COLUMBIA, TN – Portrait Park, a large-scale, outdoor photography exhibition featuring the people of Columbia and Maury County and their stories, will open Saturday, Aug. 1 at Row & Co., 206 Depot Street in the heart of the Columbia Arts District. Admission is free and open to the public.
The exhibit is the work of local photographer and community advocate Sarah B. Gilliam, who spent more than a year documenting people in and around Columbia in an effort to bring people together. Gilliam partnered with the City of Columbia to come up with Portrait Park as a way to exhibit her passion project. Portrait Park is designed to be spacious and accessible in an outdoor setting, making it easy to physically distance.
Columbia’s Tourism & Marketing Director Kellye Murphy immediately thought of Sarah Gilliam and her portrait series project when the idea for an outdoor arts exhibit became her focus.
“We are always looking for creative and engaging ways to bring attention to the thriving arts community and the Columbia Arts District,” said Murphy. “The Arts District Master Plan Study, completed in 2019, sparked the idea for a temporary art exhibit that would bring the community together and raise awareness for the arts district. I know Sarah’s project will fulfill this purpose beyond what I could have ever imagined. And now, she has taken the idea for Portrait Park and brought it to life. I cannot wait to see the exhibit.”
Each photograph has been reproduced as a four-foot metal print, mounted in a steel frame, capable of a long outdoor life. Though the exhibit will not open with any celebratory fanfare, this exhibit promises artful excitement, joy, education, and connection for all who experience it. The exhibit will eventually move from the Columbia Arts District to parks around the City of Columbia, providing more opportunities for locals and visitors to experience the exhibit.
Portrait Park is made possible by a grant provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission, matched by the City of Columbia, who supports the arts and the work of the arts community.