Director Lee Snelgrove leaving One Columbia SC arts group

Lee Snelgrove is leaving One Columbia for Arts and Culture to become the new arts and culture manager at Richland Library.

Lee Snelgrove is leaving One Columbia for Arts and Culture to become the new arts and culture manager at Richland Library.

The end of an era has arrived for a key Columbia arts organization.

One Columbia for Arts and Culture Executive Director Lee Snelgrove said Monday morning that he will be be leaving that city-backed arts-promoting nonprofit. Snelgrove has led the organization since 2013.

Snelgrove’s last day at One Columbia will be April 22. He is set to start a new job as the arts and culture manager for Richland Library.

One Columbia has hired Margie Johnson Reese, a longtime arts management professional, to serve as its interim director.

“I think it was a good professional opportunity,” Snelgrove said Monday morning when asked about his move to a new gig. “I also think it is important that an organization like One Columbia have consistently changing and developing leadership. No organization should be defined by a single personality. It will be good and will strengthen One Columbia to have some new energy coming to it.”

One Columbia board chairwoman Kristin Morris said Snelgrove’s work during the last nine years has been appreciated.

“We are forever grateful for the progress made under Lee’s leadership,” Morris said in a release. “He has been an important voice in the local arts community, and the city is better off for the tireless leadership he has shown.”

One Columbia is a nonprofit that receives financial backing from the city of Columbia and other sources, and it grew out of former Mayor Steve Benjamin’s efforts for an agency that could boost and help facilitate the arts in Columbia.

During Snelgrove’s time as its director, One Columbia facilitated 60 public art projects, created a poet laureate position for the city (a spot currently held by poet laureate Ed Madden), established the 1013 Co-Op cultural space in north Columbia, developed the Amplify cultural plan and launched the Stephen G. Morrison Visionary Award.

Columbia City Councilman Will Brennan chairs the council’s arts and historic preservation committee. He lauded Snelgrove’s work at the arts nonprofit.

“He has been a voice and an advocate for the arts community,” Brennan said. “He has been kind of the go-to, how-to-get-it-done guy. And he’s done a great job with that.”

Snelgrove said he relished his near-decade of service at One Columbia.

“Certainly facilitating over 60 pieces of public art has been a real source of pride,” Snelgrove said. “I think we have done a lot of things to showcase the city and the city’s creative talent through the public art that was created, and I think we have inspired a lot more artists and arts organizations to recognize the value of public art.”

This story was originally published March 21, 2022 9:42 AM.

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Chris Trainor has been working for newspapers in South Carolina for more than 17 years, including previous stops at the (Greenwood) Index-Journal and the (Columbia) Free Times. He is the winner of numerous South Carolina Press Association awards, including honors in column writing, government beat reporting, profile writing, food writing, election coverage and more.

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