Arts & Culture.

Columbus is experiencing an arts and culture renaissance. From ballet to Broadway, being inspired by the arts is an important part of life in Columbus. Whether you enjoy the theater, live music, or an eye-opening exhibit, there’s truly something for everyone.

Columbus Ballet

The Columbus Ballet is a non-profit pre-professional youth ballet that provides performance and outreach opportunities for students at the Columbus State University Dance Conservatory which is the only school of classical ballet training in our region with over 200 students.

Columbus State University

Columbus State University (CSU) has commanded critical attention with Schwob School of Music attracting top faculty, students, and guest artists from around the globe who perform over 200 concerts a year.

The Corn Center for the Visual Arts is the creative center of the Department of Art and houses the Norman Shannon and Emmy Lou P. Illges Gallery. The Corn Center was readapted from a historic cotton warehouse. Elevated ceilings, large windows and skylights, open spaces, and dedicated purpose-built labs and studios make the Corn Center highly conducive to the creative process. The award-winning structure also houses the Riverside Theatre Complex and the Bo Bartlett Center.

CSU’s Riverside Theatre Complex houses 3 state-of-the-art theaters, presenting plays, musicals, and productions for younger audiences.

The Norman Shannon and Emily Lou P. Illges Gallery presents 6-8 exhibits a year, both national and international in scope.

The Bo Bartlett Center is an 18,425 sq. ft. interactive gallery space which serves as an experiential learning center, and cultural hub for the visual arts while affording visitors a broad range of arts experiences offered within the University’s Arts District.

The Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians is dedicated to preserving one of the most significant American writers of the 20th Century’s legacy by nurturing writers and musicians and fostering literary, musical, artistic, and intellectual culture.


Blast into the future at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, a hands-on educational facility focused on space science and astronomy. Visitors enjoy Georgia’s largest collection of Space Shuttle artifacts and interactive exhibits such as A Space Shuttle Odyssey, flight simulators, Mars rovers, and the Omnisphere Theater planetarium.

Columbus Symphony

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1855, is the second orchestra founded in the nation. The CSO has long been considered one of the southeast’s premier musical ensembles. In 2002, the CSO became a tenant of the new RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.

Conferences and Pop-Up Events

We have multiple conferences and pop up events throughout the year promoting the diversity of arts & culture in the region.

Creative South
Creative South is the premier design conference in the Southeast—a weekend of creative thinking, collaboration, and exploration. Held in various venues around Columbus in April, attendees enjoy workshops, and talks focused on process and experience.

Artbeat is a two-week-long period set aside to display the role of the arts in our community. Artbeat’s goal is to engage, energize, educate and evoke reaction. The arts inspire economic activity in our region and give back to the community.

Muddy Water Theatre Project
Muddy Water Theatre Project is a theatrical production entity that curates and produces works that complement preexisting venues in Columbus. By producing events at different venues, Muddy Water connects its patrons to places they may have never seen before and primes them to make their own personal connection to the art and the place it is performed.

The Columbus Collective
The Columbus Collective was established by four local artists who share a goal of making art more accessible; to redefine the meaning of art culture, and art collecting. They are helping to make it possible for artists who do not have the means or resources to participate in something bigger than themselves, in the community.

Pop UPtown
The first pop-up shop and event space in the Columbus, Georgia area! Rent by the hour and enjoy being located in the epicenter of the revitalized downtown! Let Pop UPtown be the start to facilitate your talent through creative events, shows, and innovative businesses.

Film Festivals

Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Wild & Scenic Film Festival inspires environmental activism and a love for nature–through film. Wild & Scenic shares an urgent call to action, encouraging festival-goers to learn more about what they can do to save our threatened planet.

Pop Up Video Film Festival
Pop Up Video Film Festival is a short film fest hosted at Pop UPtown. PUVFF aims to support, highlight, and celebrate filmmakers from the local to the international short film scene. These talented folks deserve a platform to tell their stories and a connection to our indigenous local and regional film industry community.

Harris County Community Center

The Harris County Community Center is a 42,000 square foot facility which includes an indoor pool, gym with two full-size basketball courts, a fitness room with treadmills, exercise bikes, a stationary weight-machine and elipticals, a classroom, meeting room and the offices of the Harris County Recreation Department

Liberty Theatre

The Liberty Theatre first opened its doors in 1924 as a segregated theatre where music legends such as Ma Rainey and Cab Calloway performed. In later years, the theatre declined and eventually closed its doors. The facility was expanded and the doors reopened in 1996 with the goal to provide exceptional arts, entertainment events and other participatory activities to enhance the quality of life for our community.

