Candidate Forum on Arts and Culture

One Columbia will be hosting a forum for City Council candidates to serve as an opportunity for them to communicate their platform on arts and culture. The forum is open to the public and will take place on September 10 from 7-8:30pm at 701 Whaley in the Market Space.

This forum will allow citizens to hear directly from candidates before the election, as well as afford them a space to lay out their arts and culture platform. This forum will allow for discussion of some of the issues directly related to arts and artists that will be less-debated in other public forums.

Melanie Huggins, executive director of the Richland Library, will serve as moderator. The format will involve some pre-determined questions, some yes/no questions and some time for the audience to participate. Topics that we expect to cover will include how the arts contribute to Columbia, the role of artists, public support for the arts and a vision for arts and culture in our city. 

Compass Survey – Part II

Amplify is one section among many of the overall Columbia Compass: Envision 2036 plan, and your voice is vital to all parts of comprehensive planning. The City of Columbia is continuing to conduct research on the community’s population, natural resources, land use, transportation, housing, community facilities, cultural resources and economy.

An initial Compass survey, conducted in Fall 2018, helped city staff to define some of the Compass plan’s vision. Please take the time to take the second part of their survey to provide feedback on some of the possible strategies to address the city’s various challenges.

This 37-question survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete, and all questions are optional.

Take the Compass Survey

Columbia Compass

The City of Columbia has announced the kick off of Columbia Compass and the first round of public engagement for the ten-year update to the City of Columbia’s comprehensive plan. This 12 to 18-month effort will result in a plan that the City’s citizens and policy makers can use as a blueprint to help navigate the City’s future. Much like your help with Amplify, your input for the rest of the comprehensive plan is vital as we all work together to define a vision for Columbia, and identify the policies, programs, and infrastructure investments necessary to make that vision a reality.  Two identical drop-in format public open houses will be held on October 3rd and 4th from 5-8pm: 

  • Wednesday, October 3, 2018, 5-8pm, Richland Library Main, Auditorium, 1431 Assembly Street, Columbia, SC 29201
  • Thursday, October 4, 2018, 5-8pm, Eau Claire Print Building, 3907 Ensor Avenue, Columbia, SC 29203

The planning process will result in a vision and document which can help guide City Council as they Envision 2036 – when Columbia will celebrate its 250th year, or semiquincentennial.  Elements of the plan research and analysis will include Columbia’s population, natural resources, land use, transportation, housing, community facilities, cultural resources, and economic development.

Amplify is a partnership between One Columbia and the City of Columbia to develop the cultural resources element of the comprehensive plan.

For more information about Columbia Compass: Envision 2036, visit, follow @ColaCompass on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the Planning and Development Services Department at 803-545-3222.

Signal to Noise: Amplify Columbia Wants to Create a Cultural Plan for the City. What Does That Mean?

From the Free Times – July 4, 2018

by Patrick Wall, Photos by Thomas Hammond

Back in January, at the public unveiling of Amplify Columbia, the effort to create a unified cultural plan spearheaded by the city and the city-backed arts nonprofit One Columbia for Arts and History, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin opened his address by reading a poem: William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus.” Translated from Latin, invictus means “unconquered,” and its most famous couplet — “I am the master of my fate: / I am the captain of my soul” — is a well-worn mantra for communicating importance and purpose.

“We stand here by choice, not by chance,” the mayor said on the steps of the Township Auditorium, the historic concert hall whose history is uniquely intertwined with the city’s. “[W]e’re going to direct Columbia in being what we believe and know it can be: the most talented, most educated, most entrepreneurial, the strongest cultural asset that America can possibly have. Amplify will make sure that that happens.”

Click here to read the full article. 

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.

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.