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Licensing as an Artist

There are different types of licenses artists can obtain.  Here are some tips on deciding which license to apply for through the City of Columbia offices. See License sheet here.

Busking in Columbia

“A Busker is a person who performs in public areas; accepts donations from the public; and has obtained a permit pursuant to the ordinance.

“Perform” includes, but is not limited to the following activities; acting, singing, playing musical instruments, pantomime, juggling, magic, dancing, reading, puppetry, sidewalk art and reciting. Buskers shall not offer items for sale but they may offer items in exchange for a donation.”

Information on Busking in Columbia (pdf)
Application (pdf)
Ordinance (detailed rules and requirements)
City of Columbia Licenses and Permits

Get your license, then stop by the One Columbia office at 1219 Taylor Street to pick up a Busker Care Package, containing parking tokens, water bottle, t-shirt and snacks. 

Become a Vendor

For artists and crafters, there are a variety of markets and festivals where you can sell your artwork and connect with the community too. Here are just a few of the events but not the only events you should consider:

Rosewood Art & Music Festival
Soda City Market (you can event busk there too. Check out our Busking Page for more information.
West Columbia Artisan Market
– West Columbia Artisan market runs from September – November . If you are interested in becoming a vendor for the artisan market, apply here. Licenses start at $10. Vendors do not have to participate every week. 

Cottontown Art Crawl 

Studio space & Artists in Residence

Stormwater Studios

The Main Street Arts, LLC (Studio rentals and educational programs are also available, contact Main Street Arts for more information.)

701 Center for Contemporary Art

School of Visual Art Design Studio at Stormwater Studios (TBD) 

Richland Library (Applications are live quarterly. For Summer and Fall 2023 go to website for more details.)

Art Supplies:

City Art

Classes For Artists:

City Art Classes
Columbia Museum of Art
City of Columbia’s Art Center
Village Artists at Sandhills

Film Organizations and Festivals (local film festivals)

Columbia’s film and media-making community is growing and thriving. If you’re a filmmaker, media-maker or an avid supporter of film and media arts, here are just a few festivals and organizations you should consider participating in as a creator or even as a volunteer. 

Carolina Film Network(CFN) |  CFN is a nonprofit organization that exists to bridge the gap between industry professionals and growing artists by way of networking and education in the film industry. It’s a great way to connect with fellow filmmakers and film workers across the state. 

Doko Film Festival | an interactive film festival for high-school aged filmmakers from the Southeast and beyond, to encourage their talent and showcase their work to wider audience for feedback and support.  (

Frame x Frame Film| The Frame x Frame Film Club is a collaborative project led by former employees of the Columbia Film Society. We collectively believe that independent film and media is a catalyst for critical dialogue in our community. We want to amplify voices that have historically been oppressed and marginalized in the Midlands of South Carolina, and beyond. We see a need to continue this work and have the skills and passion to accomplish it. 

FreedomFest | highlight underrepresented groups, influential women and veterans in both film and the community, and to bolster careers by screening film and offering distribution. (

The Luminal Theater | The Luminal Theater is a nomadic cinema organization that brings Black film straight to the people. Luminal provides fully-curated exhibitions of diverse cinema and media of the Black/African diaspora (African-American, African, Caribbean, Afro-European, etc.), allowing these artists to present their work within our unique brand of shared audience experiences, presented in majority-Black communities across the United States & virtually.  Official Partner of Sundance 2021. 

Nickelodeon Theatre / Columbia Film Society | Columbia Film Society (CFS) serves Columbia, SC, as a center for critical dialogue, anchored by the presentation of films that showcase the diversity, challenges, joy, and aspirations of its community. A destination for enjoyment, enrichment, and education, CFS provides the tools to make, interpret, appreciate, and teach the moving image in all its variety through its two arms: the Nickelodeon Theatre (the Nick) and Indie Grits Labs (IGL).

South Carolina Underground Film Festival| The South Carolina Underground Film Festival is a truly inclusive film festival celebrating all genres of independent film. Taking place in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, SCUFF is seeking films from all over the globe to program for our next festival. The SCUFF will be three packed days of indie films where fans and filmmakers can meet and mingle and celebrate obscure and independent film.

National, State, and Local Arts Agencies

State Carolina Arts Commission 

South Carolina Arts Hub 

Americans for the Arts


Arts Grow SC

Exhibition Space & Office Space

Office/Conference space: We have a conference room, and extra office space that can be used by any arts group in Columbia in need of a place to meet or work.