Ma Rainey’s House

The Ma Rainey Home is a historical Columbus landmark honoring the legendary “Mother of Blues”, Ma Rainey—a musical revolutionary who incorporated various styles of blues, jazz, and her own personal flair into the minstrel and vaudeville acts of the day. She was inducted into several halls of fame including the Blues Foundation’s Hall of Fame in 1983, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Miss Georgia Scholarship Competition

For 75 years Columbus has been host to the Miss Georgia Scholarship Competition and Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen Competition. This prestigious event has been held at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts for over a decade and brings together titleholders from around the state to compete for the coveted crown.

Phenix City Amphitheater

Located along the banks of the beautiful Chattahoochee River and adjacent to the historic Dillingham Street Bridge, the Phenix City Amphitheater is the perfect venue for watching national recording artists, as well as rising stars, and local stars. Most of the performers like to linger after the shows and sign autographs, meet their fans and even pose for a picture or two.

The RiverCenter for the Performing Arts

The RiverCenter for the Performing Arts is one of seven theaters in our Arts & Entertainment District. RiverCenter’s state-of-the-art facilities include the 2,000-seat Bill Heard Theater, the center’s main venue and home to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. The theater has hosted a variety of world-renowned performers, including classical artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and Jessie Norman; popular entertainers such as David Copperfield, and Wynonna Judd; international ensembles such as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Boys Choir, and Cirque Éloize; and national touring productions such as the Broadway shows Chicago, Miss Saigon, and Cats.

The Springer Opera House

The Springer Opera House has garnered national attention since it opened its doors in 1871, quickly earning the reputation as the finest theater between New York and New Orleans. The Springer is the State Theater of Georgia and is not only one of Georgia’s oldest professional theaters, it is also one of only seven in the U.S. that is also a National Historic Landmark. Today, the Springer is one of America’s most vibrant professional theatre companies with a popular Mainstage Series, an innovative second-space series called Studio II, a Theatre for Young Audience Series, and is the home of one of the nation’s finest training schools for young actors, the Springer Theatre Academy.

Voices of the Valley

Voices of the Valley, in residence at the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music, is a non-profit organization that provides the children of the Chattahoochee Valley with excellent choral training and performance opportunities. Not only do the children of Voices of the Valley develop a lifelong love of music, but Columbus and surrounding communities experience the wonder and joy of music as shared by children.

Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus

Now in its 25th year, the YOGC includes two separate groups, the Youth Orchestra, made up of intermediate and advanced string, brass, wind and percussion musicians and the String Orchestra, composed of young string players. More than 100 students from over 20 area public, private and home schools participate in the combined orchestras.

World-Class Exhibits and Museums

Black Heritage Trail
For a closer look at the city’s history and the contributions of its rich African American community, take a historical trek and follow the Black Heritage Trail. Designated as a National Recreation Trail by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2000, the urban trail features 30 African American heritage landmarks, buildings and stories of noteworthy events that date back to the 1800s.

Step back in time to life in the 19th Century at Historic Westville. Stroll through military history and achievement at the National Civil War Naval Museum, or National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center. Blast into the future at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center. Or, perhaps you’d prefer to take your time and explore one of the largest museums in the Southeast at the nationally acclaimed Columbus Museum. Museums in Columbus are as fun as they are educational.

Museums in Columbus are as fun as they are educational.

Historic Westville
Historic Westville is a museum of Southern history and culture representing the diversity of the Southern Experience. Through the use of exhibits, live interpreters, food and crafts, visitors learn about life in the 19th century South.

National Civil War Naval Museum
The National Civil War Naval Museum houses the largest surviving Confederate warship, the CSS Jackson, as well as the wreckage of the CSS Chattahoochee. Other exhibits include a replica of the USS Hartford with its berth deck, ward room and captain’s cabin, an actual cutter or “ship’s boat” from the USS Hartford, a full scale replica of the USS Monitor’s famous turret, and an immersive panoramic dockside exhibit recreating Plymouth, North Carolina, complete with an exterior and interior view of the CSS Albemarle.

National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center
The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center opened in June 2009 and has greeted over 2 million visitors from across the world. The facility is recognized as one of the premier military attractions in the nation by numerous outlets including USA Today and TripAdvisor. In 2011, the museum was awarded the prestigious Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement by the Themed Entertainment Association.

Columbus Museum
Founded in 1953, The Columbus Museum is one of the largest museums in the Southeast and is unique for its dual concentration on American art and regional history, displayed in its permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, and educational programs. The Columbus Museum brings American art and history to life for the communities of the Chattahoochee Valley.