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Local nonprofit contributes to high economic activity for art in Columbia

This photo features a blue color scheme. It appears that the artist is crafting some sort of wax stamp for an envelope.
Annie Spratt
Local nonprofit Weavers and Spinners holds its first holiday exhibition since the pandemic.

COLUMBIA - The Columbia Weavers and Spinners Guild held its first Holiday Exhibition since the COVID-19 pandemic Friday. The exhibition, held at the American Legion Hall, showcased the guild members' hand-made items as well as demonstrations of their work.

Items included hand-woven towels, knitted hats, handmade paper books and cards among a wide variety of pieces.

The nonprofit is part the art community in Columbia that has thrived in recent years. The Office of Cultural Affairs reported this week that Columbia's nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $18.7 million in economic activity in 2022.

About $10 million came from nonprofit spending, and $8 million came from event-related spending from their audiences.

Pam Haverland, the co-chair of the Columbia Weavers and Spinners Guild, said bring back the holiday exhibition is good for art in the city.

"I think it's a very win-win situation for our members as well as for the community," Haverland said.

The Office of Cultural Affairs cited a study completed by Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. According to the study, when art organizations hold events, community members often make an outing out of it. Attendees spend $36.39 per person per event, beyond the cost of admission, according to the study.

The Spinners and Weavers Guild exhibition was free for visitors to attend. Attendee Lottie Bushman said the vibrant art community in Columbia is what brought her here.

"It's one of the reasons I live in Columbia. It's one of the reasons why I brought my family here," Bushman said.

Bushman also pointed out the holiday shopping opportunity the exhibition creates.

"It's a really great opportunity to get some beautiful handmade gifts. I have bought several things for myself though so I may have to keep looking to get gifts for others," Bushman said.

Vicki Smith, who showcased her art the event, said the high economic impact of local art is good to hear as an artist.

"It's great to hear that the arts are alive and doing well," Smith said.

The exhibition closes at 6 p.m. Friday, and the guild will hold another from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

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