(Above: One of the hundreds of photos I took of sidewalks and pavement in the Five Points area of Columbia.)
While I was at Wormfarm Institute in Wisconsin, one of the three back-to-back art residencies I experienced earlier this summer, I got a telephone call from the art coordinator for a new project initiated by the Five Points Association. I was selected to be one of a few local artists commissioned to make a piece for a fund-raiser. Unlike many other art fund raisers, they weren't asking for a donation! They weren't even asking for a 50/50 split on a silent auction. They were offering to pay me for a work focusing on this interesting neighborhood in Columbia! Of course I said YES!
Five Points is named for the intersection of five streets coming together. There's plenty of independent shops and boutiques, restaurants, and even a cool fountain that's dyed green every St. Patrick's Day. It is near enough to the University of South Carolina that students populate the outdoor cafes, Starbucks, and the many bars in the area. Five Points is just far enough away from where I live that I only ever go there in my car. As a result, I am very aware of the traffic ... and more aware of road ... especially one particular spot.
There used to be a drug store on Harden Street in Five Points. One night in 1993, twenty-two year old Nancy Thurmond, daughter of Senator Strom Thurmond and Nancy Moore Thurmond, left that drug store and jaywalked in front of a car driven by a young professional woman who was a drink over the legal alcohol limit. Nancy was within weeks of her college graduation and had applied to law school. Her parents donated her organs. The young lady who drove the car was so very, very remorseful. All around, it was a sad, sad occasion.
For years there was a white painted cross on the pavement to mark the spot where the accident occurred. I couldn't drive down the street without thinking about it. Even now that the paint has worn away, I remember the location. I remember the crazy, stupid things I did at that age ... that my husband did at that age ... that so many people did at that age. It is tragic that some don't get to grow up and some accidentally cause such permanent scars.
Later, Nancy Moore Thurmond admitted her own problems with alcoholism. In a 2005 Washington Times article, she recounts her life, her sobriety, and her daughter's death:
“My oldest daughter, Nancy, died three weeks before her college graduation. She was crossing the street and was hit by a drunk driver,” Mrs. Thurmond said. “And you know what? I could not feel any anger for the woman who killed her. She made a tragic mistake. It could have been me but for the grace of God.”
Well ... that's exactly how I feel every time I drive down Harden Street. I pray for all those college kids who look to Five Points as a "party place" and I'm so happy that the Five Points Association is always working to keep everyone safe. As a result, I decided to make my commissioned piece using digital images of the sidewalks and pavement in Five Points. After coming home from Mathias and Laura-Jane's wedding in Scotland, I spent a Saturday morning snapping hundreds and hundreds of photos. These are just three of them. So far, I've created three collages from the photos and had Spoonflower print the results on fabric. The order came just the other day. Of course, I'm currently in England at The Festival of Quilts and haven't seen them yet ... but I'm sure they are nice! (I'm hoping to make a diptych ... but I ordered three ... "just in case"! LOL!) I've also ordered a Shutterfly photo book with dozens of my photos. Why? Well, I'll be taking the book with me to Five Points to STITCH IN PUBLIC.
I plan to be at the Gourmet Shop (inside if it's rainy or too hot or outside in the event of good weather) on Tuesday, September 15th; Monday, September 28th, and Tuesday, September 29th ... each day from 11 AM until approximately 1 PM. If you are in the area, come by and see me ... and see the book of photos!
So ... spending that Saturday taking pictures in Five Points was one more reason I got behind on my blogging. Another weekend ... in fact, last weekend, was another reason I wasn't "catching up". My nephew Tony Papley married Mara, the love of his life on Saturday. The wedding was a Rock Creek Park just outside Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. Steve and I drove ten hours there, spent three-and-a-half fabulous hours at the wedding, and then drove home. Why such a whirlwind trip? Well ... I flew to England early on Monday morning! Now ... I'm almost catch up with my blogging!