COLUMBIA — The Columbia Art League's new location in the Missouri Theatre provides a more visible connection between art and the community.
Now physically connected to the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, the art league enjoys its location between MU and the city, said Diana Moxon, executive director of the Columbia Art League.
WHAT: Columbia Art League's Grand Opening Open House Weekend
WHERE: Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, 207 S. Ninth St.
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday
Art league members and ambassadors of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce gathered outside the new space Thursday morning for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which launched the art league's grand-opening weekend.
The space is contemporary and the ceilings tall. A large wooden bench in the entrance provides sitting space for visitors to take it all in, Moxon said.
"Where we've been located in the past, you could never see the art from the street," board member Patricia Coles said about the league's former location, 111 S. Ninth St. Now the community can, thanks to the extensive window space along Ninth Street.
With the new location also comes the opportunity to engage with art education, said education director Amy Meyer, who has new ideas for the arts programs. The league tries to bring in local, regional and national artists in a "three-tiered approach to the exhibit and education," Meyer said. This way, local artists don't have to travel to get a quality art education, she said.
The art league's expansion is making the connection between art and the Columbia community more visible, board member Coles said. And that, Moxon said, is the league's greater purpose.
The art league "doesn't belong to anyone, it belongs to Columbia," Moxon said. "We just look after it and manage it for the community."
The art league rents the space from the Missouri Theatre, Moxon said, and physical connection fosters engagement between the two.
"The Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts really lives up to its name now that both visual and performing arts are included in the same space," Coles said. The theater can now open its doors to the gallery space before and after shows for the theater's visitors to enjoy visual arts as well, she said.
"It's nice to see people so engaged with art," Moxon said of the visitors, who she said are already in the art mindset when they walk through the connecting doors.
The opening ceremonies continue through the weekend with visual art, music and performances. Many of the events cater to children, including young musical performers, interactive art and stage makeup lessons.
"We want the next generation to inherit the art league," Moxon said.