Experience the sights and sounds of Columbia’s creative culture
From the visual art in downtown galleries, to theatrical performances on local stages, to live music at favorite venues and festivals, Columbia’s art scene is not only incredibly diverse, but it’s also highly accessible. Read on for more about the city’s creative culture.
Sounds of the City
Columbia is no stranger to new and wildly diverse live musical performances, and everything from hometown psychedelic rock groups to international R&B legends have graced the local stage. Venues such as The Blue Note and Rose Music Hall magnify the musical field by offering big-name performances from all genres as well as a spotlight for local artists.
Nash Vegas pulls in a country crowd with steel guitar riffs heard from the street. Roxy’s kicks off the party much later in the night and features lesser-known musicians and DJs. The Bridge and Café Berlin pull in small indie bands while catching the attention of those who know the scene well.
Logboat Brewery, Broadway Brewery and Bur Oak Brewing Co. often host live performances from local groups in smaller, more intimate settings. Larger venues, such as the Missouri Theatre and Jesse Hall, bring in a variety of musicians suited for all family members, typically featuring instrumental programs and concert series.
Columbia’s most-received live music event of the year, the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival has brought some of Columbia’s most notable performances to date, including Buddy Guy, Al Green, The Avett Brothers, The Black Crowes, ZZ Ward and more to town.
North Village Arts District
The North Village Arts District in downtown Columbia is home to more than 150 working artists and dozens of local businesses that cater to or celebrate the arts in Columbia. But it’s not just a physical location that happens to house the majority of Columbia’s cultural agencies; it’s also a home for a budding community of makers and performers, craft food and drink purveyors, thinkers and activists, built intentionally by a group of invested individuals who have been advocating on behalf of the arts district for more than a decade.
The North Village Arts Studios was originally the storage facility for the train station and is now home to several small businesses, including the quirky Artlandish Gallery, local roaster Fretboard Coffee, jeweler Kenny Greene at Monarch Jewelry, portrait photography studio Moonshadow Studios, nonprofit arts gallery Resident Arts, natural grocer The Root Cellar and hair salon Shear Soul. Also in the arts district is Columbia’s most beloved contemporary art gallery Sager Braudis Gallery, art studios and gallery Orr Street Studios, local whiskey distillery Dogmaster Distillery, a small theater Talking Horse Productions, music venue Rose Music Hall, as well as yoga and dance studios, an upscale furniture showroom, a graphic design studio, frame shops, printmaking studios, recording studios, artist workspaces, an allergen-free bakery, children’s theater and many more businesses that embody Columbia’s cultural spirit.
The North Village Arts District also hosts First Fridays, a free, family-friendly art walk held the first Friday of the month from 6 to 9 p.m., when businesses remain open for extended hours and provide special activities such as collaborative art-making projects, special programming, free live entertainment and refreshments.
Columbia Art League
Since 1959, the Columbia Art League has enriched the city’s arts community by offering an environment for experiencing visual arts. Located on Ninth Street alongside the Missouri Theatre, CAL puts on six juried and unjuried exhibitions each year and strives to make art accessible to the general public through numerous exhibits and opportunities, including the Community Exhibits Program, which displays local art at participating businesses on a rotating basis; Art in the Park, a festival held the first weekend in June that features artists from around the country selling works in various mediums; and the Boone County Art Show, an unjuried show held every October at Boone County National Bank that includes approximately 200 works of art by Boone County artists.
Columbia Art League
207 S. Ninth St.
Sager | Braudis Gallery
1025 E. Walnut St.
1019 E. Walnut St.
Orr Street Studios
106 Orr St.
Paint the Town
2703 E. Broadway, Suite 127
Mud Room Studio
1103 E. Walnut St.
The Canvas on Broadway
706 E. Broadway, Suite 100
Creative learning experiences through weekly classes, summer camps and more.
1724 McAlester St.
A children’s creative studio.
1609 Chapel Hill Road, Suite E
Mural makers studio.
1013 E. Walnut St.
Theater institute at Stephens College.
1200 E. Broadway
Bluestem Missouri Crafts
13 S. Ninth St.
Artisan jewelry and handmade goods.
920 E. Broadway, No. 1