Columbia Art League

Rating: 3.67 stars   3 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

Location: 111 S 9th St Ste 140 Columbia MO 65201 USA

Mission: To provide the community with a stimulating environment for experiencing the visual arts through exhibitions, education, appreciation, promotion and creation of art.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Wow! I feel like the person who wrote the negative review here is way off the mark and I agree with the other reviewer that I have scarcely heard a negative remark about the Art League from anyone. The comments regarding excessive gallery decor are especially difficult to comprehend for anyone who has ever visited the Columbia Art League. The Art League's gallery is minimally adorned, reasonably sized, and practical. Perhaps the reviewer wasn't favor of the fact that at the time they posted these remarks, CAL had recently had the chance to build it's own gallery to it's own specifications for the first time in 50 years of operation. It was a step up that this organization is more than deserving of after being bounced around from one ill-fitted retail location to another. The gallery and classroom spaces are essential to enabling the organization to fulfill it's mission "to provide the community with a stimulating environment for experiencing the visual arts through exhibitions, education, appreciation, promotion and creation of art."

The idea that CAL caters only to the rich is also a bit odd, considering almost all of its events, including openings and Art in the Park (a major arts festival), are free and open to the public. Art in the gallery tends to be relatively affordable, compared to other galleries in the area, and as a non-profit, the artists receive a higher percentage of the sales than anywhere else in town. CAL also does a variety of outreach and educational projects in the community in order to bring the arts to a wider audience.

Lastly, the current president of CAL's board of directors is, in fact, an African American male, and there are at least 5 other males on the board that I am aware of. These are strange and unfounded accusations. It seems that the reviewer may not understand that even a non-profit organization has to raise money in order to stay alive and grow. CAL manages to bring to the community 6 stellar exhibitions of community artwork each year, a huge arts festival featuring 110 artists from all over the country, a variety of classes and educational opportunities, arts advocacy, and a whole host of other events and services, with only two full time employees and a committed team of volunteers. If CAL doesn't sell art, solicit memberships and donations, and raise money through the occasional ticketed fundraising event, none of these contributions to the community would be possible.

For many artists in the community, the Columbia Art League is the first place they are able to step out and show their work. I have heard several other artists comment that selling a piece out of the gallery, being recognized by an award, or just seeing their work up on a wall in a "real" gallery, has helped them to turn over a new leaf and begin to believe in themselves as artists. In my book, that equals mission - fulfilled.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

See it grow to have a larger space with more classrooms in order to explore a wider variety of media. I would also like to see a younger crowd get more involved.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

I can't say enough good things about the Columbia Art League. I have been a regular volunteer for several years because I think it does so much to promote art in the city of Columbia, Missouri. The previous review was a shock to me because I have never heard anyone say anything bad about the organization. By the way, the board of directors has a balance of males and females, and the president of the board is an ethnic minority. I don't know what motivated that bitter review, but I can say that it does not reflect the organization accurately. Those who read this should know that the CAL director works hard to include everyone, regardless of skill level, background or age, to participate in the art classes and exhibits. The Columbia Art League runs the biggest art event in the city, Art in the Park, attracting artists from both inside and outside the state. The Columbia Art League is a gem in this charming university town!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 1 stars  

15 people found this review helpful

Executive Director is rude, and misappropriates money that is meant for community art on excessive gallery decor. The board is not diverse, with no African Americans and few male members.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

run the organization like a charitable organization, for the benefit of the community instead of catering to the well-to-do crowd who already have a number of for profit galleries to visit.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

rude. Also the staff + volunteers are uneducated in the arts resulting in bad impressions with many would-be patrons.

Ways to make it better...

the people involved were courteous and acknowledged my participation.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

its legitimacy as a nonprofit.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Art in the Park is one of the worst art events in the Midwest where I had to fight my way through side shows just to get a look at the small percentage of talented artists that actually participated.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-3-01

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