Columbia Music Festival Association -CMFA- founded in 1897, is a partnership between government and community serving as a fine arts council and resource for the community of Columbia, SC.
To Educate, Discover, Develop, Train, Assist, Present, Produce and Promote the performing arts among the area’s own citizens for the edification of all and to serve as a council and resource for the community.
The Columbia Music Festival Association was founded following reconstruction in 1897, by Mayor Wm. McB. Sloan, and the Alderman of the City. It was headquartered in the Columbia Theatre, the opera house on the corner of today’s Main Street and Gervais Street. The building was also the City Hall at the time. It was described as “extravagant” and plagued by building corruption scandals. That building was destroyed by fire in 1899.
The second City Hall – Opera House – was begun in 1900, and completed in 1901. It became the home of the CMFA until it was abandoned by municipal government. CMFA, while still keeping its links to municipal government, then moved to the Arcade Building, Township Auditorium, and then to the Columbia Museum grounds in the Horry-Guignard House* (originally built in 1790, and the former residence of John Gabriel Guignard). From other more temporary headquarters, the CMFA finally purchased property in the historic Congaree Vista at 914 Pulaski Street.
Today in 2017, the building houses the CMFA and the CMFA ArtSpace which has become a visitor and tourist destination bringing over 25,000 visitors and artists participants to the ArtSpace each year. It is a cultural facility unique to the Midlands of South Carolina.