What renowned American artist once taught in Columbia, South Carolina?
Georgia O’Keefe taught at the Columbia College during 1915-1916, living in a brick bungalow across from campus during those years as a guest of English professor James Milton Ariail. The artist, who became known internationally for her abstracts, called her time at Columbia College the period that “started me on my way.”
Although initially she was not happy with her job at the Methodist-affiliated women’s college, the environment served as an apt incubator for her creativity. It was there she began to paint as she felt – not as she had been taught.
During those semesters she realized she had “things in her head that were not like anyone had taught.” Her art and career took a new direction soon after she left her teaching position here - in the form of a remarkable series of charcoal drawings that ultimately prompted Alfred Stieglitz to show her work at 291 gallery in New York. When he saw them, he remarked: “At last! A woman on paper!”