I hope you read my post last night about Columbia Open Studios this weekend…tonight, check out this great itinerary my sweet friend Chloe put together for me in preparation for Saturday.
This itinerary is how my family will explore our neighborhood route of Columbia Open Studios this year. It covers the way we’ll hop to and from artists’ studios in Forest Acres – with some of our favorite places to grab breakfast, lunch and dinner along the way!
How will your family explore Columbia Open Studios? Check out the artists in your own neighborhood online at ColumbiaOpenStudios.org, then answer in a comment below to be entered to win a pair of tickets to the official Columbia Open Studios Preview Party, Thursday, March 31, 7-9 pm, at 701 Center for Contemporary Art in historic 701 Whaley!
Start your neighborhood tour of Columbia Open Studios with breakfast in Trenholm Plaza on Forest Drive: Settle down with a stack of housemade pancakes and a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice at one of our favorite family-friendly spots, Original Pancake House, or grab brunch at the trendy Tazza Kitchen to try their Spicy Sausage & Black Pepper Honey Breakfast Pizza, huevos rancheros or crabcake benedict – and a mimosa, if you’re a passenger on this self-guided tour!
Want something quicker to eat on your way to artists’ studios? Pick up a scone or muffin at neighborhood bakeshop, Ally & Eloise, further up Forest Drive; or a healthy pressed juice and fresh granola, yogurt and fruit cup from local health-nut haven, The Fresh Market back in Trenholm Plaza.
Making your way down Forest Drive, start your tour at mixed media artist Lyssa Harvey’s studio (24). As well as working as an artist, Lyssa is a therapist and runs the Art and Play Therapy Center of South Carolina, a nonprofit that helps children through counseling, art therapy and play therapy.
Next, visit the studios of Scotty Peek and Sally Peek (42), creative couple extraordinaire. If you don’t have a Nana by Sally bag, you probably know someone who does… and guess who makes those? Sally Peek! Her husband, Scotty, draws and paints, so you’ll get a diverse experience visiting their home studios.
Next up is Lee A. Monts (38), mixed media artist and painter who focuses on natural scenes, and also works as an illustrator for novels and poems. After that, visit the studio of Alicia Leeke (34) whose work is inspired by French Salon painters and how they captured history, social conscience and architecture by painting the people and environments surrounding them.
Continue on to the studios of Mike Donkle (12), painter and photographer; and Mary Ann Haven (25), who specializes in Tromp L’oeil and is often commissioned to produce elaborate, beautiful murals and decorative finishes in residential homes.
For lunch, stop by one of our family’s favorite spots: Groucho’s, a Columbia institution for more than 70 years, for one of their famous sandwiches; The Happy Café for a locally-made, veggie-packed salad; Village Idiot for a quick and yummy slice of pizza; or the local fast-casual staple Zesto for a burger and fries, with one of their iconic vanilla cones for dessert (add rainbow sprinkles for extra fun!).
After you’ve filled your bellies, venture down to Lake Katherine and Heathwood to check out the working spaces of pottery maker Jane Schwantes (46) – and maybe even pick up a piece of her homemade porcelain tableware – then Angel Allen (2), who makes mosaics with found objects; and Jan Swanson (49), whose paintings are created layer by layer.
Head down to Garner’s Ferry Road to get your jewelry fix at the joint studio of jewelry maker Betty Evans and handmade bead crafter Carolyn F. Ramsay (16). Then, visit artist-of-many-trades Patrick Parise (41) to see drawings on copper and zinc plates, paintings on glass panes and more, before getting on Beltline Boulevard and heading back up to Forest Acres to cap off your tour with a delicious dinner.
You’ve finished touring the art studios of Forest Acres! Hungry? Head back toward home and stop in to The Pizza Joint for a brick oven-fired pie and beer; Tombo Grille for a contemporary Southern meal (often with live music in-restaurant!), or the neighborhood upscale Italian favorite, Rosso Trattoria, for a handcrafted pasta dish and a robust red from their extensive wine list. Cheers to you!
Where will you explore on your Columbia Open Studios tour? Don’t forget to post your answer in a comment below to be entered to win a pair of tickets to the official Columbia Open Studios Preview Party at 701 Center for Contemporary Art in 701 Whaley on Thursday, March 31, 7-9 pm, with cash bar, complimentary small bites, a preview art exhibit and a chance to meet the artists of Columbia Open Studios!
Columbia Open Studios, presented by 701 Center for Contemporary Art, will take place Saturday, April 2, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, April 3, 12-6 p.m. across the City of Columbia and Richland and Lexington Counties. For online maps, artist bios and more info about Columbia Open Studios and the Preview Party on March 31, 7-9 p.m., visit→ Columbia Open Studios.