Any art or history related event taking place in Columbia may also be submitted here to our website to be featured.

For more information or any questions, you can call our office at (803) 254-5008 or visit us at 1219 Taylor Street.

Exhibition Opportunities

Richland Library
Fall Applications open April – June | Spring Applications opens November – December Share your talents with the community by providing creative and educational opportunities that support cultural and artistic exchange. Residences run Fall and Spring visit Richland Library’s website to learn more here. Contact the Arts Librarian via:

Artists of Color Opportunities


Art in the Airport Program | The initiative showcases the work of four artists across the Midlands region and houses the work in the main terminal. According to CAE, the program enhances the experience of passengers traveling through the airport and creates an immediate sense of place for those visiting the region. Make sure to send submissions to and should include the following:

  • Name, address, phone, email, website (if applicable)
  • Artist bio
  • Artist Statement
  • At least five images representing the type of artwork anticipated to be shown

Artists must reside in Aiken, Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda, Sumter or Newberry. Visit to learn more about the Art in the Airport submission and selection process.

Anderson Arts Center Art Slam Competition NEW!

Art Slam will feature a live art competition among 14 artists. Each artist will be given a “mystery box” of supplies and must create a mixed-media piece of art on-the-spot! The box will contain tools like paints, pencils, glue, and found objects. Artist Application: Artisan vendors will also have their creations available for purchase. Vendor Application: The Art Slam will take place on April 27, 2023, from 5-9 p.m. The deadline to apply is April 6, 2023.

Dalton Gallery at the Center for the Arts (Rock Hill, SC)

The Arts Council of York County is accepting applications for 2021 gallery exhibitions. Application fee is $20. Deadline is April 7, 2023. More information at

​AARP Calendar Contest

Photos can be submitted for AARP’s calendar contest. Deadline is April 18, 2023. More information at

Harpo Foundation Grants for Visual Artists

Grants of up to $10,000 are awarded annually. Deadline is April 28, 2023. Application fee is $15. More information at

​​MAY 2023

​​​The Hopper Prize

The Hopper Prize is open to all artists age 18 and older working in any media. $1000 each will be awarded to 10 artists each year. Entry fee is $40 for 4 images. Deadline is May 16, 2023. More information at


JUNE 2023

​Flat Out Under Pressure (Greenville, SC)

The annual Flat Out Under Pressure (FOUP) begins with a 24-hour art-making juried competition. The selected winners are then given the opportunity to choose two images of their work for reproduction on the bins. The winning artists also receive cash prizes and the 1st place winner is awarded a week-long trip to Italy for two. Deadline to apply is in June 2023. More information at

The Art Center (Hartwell, GA)

Drop-off for the annual juried show is in June 2023. Entry fee for nonmembers is $35 for up to 3 pieces. More information at

​​South Carolina Watermedia Society

The deadline for entries in the annual national exhibition is in June 2023. Entry Fee: $60 for non-members, members receive first entry free and can submit a second for $20. First place prize is $1,000. More information at

​Anderson Artists Guild Membership Show

Open to AAG members. Artists can submit up to two works. Entry fee is $30. Cash prizes include $750 for first place. Drop-off is in June 2023 at the Anderson Arts Center. Entry form is at

Blowing Rock Plein Air Festival (Blowing Rock, NC)

The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum seeks professional and amateur painters to participate in the Blowing Rock Plein Air Festival in Aug. 2022. Registration before June 30, 2023, is $55; after July 1, $60. More information at

Cooper River Run Design Contest (Charleston, SC)

The Cooper River Bridge Run hosts a design contest every year.  The artist’s work goes on all t-shirts and promotional items. The prize is $1,000. Deadline is June 30, 2023. More information at

​​Spartanburg County Public Libraries Juried Exhibition

This annual juried show is open to artists in South Carolina and North Carolina. Entry fee is $20 for up to two pieces. Deadline is in June 2023. More information at

JULY 2023

​Oconee County Artist-in-Residence

Oconee County Parks, Recreation & Tourism has a new Artist-in-Residence Program. The selected artist will be provided with a campsite for up to 7 nights during a non-holiday week. Artists must provide their own tent, camper, or RV. In exchange, the artist will deliver an original piece of art inspired by their stay within 90 days after the residency. Submissions for the 2024-2025 fiscal season will be accepted beginning July 1, 2023, and will remain open until filled. More information at

​​Artists Collective (Spartanburg, SC)

Artists in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee are invited to apply for the annual juried show. Deadline to submit entries online is July 31, 2023. $40 fee for up to three entries. More information at ​​


