COLUMBIA — Two signs stand in the front yard of the Victorian-style house at 214 St. Joseph St. One sign declares the house is one of Columbia’s 10 Most Notable Properties for 2008. The other sign, a Re/Max Boone Realty sign, speaks for itself.
The Holy Road House, as it’s been called the last two years, is for sale.
Singers/songwriters Lizzie West and her husband, Anthony Kieraldo, founded Holy Road Tours in 2006. Later that year, they moved from New York City and purchased the elegant old-fashioned property in Columbia to establish it as a boarding house for developing artists seeking a medium to further explore their crafts.
“We wanted it in the middle of the country since we are a touring organization, and it would allow artists to move around the country more easily,” West said.
In 2007, they officially co-founded Holy Road Tours Union, a nonprofit touring and lifestyle co-op. The idea behind the organization is that every year an artist would be selected to travel around the country while the other union members worked to support and promote that artist. During this time, the other members would interact with the local community and work on their own art. At the end of the year, one of the other developing artists would have the opportunity to become the next artist to go on tour.
But after two years, the Columbia Holy Road House has ceased operations.
“It was difficult keeping the community house thriving and pumping, especially with today's economy,” Kieraldo said. “That community is really incredible though, and we hope that our presence there helped energize its already active arts community. I think it did.”
Though the Holy Road House didn’t work out, its founders hold no regrets.
“We moved to Columbia in hopes of better knowing the heart of our country,” West said. “We're so happy we did that. Being part of a smaller community and exploring the true culture of our country's heart has been absolutely inspiring.”
During their time in Columbia, members of the Holy Road House hosted potlucks, recorded music, opened the house to the public, embraced local artists, hosted some national artists and produced a few events.
“We have made some great friends in Columbia and want to take this time to thank the whole community for embracing us,” West said. “Over the last two years we have seen a lot of communities around this country. We can sincerely say that Columbia is one of the most exciting and active pockets in the nation. Though it’s now time for us to move east again, we will always think of Columbia as our first home together.”
To view an online slideshow of collected shots from West's two years in Columbia, click here.
West and Kieraldo are still touring and living life on the ‘holy road’. You can follow their journeys at lizziewestlife.com.