Our Artists, Writers, and Volunteers

19145900_10212946201480498_8244433683378527287_nKara Gunter is an artist living and working in the greater Columbia, SC area, and is the founder/creator of Hands On: A Community Hand-Casting Project. Kara teaches art at the University of South Carolina, and does residencies at area K-12 schools, as well as workshops in the community. She is the visual arts editor for Jasper Magazine.

Kara works primarily as a 3D artist, and utilizes a variety of media and techniques from sewing to glass casting. You can find her fine art at www.karagunter.com.

In addition to art-making and teaching, Kara owns a small-business providing hand-castings to families. Photo by David West

Cindi Boiter is a six-time winner of the SC Fiction Project, winner of the Piccolo Fiction cindib06232016bymichaeldantzler-2_-1Project, the Porter Fleming Award for fiction, and the 2014 recipient of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts. She is the founder and editor of Jasper Magazine, The Limelight volumes I and II, A Sense of the Midlands, Art from the Ashes, and Marked by the Water,  co-editor and founder of the literary magazine Fall Lines – a literary convergence, author of Buttered Biscuits, and literary author of Red Social. She currently sits on the boards of directors of Girls Rock Columbia, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Arts and the Humanities Midlands Advisory Committee, The University of South Carolina Women’s and Gender Studies Partnership Council, the Deckle Edge Literary Festival Steering Committee, One Book One Community, and the planning committee for the Midlands Arts Conservatory, after previously sitting on the boards of directors for the Columbia Classical Ballet, Columbia City Jazz, and Trustus Theatre.

She is the executive director for The Jasper Project.

img_8643Emily Purcell is a graphic designer currently working in Columbia, SC. A recent visual communications and graphic design graduate from the University of South Carolina, Emily has found a home in Columbia and continues to grow in appreciation for the city, its art and its people.

Currently working both for the University of South Carolina Study Abroad Office as the Marketing & Graphic Design Assistant and for Octagon Solutions as a designer, Emily is constantly engaged in designing for the community.

You can find samples of her design work and writing at emilypurcell.org.




Morrisa Booker is a photographer specializing in Portraiture, Events, Sports/Action, Commercial/Editorial, Nature/Wildlife, Landscape, Fine Art, Photojournalism, Wedding and Engagement photography.  Visit her website at http://morrisabookerphotography.zenfolio.com/


Leslie Gilroy is an avid volunteer, offering her time and energy to many causes she feels are worthwhile endeavors. She believes wholeheartedly that helping others is the key to a happy life. Leslie is a photographer who lends her skills to the Hands On Project.

13063449_1415639938462296_870462889241328333_oMichael A. Murray is a co-founder of The Prologue Writing Group, an authors’ guild, initiated at Richland Library Main. His work has been featured in Al Black’s Mind Gravy poetry show, as well as the Carolina Panorama. Michael has hosted several events throughout Columbia, more recently including the Our Vision—Our Way! visual and performance arts showcase. His first poetry book, Wild Cards, is now available. He hopes to release another literary project by the end of the 2017.


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SChalupaScott Chalupa writes to live in an attic on the margin of Columbia, SC, where he recently earned an MFA at the University of South Carolina. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The South Atlantic Review, HIV Here & Now, Tupelo Quarterlytap literary magazineJasper, and other venues.

DwestDavid West is a jack-of-all-arts.

A Columbia resident, David has a BFA in Painting from the University of North Florida. He moved to South Carolina in 1998, then spent 13-years working as an art director / graphic designer / illustrator / photographer. He returned to school for an MAT in Art Education from the University of South Carolina, and he has been a Visual Arts and Photography teacher at White Knoll High School in Lexington since 2012.  He still occasionally produces and shows drawings, paintings, woodcuts, and photography. He is married to the inimitable Taryn Shektika-West, and they have two beautiful children.

Tanya Rogers lives in Blythewood, South Carolina. She moved to Columbia nine years tanyaago from Akron, Ohio. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, sewing, reading, painting, and photography. She is also involved in volunteer work. She is a volunteer Guardian ad Litem as well as a Vulnerable Adult Guardian ad Litem. She volunteers with the South Carolina State Library Talking Books as a voice actor. She enjoys taking pictures of her family, friends, landscapes, and abandoned buildings in rural North Carolina and South Carolina. Find her work at https://www.facebook.com/TanyasLens/