TAKE A GLOBAL NATIVITY TOUR

Beaufort worth the trip to view “A Nativity Celebration”

By Deena C. Bouknight/Photography by Sissy Perryman

unnamed (4)For the last eight years, First Presbyterian Church of Beaufort – a two-hour drive from Columbia – has hosted A Nativity Celebration, featuring 100-plus unique and artistic natvity scenes hand-made in various spots around the world. Perusing the creches during the three-day event, from December 7-9, is like taking a visual global tour. Each is distinct and many convey aspects of a country’s culture.

The nativities are shared by local residents and church members as well as provided on loan from others outside the community. Each stands alone as an aesthetic vignette narrative of the birth of Christ. Styles range from whimiscal snow globes to eleborate porcelain sets. Some natvities make repeat appearances each year, while others are new. Some are so small they fit in a matchbox, while others sprawl across an entire table. Most are traditional table displays; a few hang.

They might be constructed of bent nails, recycled metals, or even local oyster shells.

There are German Hummel figurines as well as sets from Vietnam, Phillipines, Cameroon, and many other countries.

“It is amazing to see how the Christmas story is depicted by artists from all over the world,” says Donna Sheetz, FPC’s volunteer nativity coordinator. “Whether they are made from banana leaves or oyster shells, wood or fine porcelain – each nativity tells a story unique to the artist’s culture.”

Nativity photos by Sissy Perryman-Beaufort

The three-day event draws school children, assisted living and nursing home residents, tourists, locals, and more.

The goal, explains Donna, is to show the true meaning of Christmas through the eyes of the world. A Nativity Celebration is located in First Presbyterian Church of Beautfort, 1201 North Street, and is a “gift” to the public – free of charge.

Advertisements

ART IN OLYMPIA

5uFY5ztg.jpegOLD RAILROAD TRESTLE PAINTING GETS A SPRUCE UP

By Deena C. Bouknight

Egyptian art in Columbia? Those who have lived or worked in the Mill District of Columbia, where cotton mills Olympia, Whaley, and Granby once thrived, are familiar with the large depiction of Ra, the Egyptian sun god, painted on the remains of an old railroad trestle. While some park-goers may have – at first glance – wondered how an Egyptian artifact found a home in Columbia, closer inspection revealed the fading remains of a 20th century painting.Sp9M6C2Q Until recently.

After construction workers demolished an old railroad trestle in the Olympia neighborhood in 1989, a large portion refused to crumble. South Carolina artist and muralist, Richard Lane, decided the weathered sandstone pillar appeared ancient, so he envisioned and then painted an Egyptian scene complete with various symbols and hieroglyphs in 1993. The piece became known locally as the Ra Obelisk.

In 2004, the structure actually became the centerpiece of what is considered a “pocket park” at 904 Heyward Street; benches were added as well as a sidewalk leading to the painting.

In late October, two artists – Jeff Donovan and Georgia Lake – matched colors and repainted the mural, strivingqgLJ-Uq8.jpeg to maintain the original work by Richard Lane. One Columbia Executive Director Lee Snelgrove believes the spruced up painting, which will be a key location on the forthcoming Mill District public art trail (developed by the 701 Center for Contemporary Art), revitalizes the area’s energy. “The Mill District has a history as a place for workers and artists,” she says, “and it continues to be a community of passionate people. Public art physically demonstrates a place of pride, and One Columbia is privileged to be a part of preserving the unique creative spirit of the Mill District.”

 

 

WOMEN’S NIGHT OUT

Lexington Medical Center Event Honors Breast Cancer Survivors and Families

By Deena C. Bouknight

On October 16th, 800 are expected to attend an evening out hosted by Lexington Medical Center. As a way of honoring women who have survived breast cancer, as well as families and friends who have supported them, “Women’s Night Out” will take place at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in downtown Columbia.

Ariella Hughes is this year’s event’s keynote speaker. Ariella will share her journey of being diagnosed with breast cancer twice, and she will detail how the experience helped her to “live beyond better.”Ariella_Hughes049.JPG

The schedule for “Women’s Night Out” includes: at 5 p.m., a silent auction and physician exhibit; the program begins at 7 p.m. with a fashion show featuring breast cancer survivors, dinner, and the keynote address.

Proceeds from “Women’s Night Out” will benefit the Crystal Smith Breast Cancer Fund to support the “Campaign for Clarity,” a capital campaign designed to expand 3-D mammography throughout the Lexington Medical Center network of care. Annually, Lexington Medical Center diagnoses more than 300 breast cancer patients.

