Columbia Museum of Art Recognized at the White House

Entrance to Columbia Museum of Art

Hard work and dedication truly do pay off.

Eighteen years ago, the Columbia Museum of Art opened its doors at its current Main Street location. The move from its original site on Bull and Senate Streets was the beginning of Columbia’s revitalization of its downtown. The museum was meant to serve as the cultural anchor on Main Street, and it has served its purpose so well that now, nearly two decades later, it is receiving national recognition. 

The Columbia Museum of Art is a recipient of the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. According to the museum’s website, this is the nation’s highest honor awarded to museums and libraries for service to their communities.

The State reports that the award only goes to five museums and five libraries in the nation, and the Columbia Museum of Art was the only art museum to receive the award this year.

The CMA’s executive director Karen Brosius, along with representatives Claude M. Walker Jr. and Joyce Rose-Harris, attended the ceremony in Washington D.C.

According to The State, First Lady Michelle Obama will be among those present at the ceremony to honor the award winners. 

“In many communities, our libraries and museums are the places that help young people dream bigger and reach higher for their futures, the places that help new immigrants learn English and apply for citizenship…the places where folks can access a computer and send out a job application, so they can get back to work and get back to the important process of supporting their families,” said Mrs. Obama, according to the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The CMA reports that the recognition it is receiving ultimately is due to its arts educational outreach efforts to at-risk, rural, and underserved communities. The museum has hosted many programs throughout the years, intended to encourage South Carolina students in creative and innovative ways. 

Congressman James E. Clyburn stated in his support of the museum’s nomination for the award, “The Columbia Museum of Art serves as a community center, an art studio for children, and as an entertainment venue which has fostered an appreciation for the arts and enhanced the quality of life in the Greater Columbia Area."