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Columbia Art League

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts & Humanities Councils & Agencies

Mission: Columbia art league provides the community with a stimulating environment for experiencing the visual arts through exhibitions, education, appreciation, promotion, and creation.

Programs: Art education: the columbia art league offers a variety of educational activities and experiences designed to foster creativity and encourage artistic awareness. High quality classes are offered to children, teens, & adults. The classes are taught by experienced instructors and professional artists.

in the main gallery, a changing schedule of 6 shows a year allow both members and non-members to display and sell their artwork. In the smaller side gallery, cal members artwork is displayed and sold. Artwork in the gallery reflects the artistic voice of the community. Both the themed and un-themed shows feature work by high school students, amateurs, beginners alongside university professors, experienced and professional artists. For many aspiring artists, cal's walls are the first place their work is displayed publicly. Additionally, cal frequently includes work by elementary school children from its partner in education school.

art in the park is the oldest & largest fine arts festival in mid-missouri. The festival features 110 local, regional and national visual artists displaying a variety of media including painting, photography, pottery, jewelry, sculpture, and glass. There is no entrance charge to the festival, which is held in a disability-accessible public park and is thus open to all socio-economic groups. As well as the artist village, the festival features free art-making activities for children, a venue for displaying local high school artists' artworks, roving entertainment, and a music stage.

the art league occupies a gallery in downtown columbia, missouri. The space includes a public sales & exhibition area and a classroom area.

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 5

I don't agree with the super negative reviewer about misappropriation of funds---that is such a strong term that implies criminal action. Though I don't know where this perspective came from, I do know the board is active and has oversight. I think almost every board in Columbia struggles to represent the diversity of the community; everyone can do better. To have this happen means that underrepresented people take the initiative to offer and/or agree to serve as volunteers, including board members and that's is tough for anyone with a busy life. Sorry this person had such a negative interaction but I would encourage support of CAL. As a non-artist, I feel supporting those with this talent is so important.



Rating: 5

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.



Rating: 5

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!

Review from Guidestar


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

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.