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The Guide: Columbia art galleries

View artwork from around the world, and span centuries without leaving the city

May 19, 2011 | 12:00 a.m. CST

To an art lover, few things are as welcoming as the smooth, expansive floors and track lighting of an art gallery. Columbia’s galleries are filled with carefully curated items such as Native American kachina dolls, handcrafted jewelry and origami paper mobiles. They offer a glimpse of the work of tomorrow’s artists and a look at the utilitarian pieces fashioned by our ancestors. Admission to each is free.

Artlandish Gallery

Where: 1019 E. Walnut St.
When: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Call: 573-442-2999 
A visit to Artlandish Gallery begins in the above-ground shop, a quirky room with exposed brick walls and a creaky hardwood floor. It’s packed with handmade greeting cards, cellophane-wrapped photographs, paintings and homemade soap. The rainbow-painted stairs at the back of the room lead to the catacombs beneath Artlandish Gallery, a show space operated by local artists who sell jewelry, paintings, sculptures and T-shirts in the cave-like spaces. Five times per year, Artlandish Gallery brings the party downstairs with the Catacombs Art Market, a special event that includes live music, demonstrations and plenty of artwork. It also participates in Artrageous Fridays. The attached North Village Studios provide a creative home for mid-Missouri artists.

Bluestem Missouri Crafts

Where: 13 S. Ninth St.
When: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday,
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Call: 573-442-0211
At Bluestem Missouri Crafts, the focus is on being neighborly. This philosophy extends not only to the friendly staff, but also to a collection created by artists in Missouri and its eight bordering states. A tour through the three-room gallery takes viewers on a journey of artistic styles seen in paper tulips and cranes dangling on mobiles, hand-dyed blankets and whimsical, beaded collage pieces. Signature (and complimentary) gift wrap includes deep blue wrapping paper topped with a white ribbon and a paper dogwood flower, the Missouri state tree. Around Christmas, Bluestem bends its neighbors-only rule to offer hand-blown glass ornaments from all over the country. The 28-year-old art shop participates in Artrageous Fridays.

Columbia Art League

Where: 207 S. Ninth St.
When: Tuesday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Call: 573-443-8838
This calm, spacious gallery houses a large room where shows take place and a smaller room where members sell wares such as photos, jewelry and ceramics. The shows are sometimes juried and other times populated by the work of Columbia Art League members; they’re switched out every six weeks or so. Shows include mixed-media works, photography and paintings. Columbia Art League participates in Art in the Park every June and occasionally hosts receptions in conjunction with Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts.

Davis Art Gallery

Where: 1414 E. Walnut, Stephens College
When: During the academic year: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Call: 573-876-7233
Students and seasoned artists share the limelight at Davis Art Gallery. The intimate, light-filled space attracts budding artists and their established counterparts from mid-Missouri and beyond. Exhibitions, which are displayed for a month or two, might include photos, fiber arts, worked metal, paintings, ceramics and other creative pieces. Artists and art appreciators celebrate the opening of new exhibitions with refreshments and public receptions, which are usually held on Friday evenings.

George Caleb Bingham Gallery

Where: A125 MU Fine Arts Building at the corner of Hitt Street and University Avenue
When: When MU is in session: Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; summer hours: Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Call: 573-882-3555
Up-and-coming MU student artists get an early taste of the spotlight at George Caleb Bingham Gallery, where they have the opportunity to display their artwork for juried shows or capstone projects. Visitors are treated to youthful, expressive paintings, sculptures, charcoal or pastel drawings and other works created by artists who might turn out to be the next crop of Picassos and Van Goghs. To shake things up a bit, George Caleb Bingham Gallery also hosts faculty exhibitions each semester and two outside artists a year.

