Announcing Upcoming Town Halls

One Columbia for Arts & History, which advises, amplifies and advocates for the unified arts and history community, announces that it will host more meetings with cultural and community organizations and members of the public this summer. The public is invited to attend the next Town Hall meeting to hear some of the early findings from interviews, online surveys and previous group and Town Hall meetings.

Amplify’s Town Hall meetings offer an opportunity to collect extensive input from the community, so that the steering committee can consider this feedback when reporting on findings and developing recommendations that advance the arts and cultural sector in the region. Town Hall attendees will be provided an update on the process and participate in the substantive discussions that will help increase public participation in the arts.

Amplify has scheduled three more Town Hall meetings open to the public that will focus on arts learning and arts education for members of the public interested in sharing ideas about how the arts impact long term growth and success for our region.

Amplify Town Hall Discussions:

  • June 26, 6:30 – 8 p.m., Town Hall discussion open to the general public at Ben Arnold Center (1100 South Holly Street).
  • August 28, 6:30 – 8 p.m., Town Hall discussion open to faculty of Columbia universities, arts education faculties and arts education students. Location TBA. [UPDATE 7/23/18: August Town Halls have been replaced with a teaching artists workshop]
  • August 29, 6:30 – 8 p.m., Town Hall discussion open to educators. Location TBA. [UPDATE 7/23/18: August Town Halls have been replaced with a teaching artists workshop]

The Town Hall discussions are facilitated and led by members of the Amplify steering committee and Margie Reese, an arts advocate and arts management professional. In earlier Town Hall discussions with the public and targeted groups, Reese and the Amplify committee have identified five emerging themes and needs for arts growth in Columbia:

  • Space for cultural expression, art making
  • Leadership that nurtures diverse ideas, perspectives.
  • Investment that refreshes the arts infrastructure systematically.
  • Increased value for artists.
  • Arts learning, including exposure and mastery, for children and young people.

The Amplify steering committee invites public participation and responses to help in develop a robust cultural plan for Columbia and the region.

The City of Columbia’s office of Planning and Development Services is initiating development of a Comprehensive Plan for all aspects of Columbia’s future. Amplify will serve as the arts and culture piece of the plan. Members of the public can also provide input on arts and cultural planning in Columbia through Amplify’s online survey.

June 26, 2018, 6:30pm

JUNE TOWN HALL

Join us on June 26 from 6:30-8pm at the Norman Arnold Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands (1100 S. Holly Street) for the third public town hall meeting about Amplify and the cultural plan for Columbia. Members of the general public are encouraged to attend.

Each town hall discussion will be facilitated and led by Margie Reese and groups of artist facilitators. Attendees will discuss answers to questions like:

-Do the arts and cultural resources in the Columbia area impact regional growth?
-Which arts programs are exceptional in our community?
-When considering the possibility of providing more access to the arts in your neighborhood, which are the three most important factors to be considered?

In earlier Town Hall discussions with the public and targeted groups, Reese and the Amplify committee have identified five emerging themes and needs for arts growth in Columbia:

  • Space for cultural expression, art making
  • Leadership that nurtures diverse ideas, perspectives.
  • Investment that refreshes the arts infrastructure systematically.
  • Increased value for artists.
  • Arts learning, including exposure and mastery, for children and young people.

Upcoming Public Town Hall Meetings

Amplify will begin hosting several meetings with cultural and community organizations this spring. Two of the meetings are town-hall discussions and members of the general public are encouraged to attend.

Amplify Town Hall Discussions:

Each town hall discussions will be facilitated and led by Margie Reese and artist facilitators. Attendees will discuss answers to questions like:

  • Do the arts and cultural resources in the Columbia area impact regional growth?
  • Which arts programs are exceptional in our community?
  • When considering the possibility of providing more access to the arts in your neighborhood, which are the three most important factors to be considered?
  • How can the arts help Columbia stand out as a city that values creativity?

With responses from attendees of these discussions and other scheduled discussions with arts, history and philanthropic organizations in the area, the Amplify steering committee will develop recommendations for celebrating and strengthening arts and cultural programs in our area. Having these meetings represents a significant step in creating a cultural plan for our region.

April 24, 2018 – 6:30pm

APRIL TOWN HALL

Join us on April 24 from 6:30-8pm at the Richland Library Sandhills (763 Fashion Drive, Columbia) for the second of two public town hall meetings about Amplify and the cultural plan for Columbia. Members of the general public are encouraged to attend.

Each of town hall discussion will be facilitated and led by Margie Reese and groups of artist facilitators. Attendees will discuss answers to questions like:

  • Do the arts and cultural resources in the Columbia area impact regional growth?
  • Which arts programs are exceptional in our community?
  • When considering the possibility of providing more access to the arts in your neighborhood, which are the three most important factors to be considered?
  • How can the arts help Columbia stand out as a city that values creativity?

March 15, 2018 – 6:30pm

MARCH TOWN HALL

Join us on March 15 from 6:30-8pm at the Eau Claire Print Building (3907 Ensor Ave., Columbia) for the first of two public town hall meetings about Amplify and the cultural plan for Columbia. Members of the general public are encouraged to attend.

Each of town hall discussion will be facilitated and led by Margie Reese and groups of artist facilitators. Attendees will discuss answers to questions like:

  • Do the arts and cultural resources in the Columbia area impact regional growth?
  • Which arts programs are exceptional in our community?
  • When considering the possibility of providing more access to the arts in your neighborhood, which are the three most important factors to be considered?
  • How can the arts help Columbia stand out as a city that values creativity?

