Last week, Columbus State University unveiled Six Feet Apart, an outdoor art exhibit along the Columbus RiverWalk, that showcases the work of CSU's graduating seniors. The university's annual senior thesis exhibition typically debuts in the Illges Gallery at the Corn Center for the Arts on CSU's RiverPark Campus in Uptown Columbus, however COVID-19 and the necessity for social distancing made a traditional gallery setting impossible this year.
"May’s calendar is normally full of celebration with gallery exhibitions, open studios, and lectures at the Columbus State University Department of Art," said Hannah Israel, CSU's Gallery Director. "With local museums and galleries closed, our graduating BFA candidates who are now remotely balancing their semester at home, would have lost their chance for a traditional final exhibition in the Illges Gallery. We just couldn't let that happen."
In response, Israel along with her colleagues at a local public art charity, The Do Good Fund, began a quest for collaborators who could help make a senior exhibit possible.
"The Do Good Fund saw an opportunity to partner with other community-minded organizations to give these graduating seniors a chance to show their work safely in this time of social distancing," said Israel. "We hope that this will also give the broader community a bit of respite during these stressful times."
What happened next was an unprecedented local collaborative effort to bring the work of CSU's graduates to the public. Due to cooperation between Columbus State University’s Department of Art and the Dragonfly Trails, and with community support from the W. C. Bradley Company, D&S Sign Company, and The Do Good Fund public art project, Six Feet Apart debuted as an art display along the RiverWalk and Dragonfly Trail that offers a safe way to enjoy a museum-quality experience.
A section of 'Six Feet Apart ' graces the Dragonfly Trail along the RiverWalk in Uptown Columbus, Georgia.
This collaborative local triumph not only made it possible for CSU's 2020 fine art graduates to share their work with a wider audience, it did so in a way that upholds the ongoing need for social distancing in our community.
Our team at The Columbusite wanted to share more than a bit of news about the exhibit though, so we contacted the teams at CSU and Dragonfly Trails to find out more about the students behind the work. Watch the following videos to discover who they are, and what our community's effort to bring their work to the public has meant to them.
*The following interviews were recorded at home by each student. We are sharing them here and on social media with their permission. Special thanks to Hannah Israel and Becca Zajac at Dragonfly Trails for coordinating these interviews with the students for us during this complicated time.
Artist: William Lytton
Artist: Vanessa Bischoff
Artist: Joshua Newbend
Artist: Emily Williams
Artist: Dalton Newbend
What: Six Feet Apart - A public art display showcasing the work of CSU's 2020 fine art graduates. Made possible through local collaboration between Columbus State University’s Department of Art, the Dragonfly Trails, and with community support from the W. C. Bradley Company and D&S Sign Company, and The Do Good Fund public art project.
Location: Riverwalk between the 14th Street Bridge and the Powerhouse Viewing Date: May 1 and through Summer 2020.
Important Note: Please remember to practice social distancing while viewing the project.