Central Piedmont Community College Art Galleries (Charlotte, NC)

Applications for exhibitions at the Ross and Overcash galleries are being accepted until August 1, 2023. No entry fee. More information at


Greenville, SC Visitor’s Guide 

Each year, VisitGreenvilleSC creates the Official Greenville, SC Visitor’s Guide, a printed piece used to promote both the City and County of Greenville. For the second year in a row, VGSC wants to feature an original work from a local regional artist on the cover. In partnership with the Metropolitan Arts Council and Artisphere, you are officially invited to submit up to two entries – your very best – that depict the sights and sounds of Greenville. The artist whose work is chosen to appear on the cover of 144,000 copies will receive a $5,000 commission for their work. Artists from Anderson County are among those eligible. The deadline for online entry is in August 2023. No entry fee. More information at Last year’s winning artwork can be seen at​​

Belton Center for the Arts Juried Show

Artists can submit up to two entries for the annual juried show. $3500 in awards. Entry fee is $30 for up to 2 pieces. Drop-off is in August 2023More information at

​​Greater Greenville Master Gardener Symposium Art Contest

Members of the Greater Greenville art community are invited to submit a work of art to represent the theme of the 2023 Greater Greenville Master Gardener Symposium. The prize is $400 and publication in brochures and posters. Deadline is Aug. 31, 2023. More information here.

Craft Hilton Head

Craft Hilton Head, a National Juried Fine Art Craft Guild Exhibition, seeks 2D and 3D fine art craft entries that encompass exemplary creativity, experimentation, and imagination, showcasing what can be accomplished with few restrictions. Up to 90 works will be chosen by two jurors based on artistic excellence, innovation, and originality. Over $4,000 in cash prizes will be awarded. This exhibition is held every other year at Art League of Hilton Head’s gallery located inside Arts Center of Coastal Carolina on Hilton Head Island, SC. Entry fee is $35. Deadline for applications is in Aug. 2023. More information at


Furman University Artist Residency (Greenville, SC)

Applications are being accepted for Furman University’s next Artist in Residency. Resident artists receive a $6000 stipend plus studio space. No application fee. Deadline is Sept. 1, 2023. More information at


​​Pickens County Museum

Entries for the annual juried show will be accepted online and are due online September 25, 2023. Entry fee is $30 for up to two pieces. More information at

​​OCTOBER 2023

Artisphere (Greenville, SC) 

Application entries will be accepted for the 2024 Artisphere Festival, which will be held in May. The deadline is October 3, 2023. For more information, contact Robin Aiken at 864-271-9355 / or visit

South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowship

The program is open to individual artists living in the nine states of the South Arts region, including South Carolina. A $5000 fellowship will be awarded to a visual artist in each state, and from among these fellowship winners, prizes of $10,000 and $25,000 will also be awarded. Entry fee is $25. Deadline is Oct. 10, 2023. More information at

​​Lake Keowee Artist in Residence

Artists can apply for a one-week paid residency. Deadline is in October 2023. No entry fee. More information here.

Emerging Artist Grants

The South Carolina Arts Commission awards $1800 project-based grants to individual SC artists in the early stages of their careers. Deadline is October 18, 2023. No entry fee. More information at


Furman University (Greenville, SC)

The Thompson Art Gallery at Furman University invites established artists to submit a proposal for solo and group exhibitions during the 2024-25 academic year. The deadline is Nov. 1, 2023. No application fee. More information at

ArtFields (Lake City, SC)

Art competition open to artists in 12 states including South Carolina. Cash prizes total $120,000. Entry fee is $25 for one piece. Deadline is Nov. 1, 2023. More information at

Southworks Juried Show (Watkinsville, GA)

Artists can submit up to three works online for a national juried exhibition in Watkinsville, GA. Entry fee is $40. Deadline is in Nov. 2023. More information at

South Carolina Arts Commission

Individual Artists Fellowships of $10,000 will be awarded in several categories. No entry fee. Deadline is in Nov. 15, 2023. More information at

Arts Center of Clemson

The Arts Center of Clemson is seeking new instructors in Photography, Painting, Printmaking, Drawing, Mixed Media, Metals, Jewelry, Digital Media, and Ceramics for classes starting in January. Deadline is in November 2023. More information at

National Purebred Dog Day Fine Art/Poster Competition

National Purebred Dog Day is pleased to announce its annual Fine Art/Poster competition. One “Best in Show” winner as determined by the juror will receive $2,000, their winning image made into a poster representing National Purebred Dog Day for 2024. Entry fee is $35. Deadline is Nov. 15, 2023. More information at

Park Circle Gallery

​Professional visual artists may apply individually or with a group to exhibit original works at the Park Circle Gallery in North Charleston. Apply online at There is no fee to apply. Deadline for submission of application is in Nov. 2023.

