In late spring of 2009 a conversation was taking place around Columbia, SC about our friends who had dedicated their lives to the study of fine arts but were no longer practicing their craft due to the constraints of fiscal responsibilities. Even worse, the local galleries and art events were asking artists for money in order to participate in local events. For fear that this would continue a project was formed to allow local artists of Columbia to finish old projects, work on new ones and begin to collaborate with each other. The project was called "Playing After Dark" and in June of 2009, under the management of Aaron Pelzek and Kimi Maeda, an art gala was born. The event presented an event open to the public of all ages to come support local artists at The Columbia Marionette Theatre for the inaugural evening of performances called Take One. The format was simple, a gallery for visual art was placed in the lobby, performances occurred intermittently throughout the night and for $3 the audience of forty-five was able to enjoy a five hour-long evening of performance and demonstration. The success of the first evening gave birth to the idea for subsequent galas ahead and a non-profit company emerged to produce these projects known as Pocket Productions.
There were two more Playing After Darks that summer and each was more successful than the last with an attendance of over 150 per event. The fall of '09 revealed the first challenges of a young company to find a new venue as the new season of marionette performance no longer allowed an open theatre for Friday nights. The volition of a friend emerged and a new team member, Sherry Warren, proved that a good idea should never die and with the right planning, it can get even better. After a series of fall meetings and an open call to local artists the forth gala was set to premiere at the Columbia Music Festival Association in late January of 2010 called Playing After Dark: The Free Form. The weeks leading up the event were exciting and filled with anticipation as it was revealed that the opening night was to sell out before the doors would open. A second night for the performance was added and it came to pass that the success of the productions could no longer be denied. The fire that blazed in the guts of a young company would scorch through the following months of declaration of an LLC, the induction of the first grant for a new project called ArtRageous, and the continued efforts to create new bodies of work in galas, advertising, and anywhere else that the police would allow us to perform.
Playing After Dark and ArtRageous now consistently grace our city, and we are looking forward to yet another year of exciting performances.
Pocket Productions would love to produce a performance for your organization's gala or event. Ask for a free quote.
In 2011, we completed our first promotional project for Cirque Du Soliel through the Colonial Life Arena. Through this project, four local artists were commissioned to produce artwork communicating the theme of Alegria. From murals underfoot in Five Points to acrobats bursting through windows on Main Street, the city came alive to welcome this international sensation to Columbia, SC. Would you like to reach your customers through a promotional art project? We would love to engage the public by commissioning local artists to create artwork to promote your organization. Ask for a free quote.