has an exhibit up in Camden — an interactive war-time set, based on his time as an Army officer in Vietnam, in which people can take photo booth-type photos.
    • He’ll open up his home studio in the Rosewood neighborhood during Columbia Open Studios to show various works (hopefully, he says, including the interactive photo booth).
    • His attached work is called Berlin Bike — a digital photographic project about the historical status of Berlin in the modern world.


  • Jeremy Butler
    • He’s a sculptor
    • Process: Sculpts in clay, then paints sculptures in powder bronze, then covers them in paper or another flammable material, then lights them on fire to bake the clay from the inside and add a bronze sheen. Pretty cool.
    • He’ll be super hands-on during Open Studios — tourgoers can sculpt with him and see his step-by-step process in his studio in Northeast Columbia.
    • Born in Liverpool, England
    • His love of sports and art is combined and portrayed in his work — tourgoers will see skiers, mermaids, basketball players. He also does quirky things like a sculpture of Britney Spears’ torso.

Sean McGuinness

  • Sean McGuiness
    • Known as “That Godzilla Guy”
    • Blends Godzilla toys with classic works of art and local photographs, like Godzilla at Busted Plug Plaza.
    • Did a “Monsters on Main” series.
    • Makes political, anti-pollution works as well.
    • Has worked with kids’ art therapy where children created art that represented their “monsters” (fears, sadness, etc.).
    • Wants to include custom works for kids during Open Studios called “Godzoodles,” where they’ll tell him what they want their Godzilla to be doing and he’ll live-sketch it; they’ll get to leave with an original work.
    • His studio is in an old military base from the 1940s in West Columbia.


  • Dave Robbins 
    • Painter who mainly works with acrylic; sometimes oils
    • He’s in the new artist-in-residence program at Gallery West in West Columbia.
    • He’ll set up an easel in Gallery West’s outside courtyard and be live-painting during the weekend so tourgoers can see his process.
    • Has been featured in local galleries and in Motor Supply’s in-restuarant gallery


  • Henry Foster 
    • He is an oil and acrylic painter who enjoys zoomed-in nature settings; pointing out the small, beautiful things in nature that people often miss.
    • Motto is “hey guys, look at this”
    • He’ll be live-painting throughout the weekend.
    • His studio is in an old, historic house that is now split up into multiple apartments in the North Main neighborhood; he lives among other artists there.

  • MariePowellMarie Powell 
    • Marie is a mosaic artist who hand-cuts glass, pieces of pottery and other interesting materials to then rearrange and combine into mosaic works using “direct method.”
    • She started making mosaics as a hobby after she was inspired in Italy; now it’s been about 10 years since she completed her first piece.
    • Makes custom mosaics by order
    • She’ll have a half-finished piece on display so tourgoers can see her working. She’ll also have finished works on display.
    • Her studio is located in her home above her garage in Northeast Columbia.


  • Khris Coolidge 
    • He’s an oil painter who dabbles in acrylic and collages.
    • His studio is above the Oops store in Five Points; on a hall with fellow artists, so it’ll be a cool destination for tourgoers.
    • He’ll display finished pieces throughout his studio and in the hallways
    • He’s also been featured in Motor Supply’s “Eat With Art” program, curated by Anastasia Chernoff.

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