For more information about “Women’s Night Out,” call (803) 936-8850, or visit http://www.lexmed.com/wno. Individual tickets are $40, but there are also opportunities to sponsor a table.

Hop On! Hop Off!

IMG_14845-970x545.jpgThe Comet (a.k.a. Soda Cap Connector) is covenient way to peruse Columbia

By Deena C. Bouknight

Have you seen the buses around town painted retro blue with pink accents? This is Columbia’s novel transit system aimed at moving from tired to trendy with regard to public in-city transportation. Whether visiting the capital city for the first time, getting a feel for the area’s main roads and routes, commuting to work or school, or enjoying time at one of the many restaurants, shops, or sites, The Comet – also known as Soda Cap Connector – offers a comfortable and enjoyable ride.

The nickname, Soda Cap Connector, comes from the play on “cola town” as the shortened name for Columbia. And then there is the Soda City market, which has become a hub of activity every Saturday on Main Street. Included in The Comet’s logo design is a starBusSign that represents the stars on the South Carolina State House capitol building. Throughout town are large soda cap shaped signs, painted the same retro blue as The Comet buses, that tout the Soda Cap Connector logo; these signs indicate transit stops, and underneath is listed information about where the bus is scheduled to stop next.

Besides clean, comfortable, air-conditioned or heated (depending on weather), and graphically appealing, The Comet offers users real-time bus locators through its app, which can be downloaded on a smartphone or tablet. Users also have access to free WiFi, and there is space for bikes. Plus, catchthecomet.org has easy-to-understand information on how to read the schedule and find the best route.

The Comet stops at such points of interest as the South Carolina State Museum, the University of South Carolina, the Columbia Museum of Art, Five Points, area universities, and more. An entire route takes about 20 minutes, with stops every few minutes. Passengers can pick up colorful maps that include routes and times.

Prices are from $1.50 for a one-time regular fare to $3.00 to ride all day. A 31-day pass is $40.00. Half-priced passes are available to those who qualify; criteria includes disabilities, veterans, seniors over 65, and those on Medicare. (Anyone interested in a half pass must make an appointment at the Lowell C. Spires Jr. Regional Transit Authority at 3613 Lucius Road.) And, children 15 years old and younger ride The Comet for free.

To pay a fare, either have exact change when entering The Comet or purchases passes at the customer service desk of the North Main Piggly Wiggly grocery store. Other options include buying tickets at the Transit Center on the corner of Sumter and Laurel Street or on the Catch the COMET smartphone app.

Touted on The Comet website is this statement: “It’s out with the old and in with the new. And when we say new, we mean everything. Just see for yourself. The totally new COMET. It’s gonna be one heck of a ride.”

 

 

History on Display

cotton-2807360_960_720Camden features cotton mill era exhibit until August

By Deena C. Bouknight

At one time, cotton truly was king in  South Carolina. Thousands of acres of rural farmland were snowy white for about six weeks from late summer into early fall. And, while spinning yarn into cloth was an aspect of life for many from as early as the 17th century in South Carolina, it was the 1800s when cotton crops and textile mills thrived. Even post-Civil War, cotton continued as a major crop, and today, at least a half million bales are harvested annually.

To honor the importance of cotton as a South Carolina staple, The Camden Archives & Museum opened an exhibit on the textile industry on February 5, 2018. “Camden’s Cotton Mill Era: 1838-1960” focuses on how the lives of thousands of mill workers and their families were centered on the mills.  This exhibit explores the mills, the people who owned and who labored at them, and the impact they had on Camden.

The exhibit is free to the public and runs through August 11, 2018. For more information or to schedule a group, call 803-425-6050, or visit http://www.camdenschistory.com.

Hidden Gala at Columbia Museum of Art

“Seen & Unseen” and much more on April 21st!

By Deena C. Bouknight

“The Hidden Gala is a fantastic way to experience the museum,” share Julie Brenan and Steven Ford, co-chairs for the 2018 black-tie affair celebrating and supports arts. Whether a frequent visitor to the downtown museum or curious about what is offered, Julie and Steven explain in a joint statement that the Gala affords anyone “a night of excitement, glamour, and mystery. You get to have fun, dance, enjoy incredible food and drinks, experience amazing art, and hunt for sneak peaks into the CMA’s ongoing transformation.”

