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Sculptor Kara Gunter brings the Columbia community together through creativity

Kara Gunter is using her creativity as a sculptural and installation artist to bring Columbia together – in a symbolic handclasp. “I thought if I could bring together strangers from disparate backgrounds and have engage them in physical touch for 30 minutes while I cast their hands, and encourage their speaking with each other all the while, we would bridge some chasms together that might not otherwise be crossed. “

The artist, who teaches within the community, including at the University of South Carolina School of Visual Art, anticipates: “what we learn about each other may be surprising and may even soften our hearts toward those we previously felt no empathy for. “

She said if the project succeeds, “the wider community will be impacted by the ripple we create in these one-on-one interactions.”

Before conceptualizing hand-sculpting as public art, Gunter began by immortalizing memories and bridging generations through the creation of plaster sculptures of hands clasped together. To actualize one of her commissions, she went to the hospital bedside of a dying matriarch and took the cast of the mother’s hand and added it to the hand(s) of the surviving generation, creating a sculpture. She also has sculpted the hands of husband and wife, one who was blind, the other who was in early stages of dementia.


Kara Gunter is artist number 8 of our #10artists10days campaign series. Catch up on the complete series here.

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