close
close

Columbus offers a wealth of art, history and culture – The Champion Newspaper | 404-373-7779

Art, history and culture are alive and thriving in Columbus, Georgia.

In addition to the recent reopening of one of the city's most important museums, numerous other art and history-related institutions are launching new initiatives and offering a wealth of programs and activities – all good reasons to plan a trip to Georgia's third-largest city.

After 18 months of closure, the Columbus Museum reopened in late April following a $25 million renovation. It now features more open space, improved accessibility, redesigned galleries, a children's gallery and garden, and more.

The RiverCenter's Legacy Hall has 430 seats.

The museum serves two purposes: It highlights regional history and American art. The three-story museum now focuses extensively on growth, innovation and preservation, featuring exhibits on early life, Native American influence, women's rights, civil rights, voting, economics and development, the renaming of Fort Benning to Fort Moore, industrialization and more.

Museum management boasts that the redesigned space now “seamlessly” combines art and history, but visitors will likely be impressed by the openness and airiness of the place.

The artworks on display include photographs, works on canvas, sculptures and other media. Dale Chihuly's boat installation has found a new home here after all of its many individual glass pieces were carefully cleaned and repositioned in a light-filled space on the second floor. There are also works by John Singleton Copley, Jacob Lawrence and Amy Sherald, a Columbus native whose portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

The artwork and historical works on display are diverse: quilts, a sword used during the Battle of Columbus in 1865, a porcelain vase from the 1870s, and other art forms.

Temporary exhibitions currently on view include Our Own Work, Our Own Way: Ascendant Women Artists in the Johnson Collection, which includes works by 42 artists from the 1930s to the 1990s. Also on view through January 26, 2025, is Andy Warhol: Silver Clouds & Cow Wallpaper, which features a room filled with floating reflective pillow-shaped balloons surrounded by the first in a series of the artist's wallpaper designs that were never commercially available.

Although the renovation did not expand the museum, an official said more efficient construction allowed for a 25 percent increase in usable space.

The recently renovated and reopened Columbus Museum exhibits a variety of art styles.

Information about the Columbus Museum can be found at comuga.org.

Located on Columbus State University's RiverPark campus, the Bo Bartlett Center presents national exhibitions, pop-up exhibits, lectures by artists and scholars, and special events. Free drawing classes are held the second Thursday of each month from 3-5 p.m.

The galleries also feature works by the institution's namesake, the American realist painter Bo Bartlett, who is known for his realistic American scenes on large canvases.
For more details about the Bartlett Center, visit

Music history is preserved at the Ma Rainey House and Blues Museum on Fifth Avenue, which tells the story of her life and musical career. Ma Rainey (née Gertrude Pridgett) bought the house in 1927, and her mother and sister lived in it for years while she commuted between tours. Rainey, who made more than 100 jazz and blues recordings and was known as the Mother of the Blues, was inducted into several Halls of Fames, including the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1983, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1992. She was featured on a U.S. postage stamp in 1994. Tours are by appointment only.

For more information, visit parks.columbusga.gov/parks/MA-Rainey-Home.

Other places worth visiting in Columbus include:

• Opened in 1871, the Springer Opera House produces 14 shows annually, including Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which closed in May. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, the facility boasts the second-largest audience in Georgia after the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta.

• The RiverCenter for the Performing Arts has three performance spaces, including the 2,000-seat Bill Heard Theater and the 430-seat Legacy Hall. Upcoming shows include Forbidden Broadway in September, Stomp in October and Foreigner's farewell tour in November.

• Public art on various street corners and grassy promenades in the city center.
For more information on exploring Columbus, visit visitcolumbusga.com.

Is loading