Believe it or not, the Columbia Museum of Art opened in Columbia in 1950 and moved into its current modern architecture building in 1998.  The museum currently has more than 20,000 square feet of gallery space, as well as a collection that numbers more than 7,000 objects. The building has work spaces, storage for collections, art studios, a 154-seat auditorium, a museum shop, and reception and event spaces.

The Gala is the CMA’s largest annual fundraiser; this year the focus is on its major spring exhibit, titled “Seen & Unseen: Photographs by Imogen Cunningham.” Curated by the CMA’s Chief Curator Will South, the exhibition spotlights the photographer’s deeply poetic work, taken in the early 1900s.

Guests to the Gala will be treated not only to exhibits, but also a menu of food prepared by Southern Way, a specialty cocktail, and a Lexus bubbly bar. Plus, there will be entertainment: jazz by Station Seven Band, dance music by Snow DJ Kevin Snow, and contemporary ballet by USC Dance Company.

Main sponsors of the event, held to raise critical funds necessary to continue the CMA’s ongoing efforts, are: Jim Hudson Lexus, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, and Joyce and George Hill.

“We can’t wait to open the doors April 21st and welcome everyone to the best party in town,” say Julie and Steven.

Doors open at 7 p.m. There is complimentary valet parking. For tickets and information, visit http://www.columbiamuseum.org/gala.

Get Your Pink On!

Walk for Life to benefit Palmetto Health Breast Center

By Deena C. Bouknight

A parade of pink will pass through the streets of Columbia this Saturday, October 14. In fact, thousands of walkers and runners are anticipated for the 27th Walk for Life and Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K that begins and ends at Spirit Communications Park.

The color pink first came to symbolize breast cancer survivors in the early 1990s when pink ribbons were given out in New York City during a Race for the Cure. Now people automatically think pink whenever there is a mention of a breast cancer associated event. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and even First Lady Melania Trump showed support by having the White House lit up with a pink hue the first Sunday of this month.

Online registration will be open until noon TOMORROW, Oct. 11th. After that time, paper registrations for walkers will be accepted at the Expo on Oct. 13 at Spirit Communications Park. Paper race registrations will be accepted by Strictly Running at the Expo on Oct. 13, 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m., at Spirit Communications Park. Race registrations will not be accepted on Oct. 14.

Registrants can pick up their t-shirts, bibs, and chips during curbside pick-up Thursday, Oct. 12, 4-6 p.m. at Spirit Communications Park, at the Expo Friday, Oct. 13, 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Spirit Communications Park, or on the day of the event, Saturday, Oct. 14, beginning at 6:15 a.m.

Registration includes a cotton T-shirt for walkers and a performance shirt for runners. However, breast cancer survivors will receive a commemorative pink bandana.

The schedule of events for October 14 looks like this:

  • Walk for Life late registration 6:30 a.m.
  • Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon start 7:15 a.m.
  • 10K race start 7:30 a.m.
  • 5K race start 7:40 a.m.
  • Walk for Life start 7:45 a.m.
  • 5K medal ceremony 9 a.m.
  • 10K medal ceremony 9:30 a.m.
  • Half marathon medal ceremony 10 a.m.

According to the U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. A man’s risk is about 1 in 1,000. Proceeds from these signature fundraising events, led by Palmetto Health Foundation, benefit Palmetto Health Breast Center in Columbia, S.C. Proceeds will stay in the community to help purchase a seventh 3D mammography unit at Palmetto Health Breast Center. The new 3D unit will be used for screening and diagnostic mammograms and will improve the early detection of breast cancer.

Visit WalkForLifeColumbia.org for information on parking, the Expo, and event day.

Gala-vanting the Night Away

An evening of food, fashion, and fun

By Katherine Dyke

On Thursday, September 28, the Columbia Chamber hosted its 115th Annual Gala to toast the past year’s accomplishments, look ahead to new goals, and celebrate some of the Midlands’ most inspiring individuals. Columbia Metropolitan Magazine was honored to be a sponsor of the event along with Presenting Sponsor BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and other community leaders. More than 800 Midlands business leaders attended the Gala at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Two receptions opened the evening: a VIP reception upstairs included a wine tasting sponsored by Aleph Wine Corporation, and the reception on the Lower Level featured a photobooth by the University of South Carolina Athletic Department. Both were very well attended.

The gala program and seated dinner were held in the Exhibit Hall, a large, hangar-like exhibition space transformed into a rather elegant dining room. Stars lit the walls and ceiling! Wine coolers made of ice adorned the tables! Fun music and a festive feeling filled the room.

