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Part II: Continuing the conversation with Jennifer Perlow of PS:Gallery

Chatting with Jennifer Perlow about the state of the arts in Columbia.

As a strong voice, long-time supporter and influential shaper of the arts in Columbia, Perlow is proud of how far the arts have developed in the past 10 or so years. From humble, small beginnings, to a vibrant community that thrives on annual, monthly and sporadic events, the CoMo arts community is certainly doing well. But as Perlow pointed out, it could be doing better.

There are a lot of cool things to experience.

Perlow pointed out, “There is a well-rounded arts community; there’s not just one note.” Concerts, movies, classes, gallery openings and studio visits, jazz series, restaurants, performances, readings are all available to the public on a regular basis. During our conversation, Perlow spent some time emphasizing the accessibility of art and it’s willingness to be inclusive, not exclusive. The arts encourage both the availability of an experience and the opportunity for the viewer to make sense of an artistic event. People shouldn’t be afraid to come to an event or show because they think they won’t know anything about the subject matter.


As Perlow says, “People don’t know anything about cars, but they drive them.”

Regardless of the city, big or small, the community has to buy into art—literally and figuratively—in order for it to sustain itself. CoMo can’t take for granted the incredibly diverse, engaging and evolving arts it maintains. From one perspective it’s thriving, and from another it’s fighting to sustain permanent roots.

The takeaway message from Perlow is that for now, the arts are alive because of the persistence of a small group of people, Perlow included. But, in order for the arts to thrive and stay, Perlow says the community has to get more involved and invested. For that to happen, more people need to join the conversation. Communication between creators and community is what fosters developmental relationships, and inspires and encourages growth.

There are multiple opportunities each day to enjoy fantastic art, music, dance, theater productions, food and crazy, wacky things that don’t fit into any of those categories.

Perlow concluded, “If everybody doesn’t do something, a little something to support the arts, the arts won’t make it.”

Keep your eyes open for our last installment with Jennifer Perlow, coming next week.

Check out the Office of Cultural Affairs’ website for a bi-monthly schedule of events. www.gocolumbiamo.com/Arts/

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