The Muse Café and Gallery

Where: 110 Orr St., Suite 101
When: Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to
5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 5 to 10 p.m.
Call: 573-875-0840
Columbians can get their fill here: The Muse Café and Gallery offers socially responsible, eco-friendly sandwiches, salads, smoothies and coffee in addition to an ever-changing art collection. The Starving Artist features boursin cheese and seasonal veggies on whole wheat for $4.95, and fresh fruit is a menu staple. The small art collection showcases local photographers, poets and other artists, and a galley window lets diners watch as the Missouri Contemporary Ballet practice. The Muse Café and Gallery also devotes an entire wall to a chalkboard calendar, which is filled with events such as Tapas and Tangos from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and quarterly Artrageous Fridays.

Museum of Anthropology

Where: 100 Swallow Hall, MU
When: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to
4 p.m.
Call: 573-882-3573
History buffs might have trouble deciding where to begin at the Museum of Anthropology. It’s split into two sections, one including prehistoric Missouri art and artifacts and the other showcasing Native American items such as Southwestern pottery, Navajo rugs and kachina dolls. Each autumn, the museum takes part in Fall Crawl, an event that gives visitors the chance to tour all the MU museums.

Museum of Art and Archaeology

Where: 1 Pickard Hall, MU
When: Tuesday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.
Call: 573-882-3591
MU’s Museum of Art and Archaeology contains the third-largest collection of art and artifacts in the state, tour coordinator Barbara Fabacher says. This includes ancient coins, oceanic masks, African figures and casts of famous Greek and Roman sculptures. Although most of the displays are permanent, the museum shows three special exhibitions each year in addition to smaller exhibitions that change more frequently. The museum often organizes free events for the public, including film viewings, lectures and Art in Bloom, a weekend when local floral designers showcase their art-inspired arrangements.

Montminy Art Gallery

Where: 3801 Ponderosa St. at the Walters-Boone County Museum
When: May through September, Wednesday through Sunday, 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; October through April, Thursday through Sunday, 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Call: 573-443-8936
Columbia art professors Tracy and Pierre Montminy endowed their estate to the Boone County Historical Society so the horseshoe-shaped Montminy Art Gallery could be built and maintained. The Montminys’ work is part of the collection there, and other rotating exhibits may include blown glass items, sculptures, fiber arts, paintings or even art made by Columbia Public School students. Each time a new exhibit is unveiled — every two months or so — the staff and volunteers at Montminy Art Gallery host an opening reception so the public can meet the artists over refreshments.

Orr Street Studios

Where: 106 Orr St.
When: Thursday through Saturday, noon to 3 p.m. or by appointment
Call: 573-875-4370
From the very first glimpse of the neon sign outside heralding “Art” along with an arrow, this space establishes its cool, industrial vibe. In addition to zany, whimsical or sobering artwork, Orr Street Studios features a collection of enormous, one-of-a-kind doors fashioned by artist Chris Teeter. One appears to have a giant keyhole filled with copper pieces in its center; another shows a mechanical-looking creature preparing to gobble something up. Nature-inspired paintings and colorful mosaics cohabitate within the Orr Street Studios doors (and among Teeter’s interior doors).


Where: 1025 Walnut St.
When: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; appointments available upon request
Call: 573-442-4831
The building that houses this gallery is a work of art in and of itself; original hardwood floors and exposed beams highlight the loft-like architecture at PS:Gallery’s current home. The artwork, which includes photography, fiber arts, paintings, sculptures, ceramics and jewelry, is completely swapped out four times a year, so art lovers never have to wait long. When a new exhibit opens, the gallery celebrates with a reception so artists and their admirers can mingle.

Sidney Larson Gallery

Where: Brown Hall, Columbia College
When: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Call: 573-875-7517
Named for the late Sidney Larson, a Columbia College art instructor, this unusual gallery takes on the form of a wide corridor in the art building. The bright, roomy gallery is lined with student, faculty and visiting artists’ work, including paintings, prints, drawings and more. The space sometimes houses juried shows such as the annual Paper in Particular show, which is open to student artists who work primarily with or on paper, whether they’re photographers, printmakers or painters.

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