Once everyone settled down and settled in, dinner and the program began. Up first: the presentation of the colors and the singing of the national anthem, which alone made it a worthwhile evening. Beautiful! Carl Blackstone, Columbia Chamber President and CEO, then thanked the evening’s many and generous sponsors and introduced the group of 2017 honorees. The honors included: Ambassador of the Year, Young Professional of the Year, Public Servant of the Year, Military Advocate of the Year, and Diplomat of the Year.

The 2017 Ambassador of the Year is Dawn Staley, University of South Carolina Women’s Basketball Head Coach. Dawn Staley is not only an accomplished coach, leading her Gamecocks team to the 2017 NCAA National Championship title, but also a selfless Midlands citizen committed to giving back. Dawn accepted the honor via video recording, thanking the Columbia Chamber and speaking of her mother’s example of generosity in helping others. University President Harris Pastides and Athletic Director Ray Tanner represented her and the University of South Carolina while Staley was in California for a commitment as head coach of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team.

John Griggs of NBSC was honored as the 2017 Young Professional of the Year. The 2017 Public Servant of the Year is Bobby Hitt, South Carolina Secretary of Commerce. Kevin Shwedo, of the SC DMV, was named the 2017 Military Advocate of the Year. And the 2017 Diplomat of the Year is Phyllis Wood of Palmetto SolarPros. Tribute videos highlighted each recipient’s positive impact. The honorees are smart, dedicated, and deserving; how fortunate to have them working in our community!

The Columbia Chamber’s Immediate Past Chairman, John Singerling, introduced the new Chairman, David Lockwood. John Singerling, David Lockwood, and Carl Blackstone all spoke to the strength of the Chamber and its impact over the last several years. They also introduced the Chamber’s futurist initiative, “Forward, Together,” as their exercise to ensure the Chamber continues to build a stronger Midlands community for businesses and residents through 2040.

The Columbia Chamber’s 115th Annual Gala was a fun and inspiring evening all around. Congratulations to the 2017 honorees!

P.S. In case anyone is  interested, here are fashion and food details. Attire was black-tie optional. A surprising number chose the option of tuxedos and floor-length gowns, which definitely added to the celebratory atmosphere. Dinner included a green salad with peaches and prosciutto and a lemon vinaigrette; dinner rolls with five compound butters; surf and turf of sliced teres major steak (aka, bistro filet) with a crab cake, asparagus and roasted potatoes; and, tables of petit fours and coffee for dessert. Sound good? Plan to attend next year’s event!

7 Days and Counting

Last minute information for eclipse-day planning

By Deena C. Bouknight

A full article on the upcoming August 21st total eclipse is featured in the July/August 2017 issue of Columbia Metropolitan Magazine. Visit ColumbiaMetro.com.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of the moon crossing in front of its view of the sun on Jan. 30, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. EST in 171 and 304 angstrom light. The two wavelengths are blended together.

The eclipse is the talk of the town. Hotel occupancy has been reserved for months at 100 percent for the evening of August 20th, and 91 percent the evening following the eclipse. Hundreds of thousands of are expected from all over the world due to Columbia’s unique position in the path of this rare astronomical phenomenon. Some in Columbia are even offering up rooms through AirBNB and VRBO sites. The eclipse will last nearly 3 hours in all — starting a little after 1 p.m. and ending shortly after 4 p.m. The period of totality will last about two and a half minutes just after 2:40 p.m.

The website set up to handle questions and provide information – managed by city leaders – is totaleclipsecolumbiasc.com, and it started receiving at least 2,500 hits daily nearly a month ago. “At 2:41 p.m. on Monday, August 21, 2017, viewers who have gathered in the Greater Columbia, S.C., area will experience the longest period of 100% total eclipse for a metro area on the entire East Coast of the United States — ranging from 2 minutes and 30 seconds to 2 minutes and 36 seconds of total darkness,” it shares. On the site, visitors can view a map of the eclipse route, learn history and details of eclipses, know events, sales, and activities planned for Eclipse Weekend, and find special eclipse glasses, which must be worn to protect eyes.

One location to purchase glasses is the State Museum at only a few dollars a pair. Glasses will also be given out at various events during the eclipse. The City of Columbia expects to distribute at least 100,000 pairs.

One common question is: Where should I be during the eclipse? It is important to decide prior to August 21 where to view the eclipse. Either stay home and plan to watch from the yard, or get to another site early to avoid crowds and secure a viewing spot. Officials are forecasting severe interstate congestion and cautioning travelers to plan for patience.

