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Since 2011, the role of Tapp’s Outpost (formerly Tapp’s Arts Center) in Columbia’s arts ecosystem has been to nurture emerging and under-represented artists in our community. Whether it’s building temporary floating walls for an exhibition or music performance, or blowing up baby pools for a fashion shoot, the fearless Outpost team led by Executive Director Caitlin Bright accepts whatever adventure presents itself.
Having lived and worked extensively with artists and arts organizations all over the world—including Brooklyn, NY; Venice, Italy; and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba—Caitlin’s personal and professional trajectory can be described as a fluid mix of experiences guided by a constant love for creative production. “My experiences and opportunities in the beginning were mostly because I had an adventurous spirit, negotiated my fears to the possibility of failure (an inevitability for all of us in life), and probably in large part simply due to the beautiful naivety of youth letting me dive head first into unfamiliar worlds,” she notes. “I have never said ‘no’ to an opportunity just because it wasn’t exactly what I thought art production was ‘supposed’ to be, and that has built an eclectic repertoire to draw from, which has turned into an asset in helping artists today.”
At a time when local arts organizations are still struggling to make it to the next year due to the curtailment of funding and sales revenue, Caitlin highlights the importance of thinking outside the box, building community relationships, and continuing to produce a number of high-quality arts experiences in an inclusive and welcoming space for Columbia’s unique creators. “Columbia is filled with thinkers and dreamers,” Caitlin reflects. “The arts community is unique in that the makers in this community are somewhat sheltered from the scope and trajectory of global art trends, meaning that even though the work and projects they create might resemble something that has been presented somewhere else, it’s derived from the perception, exposure, and interaction of our immediate community, and so it tells a beautiful story about community specifically for Columbia.”
Caitlin’s sense of adventure reflects not only on Tapp’s vital role in the local arts community, but also in the way she experiences Columbia. “Outside of work, I like to have mini-adventures, so this means lots of river trips, roller coasters, and travels,” she goes on to say. “I also love Five Points’ entrepreneurs! Sunrise Artisan Bath and Body, Papa Jazz, Loose Lucy’s… these are all amazing spaces run by amazing people. Foodwise, I love Pho Viet, Black Rooster, Chubby’s Burgers… Columbia does not lack in flavor!”
“We love art and understand the power of culture in a thriving city,” Caitlin adds. “We would love to encourage Fig readers to dare to be bold and adventurous, go into unfamiliar territory—whether it’s the theatre, an art gallery, or a rock concert/rap show/jazz performance—and celebrate the multifaceted wonderment that is Columbia, South Carolina!”