The Sound of a Needle on Vinyl

by Ed Madden, Poet Laureate for the City of Columbia

with thanks to the many friends who responded to my question on Facebook about their first experiences of arts and culture, many of which appear in the poem

 

I give you the macramé owl, the one with broken pinecones for eyes.

I give you the candy dish on the coffee table, its hard nuggets of sugar and color stuck together.

I give you the turkey made from a drawing of your hand.

I give you those big picture books with cracked spines that your mother read to you, the way her voice changed to shape the story.

And then there’s your dad, putting on the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street, turning it up and dancing around. Not gracefully, a little unhinged, but with a lot of passion.

I give you that first concert—was it Michael Jackson? You memorized the names of all five Jacksons, memorized the songs. You were jealous of your cousin’s pierced ear, that dangling glove earring. You slept with his albums under your bed in hopes that you would dream of him and his tiger. You were eight.

Can you see the little girl in pigtails, dancing in the dining room till dinnertime?

Or the little boy obsessed with mime?

I give you that moment someone explained to you that when someone dies onstage it’s make-believe.

I give you that moment you fell asleep during the musical, or during church, and then when you woke up during the last song, you thought you had woken up in heaven.

What was the first song that made you cry?

Do you remember the first time you smelled a darkroom?

I give you the bright plaster tropical fish swimming across Aunt Betty’s bathroom, fish not found in nature, but found in Aunt Betty’s bathroom.

I give you the bronze and copper statues of deer in your grandfather’s office, the way they felt in your hand when you played with them. You were not supposed to play with them. The doe with a relief image of a fawn on her stomach.

I give you the stiletto heels you mother spray-painted gold and placed elves inside, your favorite Christmas decoration.

I give you the carnival glass cup your grandmother drank her coffee from, iridescent, you thought it beautiful, and the demitasse spoon she used to stir in the Pet Milk.

Who was the child in that framed portrait at the back of Granny Lola’s house? Was the child dead? They used to do that. I give you that dark, hand-carved frame.

I give you the old man at your grandma’s church who taught you to sing with shaped notes. It was serious business. It was like a foreign language.

I give you the women’s syncopated clapping, the shuffling of feet, the bending and rising of bodies with the lyrics of the song.

I give you that moment you picked out your mom among the other women, sure you heard her voice alone.

I give you Mrs. Slavin’s weekly music class, the five-line chalk holder she used to draw a musical staff on the board, the way it would sometimes squeal, then she’d write in the notes. You loved her weekly visits and the songs she taught you. You still remember “Hava Nagilah.”

I give you Leontyne Price and some guy singing on PBS when you were flipping through the channels. It was Samson and Delilah. You didn’t understand what they were saying, but you were, for that moment, in another world.

I give you Bugs Bunny and The Rabbit of Seville.

I give you that place under the piano where you’d sit while your aunt played.

I give you the first time you saw deaf people waving their hands in applause. It was after a dance performance. Their silence and motion was as beautiful as the dance.

Do you remember the May Day celebration at Earlewood Park, decades ago, your dress made of crepe paper—it was the prettiest dress in the world—crepe paper like the streamers, weaving in and out, plaiting the pole.

I give you your mother laying out the pattern for a dress on the dining table and cutting out the fabric pieces.

I give you Spirograph, Etch-a-Sketch, string art, Light Bright, Play-doh, and that little plastic handmade potholder loom.

I give you your grandmother’s quilt, made of old clothes, tablecloths, sheets, anything. They were not traditional patterns. They were beautiful. They kept you warm.

I give you the oriental rug in the floor of your family’s military housing. It mesmerized you. You could ride the elephants all day.

I give you the black and white prints of classical architecture—Ionic, Doric, acanthus leaves—hanging in the cramped rooms of a tract home.

Your aunts would tell stories in the living room, and your uncles would tell stories outside under the oak trees. When did you realize these were two very different sets of stories?

I give you your uncle’s swanky Eames chair.

I give you the tacky ashtray of an exotic topless woman that your dad and his buddy passed back and forth every Christmas. The lei of flowers was perfectly placed, her figure perfectly balanced to rock back and forth. It was the 1950s. You grew up to be a feminist.

I give you the drum solo in In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly. You listened to it with your dad in the car. It’s the reason you took drum lessons.

I give you your mother singing, her clear powerful soprano, until chemotherapy and radiation took her voice away.

I give you the organ in the corner no one ever played.

Your father brought it home from the war, that little Swiss-made wooden music box. Your mother used to wind it up and place it on her pillow when you lay down for a nap. When your father died, your mother gave it to you.

When was it you realized you were tone-deaf and started to sing only in the car or in your head? I want you to sing again.

I give you Aunt Mary’s sound system, the red velvet panels and wood carvings, and the sound of Billie Holiday.

I give you Billie Holiday’s voice and the crackling sound of a needle on vinyl.

I give you the crackling sound of a needle on vinyl.

[Note: A shorter version of this poem was read aloud at the Amplify Launch Event on January 29, 2018]

January 29, 2018

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT OF AMPLIFY

2pm, Township Auditorium  – MAP

Please join us as we announce the start of the cultural planning period! This 12-18 month effort will result in a plan that takes into consideration current trends in the development of arts and culture at a national level, advances the growth of the local and regional creative community, and considers ways to expand access to the arts for the region’s culturally diverse and growing population and align with city planning efforts.

This announcement is also an event associated with Midlands Regional Competitiveness Week.