Here are just some eclipse-planning considerations, provided by Total Eclipse Columbia SC:

Festivals & Entertainment

  • “Soda City Eclipse Viewing Party” and Eclipse Eve Drive-In Movie Night at Historic Columbia Speedway in Cayce, S.C., just across the Congaree River from Columbia, S.C.
  • Columbia Fireflies minor league baseball games all weekend and “Total Eclipse of the Park” game and viewing event during eclipse with iMAGINE STEM Festival
  • Solar 17 at Lake Murray viewing festival with tents, free water and free eclipse glasses at Lake Murray dam & lakefront park sites, 25 minutes from downtown Columbia, S.C.
  • The Lexington County Blowfish baseball team is dedicating their entire 2017 season to the eclipse and will open the Lexington County Baseball Stadium for a free viewing event
  • ECLIPSEFEST 2017 at Music Farm Columbia w/rock ‘n roll tribute bands
  • Viewing event with family-friendly band in the spacious gardens of the Robert Mills House
  • Solar Fest West at the West Columbia riverfront amphitheater with live entertainment

Science & Education

  • The S.C. State Museum (home of the Boeing Observatory) will host ticketed events and educational programming all weekend, with a NASA exhibition and eclipse day viewing event with a personal appearance by S.C. NASA astronaut Charles Duke (one of 12 men to walk on the moon).
  • Astronomy workshops, exhibitions & lectures at University of South Carolina department of Physics and Astronomy and at USC’s Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections’ Robert B. Ariail collection of historical astronomy
  • Eclipse Geocaching Cointrail event at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center
  • Solar Learning Challenge party for families on Aug. 19 at Richland Library
  • Riverbanks Zoo will be open for regular ticketed admission all weekend and on eclipse day
  • Saluda Shoals Park’s family-friendly Eclipse Extravaganza with games & hands-on activities
  • Historic Columbia walking tours of Main St. & the Vista, happy hour water balloon fight
  • Summer Learning Challenge hosted by Richland Library
  • Eddie’s Eyes on the Sky Sleepover with EdVenture, educational indoor camping

Outdoors

  • Paddling on the lower Saluda River at Saluda Shoals Park’s Total Eclipse on the River event
  • “Shadows and Science in the Wilderness” programs & ranger-led hikes to prime viewing locations at Congaree National Park, 20 minutes from downtown Columbia, S.C.
  • Guided outdoor historical walking tours along the paved, riverside forest trails at the 12,000 Year History Park in Cayce, S.C., 10 minutes from downtown Columbia, S.C.
  • Total eclipse viewing event at Sesquicentennial State Park in Northeast Columbia, S.C.
  • Tent camping and eclipse viewing at Siesta Cove Marina & RV Park on Lake Murray
  • Eclipse tailgate party, plus parking and RV parking, at the S.C. State Fairgrounds
  • Picnic and eclipse viewing in the wide-open fields of Camp Discovery

Food & Drink

  • Lowcountry Boil & Paella Party with live music at City Roots urban sustainable farm
  • VIP Eclipse Viewing Party with open bar & luxe buffet at Motor Supply Co. Bistro in the Vista
  • “The Grape Eclipse” 4-day wine, food and jazz party at Mercer Winery in Lexington, S.C.
  • Two Gals and a Fork Food Tours
  • Taco Monday eclipse viewing specials at Publico Kitchen & Tap in Five Points
  • Cooking class and rooftop eclipse viewing with Let’s Cook Studio
  • Barrel-aged beer release at Old Mill Brewpub in Lexington
  • Enoree River Winery’s crowd and RV friendly viewing event with live music

Arts

  • A large-scale public art/laser light installation at the Congaree River, “Southern Lights”
  • “Star Wars Musiclipse” space-themed concert by S.C. Philharmonic
  • The Jasper Project’s “Syzygy” eclipse-themed plays and poetry events w/two Poet Laureates
  • Nickelodeon Theatre screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • The popular Arts & Draughts party at the Columbia Museum of Art
  • Palmetto Y Luna arts event at Tapp’s Arts Center
  • Film, music, art & dance events across the region
  • “Art in the Dark” family-friendly celebration from Bravo Blythewood
  • Learn how to photograph the eclipse with the Blythewood Chamber of Commerce

The solar eclipse will be here before we know it! To countdown, visit this handy site:
eclipsecountdown.com.