Columbia’s mural boom continues with the completion of Alex Rusnak’s piece on the PJ Cannon Parking Garage at the corner of Taylor and Sumter Streets. Working with the City of Columbia Parking Service and One Columbia for Arts and History, Rusnak’s piece speaks to the state’s motto and looks toward the future.
The theme for this mural revolves around the South Carolina state motto, “Dum Spiro Spero,” or when translated, “While I breathe, I hope.” The figures, whose hope is asserted by their placement in the literal vessel of breath, face towards both each other and the dueling crescent moons on either side of the painting.
“In my opinion the purpose of public art, and art in general, is to change the way people understand themselves and the world they live in. With that in mind I created a composition that would bring a more joyful mindset to the City of Columbia and its residents,” said artist Alex Rusnak. “I choose the state motto of “Dum Spiro Spero” as the primary concept of the mural because its message of hopefulness is something we all need a little more of. Whether it’s someone walking to their job or a homeless person facing a rough night ahead, they can identify with the figures and follow their hopeful gaze towards the rest of humanity and the future represented by the dueling moons. I truly believe the future is wide open for everyone and with a little hope people can create a better tomorrow for themselves, Columbia and the world.”
The mural is the latest in a series of new murals that have been facilitated with One Columbia for Arts and History as a partner. Others include one on the Taylor Street Parking Garage at the corner of Taylor St. and Assembly St. commissioned as part of the annual Indie Grits festival, four new murals in the Lincoln Street Tunnel as part of the 2017 Leadership Columbia class project, and a mural in the Lyon Street Neighborhood along Millwood created by artist Cedric Umoja and two collaborators.
The City continues to recognize the opportunity to work with artists to create beauty in unique places and make a statement about the level of creative talent that live and work in the city. “Parking decks are often like visual white noise, utilitarian; not much to look at,” said Elle Matney, Parking Administrator. “Public art in unexpected spaces such as a parking deck offers a more inviting and pleasant experience. Our Cannon parking deck offers exciting dynamic multi-space parking via pay-by-space during the week and free parking on the weekends.”
“We are fortunate that the City has been supportive in the development of a more formal process for the commissioning of new public art while also being a partner to directly fund the creation of a new piece on city property like this one.” says Lee Snelgrove, Director of One Columbia for Arts and History. “Public art enhances the quality of life, connects communities and neighborhoods and creates a shared culture rooted in the value of art. I’m proud to live in a City where public art is becoming a more visible and essential part of our physical and cultural landscape.”