“Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness.” That quote from Annie Albers is more true today than ever, and the Columbia Museum of Art is serving up big portions of happiness with two new exhibits this spring.
The museum, which did close for a time during the pandemic is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and Executive Director Della Watkins said the museum is a safe and welcoming environment.
“We are taking all the requirements, watching capacity and encouraging social distancing, but itt it's a safe and fun and welcoming place to visit. We are open ready to go,” said Watkins. “We're springing forward into a very positive and exciting spring schedule, and with that, we're going to be bold, and brave.”
The Columbia Museum of Art, located at 1515 Main Street, Columbia, ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and creative educational programs. At the heart of the Museum and its programs is its collection, which encompasses nearly 7,000 works and spans thousands of years of history, representing a full range of world cultures.
Established in 1950, the Museum now welcomes more than 135,000 visitors annually.
“Three years ago, we had its first renovation since its opening, which added new galleries and a hands-on space and an educational component. It redid the public spaces and elevated what the museum is able to do,” said Watkins.
“So The museum has 20 galleries of permanent collection on view all the time, and our special exhibition galleries are in six galleries, and they rotate approximately every three to four months. So with that, we have a strong educational program. So we are working from preschool all the way through our lifelong learners.”
During COVID, the museum had the opportunity to offer more virtual and video components, reaching more citizens than it ever had.
New Exhibits for Spring
In the spring exhibit The Imaginative Worlds of M.C. Escher, images by artist Maurits C. Escher (1898–1972) fascinate audiences with their imaginative design, consummate draftsmanship, and dreamy visions. His mind-bending prints include subjects like infinite staircases, tessellating birds changing into fish and back again, and two hands drawing each other.
This is the largest private Escher collection on exhibition in the world, including woodcuts, lithographs, drawings, and mezzotints. You will see his best-known prints as well as lesser-known works, spanning his entire career from his earliest print to his final masterpiece. You’ll also get a glimpse into the artist's process with a woodblock study and lithographic stone. Collection of Paul and Anna Belinda Firos, Athens, Greece.
“My job at the museum is to bring wonderful one-of-a-kind, world famous, special, edgy, and diverse exhibitions,” said Watkins. “We need to be scholarly, we need to be fun, but also relate to what our schoolchildren are doing. With this exhibition, we are going to dive right into teaching math and science and symmetry and perspective, drawing and all those things that Esther can show in his work.”
The Museum will also unveil a dazzling new exhibition fundraiser featuring floral art from designers and garden clubs across the greater Columbia region for four days of breathtaking delights and intriguing fun.
Set for April 15 to 18, Art Blossoms will feature 20 floral arrangements from local garden clubs that will be paired with the art at the galleries.
“Imagine if you're looking at a big painting on the wall, and there is a pedestal with the flower arrangement. You can look at the art and the flowers, and it might be a literal interpretation that mimics the shape or the size or the color or it may be an arrangement that was inspired by the art,” said Watkins.
For more information about the museum or the exhibitions, visit ColumbiaMuseum.org.