CMA Artist Salon with Virginia Scotchie


The Columbia Museum of Art presents the next Artist Salon with Virginia Scotchie, ceramics artist and head of ceramics at the USC Department of Art, at the Museum on Friday, September 5, 2014, at noon. This year, the CMA placed an installation of Scotchie’s work entitled Columbia Spheres, consisting of 27 colorful spheres, on display in the entrance of the Dubose-Poston Reception Hall. She discusses the installation and her artistic process.


“The sphere has been a form that I have worked with off and on for the past nine years,” says Scotchie. “Its illusive simplicity, economy, and boundless visual associations permit me to work with the sphere in many ways. I respond to the minimal nature and play/humor quality of the sphere. I should also mention that I have three children and the plethora of toys, specifically balls, abounds in my everyday world. ‘Play’ is significant in this artwork!”


In Columbia Spheres, the sphere is used to create a minimalist repetition through the use of form, color, and arrangement. Within this visual repetition Scotchie pulls the viewer closer to inspect each sphere as they approach the installation. The juxtaposition of color and texture serves to separate, and at the same time, unite each sphere. The colors used for this installation represent Columbia’s abundance of lush nature and blue sky.


Scotchie’s sphere installations are found in the permanent public collections of the Yingee Ceramic Museum in Taipei, Taiwan; The Trinity Building in Charlotte, N.C.; A Loft in Asheville, N.C., Queens University in Charlotte, N.C., as well as in numerous private collections in the U.S. and Europe. She currently has a year-long exhibition at the South Carolina State Museum.


Free with membership or admission.


For more information visit

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Local poet, arts advocate, and arts organizer Al Black releases his first book, I only Left for Tea:  Poems, on Friday, August 29th with a 7 pm party at the historic Equitable Arcade Building at 1332 Main Street.  Edited by Ed Madden, I Only Left for Tea:  Poems is a publication of Muddy Ford Press, underwriter for Jasper Magazine. It is the press’s 11th publication.

Black, a native of Indiana, moved to the Columbia area in 2008 when his wife accepted a teaching position at Newberry College. A life-long poet, Black, who is also a former coach and athlete, had never shared his work with others—not even his wife, Carol—but he craved the community of writers so he soon began establishing poetry groups to meet various needs in Columbia’s growing writing community. Now, Al leads Mind Gravy, a combination music and poetry group that meets at Drip Coffee in Five Points, as well as two other groups, Bones of the Spirit and Songversation, both of which meet in West Columbia.

The celebration of I Only Left for Tea will feature a signing and reading by Black as well as a musical performance by local music group Daddy Lion, light refreshments, and a cash (donation) bar. The public is invited to attend.


About Al Black

A Hoosier in the land of cotton, Al Black was born and raised in Lafayette, Indiana.  He has been married 42 years to Carol Agnew Black; they have four grown children and nine grandchildren. Black was drafted and served as a Conscientious Objector during the Vietnam era, attended Ball State and Purdue Universities, and is a Baha’i. By day he has worked in various management positions and been a business owner; by night he has been an athlete, coach, community activist, and town gadfly. Black began writing verse at age nine, but kept his poems strictly to himself. In late 2008, he moved to South Carolina so his wife could accept a job as a professor of Sociology. Unemployed for the first time and free from family and community expectations, he publicly shared his first poetry four years ago.  Black considers himself a northern born Southern poet because it was here in the South that he felt free to blossom.


Ed Madden on Al Black’s I Only Left for Tea

“We return here often,” says Al Black in the book’s title poem, “to resume mid-sentence our conversation upon my deck.” That’s the feel of this book, a kind of wide-ranging conversation with a friend. Even as the book teases out in confessional poems the relation between the past and the present, the author’s origins in the Midwest and his life now in the American South, and even as it opens out into broader perspective in voices and stories that spin through the heart of the book, it comes back to the quiet intimacy and vulnerability that drives this collection.  Leavetaking and loss haunt the book, but a desire for connection and continuity keeps us coming back to the deck for that “gift of time together.” – Ed Madden, author of Nest



I Only Left For Tea

We return here often

To resume mid-sentence

Our conversation upon my deck

Paisley patterned spinning backward

Then forward – narrowing and swelling into its self

Like designs upon a blanket


Is time a straight line?

Postulated geometry – point A to point B

Or maybe, it is a long and colorful ribbon that ties

Our gift of time together

Moments that are more than anniversaries

To etch upon our gravestones


You and I return here often

To resume our full-flight soaring

On communion’s thermal zephyrs

What is yesterday – today – tomorrow?

I only left for tea

We return here often – wrapped in our paisley blanket

To resume mid-sentence


From I Only Left for Tea:  Poems by Al Black, Muddy Ford Press, 2014.



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CALL for NOMINATIONS – Jasper 2014 Artists of the Year

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Jasper 2014 Artists of the Year

Jasper Magazine announces the call for nominations for the title “Artist of the Year” in each of the following five categories:

  • Dance
  • Theatre
  • Music
  • Visual Arts
  • Literary Arts

Artists, 18 and older, working in the greater Columbia arts community are eligible for the title based upon their artistic accomplishments during the period from September 15, 2013 until September 15, 2014.

Nominations should be sent to with the subject heading “Artist of the Year” and should be accompanied by

  • a brief but detailed and comprehensive list of work produced or performed during the designated time period

Nominations must be received online by midnight September 21, 2014. Results will be announced in the November issue of Jasper Magazine.

Upon closing of the nomination call, a panel of judges will select the top three candidates in each field, and the public will be invited to vote online for their top choices.

The category Dance includes:  performance, choreography, or direction of any form of dance including, but not limited to ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap, ballroom, or folk.

The category Theatre includes: directing or acting in one or more local performances.

The category Music includes: conducting, directing, writing, or performing any style of music in one or more local concerts or recordings; both individuals and groups are eligible.

The category Visual Arts includes: the completion and presentation of any form of non-performing or non-literary arts, such as painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, print-making, mixed-media, etc.

The category Literary Arts includes: the completion, publication, and/or presentation of any form of prose, poetry, or non-fiction writing, as well as playwriting and the writing of executed screenplays.

Jasper 2014 Artist of the Year Awards will not be awarded based on achievements accomplished prior to September 2011. The purpose of the awards is to recognize artistic achievements accomplished within a calendar year. There is no fee to enter. Artists may nominate themselves. Artists should be made aware of their nomination and agree to participate in the competition. Employees of Jasper Magazine and clients of Muddy Ford Press are not eligible for competition.


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