South Carolina State Parks Artist in Residence

Artists can apply for a one-week residency. Deadline is November 30, 2023. Application fee is $25. More information at


Denver Botanic Gardens Artist Residency (Colorado)

Artists can apply for a remote residency that involves a project related to the gardens, one visit, and an award of $3500. Deadline is in December 2023. No entry fee. More information at

Pollinator Partnership Poster

Pollinator Partnership is seeking an artist to render the 2023 Pollinator Poster. The deadline to submit a one-page narrative concept idea with a draft sketch is in December 2023. The prize is $1000. More information at


North Charleston Arts Fest 

Design competition for artwork that will represent the festival. Open to South Carolina artists. No entry fee. The prize is $500 and a solo exhibition. Deadline is in December 2023. More information at or

City Gallery at Waterfront Park (Charleston, SC)

Proposals to exhibit will be accepted until Dec. 31, 2023. The fee is $20. More information at


Blue Ridge Arts Center (Seneca, SC)

Entries are being accepted for the annual juried show, which is open to any artist age 18 and up. Artists may submit 1 or 2 original works created in the last 2 years, which have not previously been exhibited at the Blue Ridge Arts Center gallery. Entry fee is $35 for nonmembers, $30 for members. Register online in Jan. 2023, at Drop-off for entries is in January. 

Hayama Artist Residency (Japan) 

This four-week summer residency introduces visual artists to Japanese culture and includes a gallery exhibition in Japan. It includes airfare, housing, and an $800 stipend. Deadline is in Jan. 2024. Application fee is $95. More information at

​Greenville Center for Creative Arts

Greenville Center for Creative Arts invites established and emerging artists (ages 18+) to submit proposals for solo or group exhibitions for the 2024/2025 exhibition calendar. The GCCA Main Gallery provides approximately 4,000 square feet of exhibition space and features the work of local, regional, national, and international artists from all disciplines in 6–8 shows per year. All mediums will be considered for exhibition. Entry fee is $30. Deadline is in January 2024. More information at

Multifaith Calendar

Artists are invited to submit up to 5 entries for the 2023 edition of the Multifaith Calendar. No entry fee. Deadline is January 31, 2024. More information at

Piccolo Spoleto Festival Juried Outdoor Art Exhibit 

Residents of South Carolina are invited to submit artwork for consideration. Application fee is $40. Deadline is in January 2024. More information at

University of South Carolina McMaster Gallery

Artists can submit proposals for solo and group exhibitions for the 2022-2023 academic year. Deadline is in January 2024. More information at


Ox-Bow Summer Artist Residency (Saugatuck, MI)

Artists can apply for a 3-week summer residency that includes housing, meals, and studio space. Deadline is in February 2024. More information at

Piccolo Spoleto

All South Carolina residents are eligible to submit to the Piccolo Spoleto Juried Art Exhibition. Deadline is in February 2024, for digital submission. Entry fee is $20. More information at

South Carolina Watermedia Society

Members can enter the SCWS Spring Digital Show. Entry fee is $25. Deadline is in February 2024. More information at

MARCH 2024


Anderson Arts Center

Artists can submit up to two works for the annual juried show. Drop-off is in March 2024. Entry fee is $40. More information at

South Carolina Palmetto Hands Juried Fine Craft Competition and Exhibition

The state’s only fine crafts exhibition will take place as part of the North Charleston Arts Fest. Artists can submit up to four entries of wood, fiber, metal, clay, or three-dimensional mixed media. Entry fee is $15. Deadline is in March 2024. Cash prizes total $6500, and up to 20 pieces will be selected to tour museums throughout the state. More information at

Artists of the Upstate (Greenville, SC)

The Artists of the Upstate exhibition is a juried exhibition that is open to artists living within a 35-mile radius of Greenville, SC. The Artists of the Upstate exhibition will be on display to the public during Artisphere. Four cash prizes will be awarded. Deadline is in March 2024. Entry fee is $40 for up to 2 pieces. More information at

South Arts Individual Artist Career Opportunity Grants

Awards up to $2000 are given to help fund a career opportunity such as a residency or invitational exhibit. Deadline is in March 2024. More information at