Who are the Columbus Contemporaries?
They’re a diverse group of young men and women who support the Columbus Museum with community and art-related events throughout the year.
No, they’re not all ‘art types’ or haute couture aficionados. They sip cocktails, play trivia games, dance in costume and eat barbecue. In fact, those are just a few of the activities they’ve done together as a group.
“I can’t draw a stick figure to save my life,” said Mary Luby, membership coordinator for the museum who participates in many of the Contemporaries’ events. “I’m not an art collector or an artist. For me, it’s more about supporting that local art because of how important it is for education and the community. It’s not stuffy. We do everything from small parties to 300-person ... gala events. We have fun.”
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The Contemporaries age range runs from 21 to 45, but most of the 80 or so members are in their twenties or thirties. Their tagline is “young at art.” The group hosts 10 to 12 events open to the public each year along with two members-only socials.
Past events include a wine tasting, an Orient-themed ball, a garden party featuring Whiskey Bent, a cooking demonstration and a comedy night.
“It’s a great organization for young people,” said Evelyn Forston, who joined the club two years ago and was recently elected as chairperson for the board.
Last year, Forston started bringing her boyfriend, an officer then stationed at Fort Benning, to many of the events, and they both enjoyed being involved, she said.
“He made some friends from it. We met a lot of other couples. We enjoyed every minute of it,” she said. “There are so many events for young people to come out to, couples and singles alike. We do focus a lot on the art but it’s mainly a social event. You don’t have to know about Degas or Van Gogh. You have to want to have fun.”
Forston said she also sees the group as an excellent way to bring Columbus and Fort Benning closer.
“As all these Soldiers come in, it’s important for us to work together and become involved in each other’s lives,” she said. “This is the perfect venue to do that.”
A Closer LookThe group’s most recent activity was Sips and Strokes, held Wednesday at the Columbus Museum.
“You don’t have to be visited by the art gods to create art,” said Eugenia Bates, an artist from Beulah, Ala., who led a pastel drawing class.
The second half of Sips and Strokes, which kicked off with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, focused on recreating a simple still life of fruit. Bates explained the techniques and terminology of the art form and gave personal instruction when needed, so everyone left with a completed piece of artwork.
Moises Colon, who started attending Columbus Contemporaries events last August, was one of more than 20 people of varying skill levels who took the class. He got involved with the Contemporaries, he said, to “enhance (his) understanding of the community.”
“It really does put a spotlight on what we can take advantage of in Columbus,” he said, citing emerging artists, unique venues and other community organizations. “We’re promoting the arts at the same time as we go out socializing and networking.”
The activities are also more affordable for a younger crowd, he said.
Like most of the Contemporaries events, when there’s an artistic aspect to the evening, people can choose to join in or sit out. While some took Wednesday’s class, other members continued the cocktail hour outside the classroom. Featuring an open bar, catered hors d’oeuvres and St. Patrick’s Day themed decorations, the cocktail hour was free of charge for Columbus Contemporaries members.
To join the Columbus Contemporaries, people must become members of the museum. Museum membership for a student, educator or service member and family is $30. General membership is $50 per family. For the Contemporaries, membership is an extra $10 for individuals and $15 per couple for a full year.
Members receive discounts on events and invitations to free members-only parties and receptions. They also get a 10 percent discount in the museum shop and a subscription to the museum’s magazine, The Muse.
For more information, contact Luby at 706.748.2562, ext. 542, or firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the Columbus Contemporaries online at www.columbusmuseum.com/getinvolved/support_groups/contemporaries.html.
Several events are coming up in the next few months. Among them are the following:Trivia Night6 p.m. Wednesday at Locos Grill and PubTry your luck at trivia and enjoy drink and appetizer specials. There’s no cost to attend, but reservations are requested. Grease-ball 6:30 p.m. April 1 at 1212 15th St.Play kickball with the Columbus Contemporaries and the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. It’s greasers versus preppies. Best costume wins two tickets to see Grease at the RiverCenter. There’s no cost to play, but RSVP by Wednesday. Young at Art Bash7 p.m. April 16 at the Columbus MuseumEnjoy hors d’oeuvres, an open bar and live music from Huntsville, Alabama’s The Coach Men while browsing artwork on sale from more than 100 local and international artists. Proceeds support The Columbus Museum’s annual fundraiser Let There Be Art. Tickets are $40 in advance or $45 at the door. Dine & Design Noon-1:30 p.m. April 20 at the Columbus MuseumThis catered luncheon features guest speaker Haskell Harris, associate editor for Garden & Gun Magazine and Belle Decor blogger, who will talk about Southern style as it relates to architecture, fashion, interior design and more. Admission is $40.
What Happens in Mexico Fiesta8 p.m.-midnight at the Columbus Museum gardenThis Mexican-themed party includes live music. Anyone who joins Columbus Contemporaries that night will get in free. General admission price to be determined.