The Birth of Gallery 731

After 12 years of working within the Columbia Metropolitan area thru Frame of Mind and Plessinger Productions, the time has come for a new venture. It’s time for growth and expansion, time for pushing the envelope yet again.


The New Venture

A dozen years of a brick and mortar eyewear boutique that morphed into a hybrid optical boutique/art gallery has led us to focusing primarily on an art gallery which will include a creative space for our new optical based brand The Cult of Eyewear.

This gallery, Gallery 731 at Front St, will be a space dedicated to artists, to the growth of art as a career (not as a supplement to an artist’s everyday job). The gallery will allow us to engage the public with a unique lineup of creative events, to push the public’s perception of what is art and how they interact with it. Gallery 731 will also be the driving force behind merging the arts scene of the two cities we love, Columbia SC and Dayton OH (and in the future, providing a space that will blur the lines of “local art”).

So, here are the specifics. We have found a space within the artists’ colony Front St in Dayton Ohio. This is a 1200 sq. ft space with 18 ft ceilings and the perfect old warehouse ambiance. We will be splitting the space into a 600 sq. ft gallery, 300 sq. ft creative space for The Cult of Eyewear, and a 300 sq. ft lobby/flex space that will accommodate our fluctuating needs of the space.


Dayton Ohio…Columbia SC?

We know, the questions are being asked. Dayton Ohio? After 12 years of Columbia SC, how did Dayton Ohio get involved in this? And for others, the question is why are these people from Columbia SC getting involved with Dayton OH?

The answer is pretty simple, at least for us. We are deeply attached to both cities. Over 20 years have been spent in each of these cities throughout our lives and we are dedicated to being a part of the growing process in both of them.

To be honest, the last twelve years of small business and local art community building in Columbia has brought us to the belief that in order for our Columbia SC based artists to thrive, they must establish a presence outside of the Columbia’s city limits (and the state of SC). This understanding applies to the artists of any city, anywhere. Thus, we understand that this is true for the artists based in Dayton as well. So, pushing the envelope means that we work to get our SC artists into a city that they currently don’t have a presence in (and the same for Dayton).

Dayton Ohio…Columbia SC…why not?


What brought us to this point


We’ve mentioned our history in small business and art community building. So, here’s a quick rundown of the history of the events we pioneered that has informed our new venture.


·        Frame of Mind.  Eyewear boutique and art gallery. Was started on Main St before the 2nd stage of streetscaping happened in 2008. FoM was essential in the revitalization of Main St into the Main Street district that it has become. 


·        The FoM Series.  Monthly art exhibit held at Frame of Mind. 6 1/2 years. Ended when Frame of Mind moved off of Main Street. The FoM Series is the event series that birthed First Thursdays on Main. 


·        First Thursdays on Main.  The small grassroots effort started in Frame of Mind and in conjunction with the FoM Series. This event grew from 1 store in the 1500 block to 6 blocks worth of art, music, food and drink. First Thursdays on Main is one of the main components that revitalized Main St into the current Main Street District. It is still running today, 5 years after Frame of Mind moved to West Columbia. 


·        Plessinger Productions. Event production company responsible for creating and/or running the most unique cultural arts events in Columbia. Events such as the Collectively Supported Art, sh Series, Shamelessly Hot Festival, Kineticola (which inspired Kinetic Derby Day), Art on State, the Fall Back Festival and many more to come. 


·        FoM Series 2.0. New art exhibition series started when Frame of Mind moved from Main St to State Street in West Columbia. This art series was the nexus for the State Street Art Crawl (now called First Friday's on State Street). 


·        State Street Art Crawl. The grassroots effort started in Frame of Mind on State Street in conjunction with FoM Series 2.0 to encourage revitalization of the State Street area. This is still going today under the moniker First Friday’s on State.


·        Art on State & The Fall Back Festival. May and November events featuring live art painted directly on the asphalt with music, food, and drink. Created in collaboration w the City of West Columbia, and in partnership with First Friday's on State.


·        Kinetic Derby Day.  Kinetic Sculpture and Soap Box based art event. Takes place the last Saturday in April. It is the signature event on West Columbia's calendar. Kinetic Derby Day was spawned directly from the Kineticola project that was created on Main St but never took place due to Frame of Mind moving to West Columbia.


·        The Cult of Eyewear. An eyewear accessories company specializing in refurbishing cigar boxes into multiple pair eyewear cases, unique patterned soft/slip in cases, and scented eyewear cleaner. Birthed in 2017.


All of these endeavors will be a part of our future, whether it be philosophically or physical. The beauty of this new venture is that we will continue to produce events and consult with event production companies in Columbia as well as produce events and consult in Dayton. This will be a true joint venture in Dayton and Columbia. Yes, we are creating a Gallery in Dayton, but we are connected to our old space in West Columbia through our partnership with TRAC, Twin Rabbit Artist Collective. Thus, our artists in Dayton will have as much opportunity to show in Columbia, as the Columbia artist will in Dayton.

Why crowdfund the new venture?

Much of the last twelve years have been spent in the effort of growing community. We believe in the power of people, their creativity, and the energy that comes from a grassroots effort to promote the creativity of individuals. As we are dedicated to growing our artistic communities in both the Columbia and Dayton market, we can’t imagine anything better than having this venture funded by those that are committed to and love these communities. To put it plainly, to make the gallery of the people, by the people, is a testament to all that we believe in.


Where your support goes.

Any contribution you make will go straight into the venture.

We are in need of $5,500. The $5,500 breaks down such;

·        $900 for a truck and gasoline to move the furniture, fixtures, equipment, and such from storage in Columbia into the new Front St location in Dayton

·        $1500 to cover wood, wallboard, hardware, and paint for new walls, lights, and a hanging system for the art

·        $3100 for three months’ rent and a security deposit for the new gallery space in Front St. This gives us the time to move, set up, and get an exhibit or two (and an event) going to begin to be profitable.


Other ways you can help us.


1.     Help us spread the word! Use this link to share on social media and email:

2.     Partnering. We LOVE partnering. Do you have a skill or talent that you would be willing to share with us? Something that will help us get the Gallery up and running. We would love to speak with you about it. Please contact us at [email redacted].

3.     Follow our Facebook, Instagram, and/or website. We will be listing our events and exhibits soon. One of the best ways to support us and the artists that we work with is to come to our events and buy art. Support your artists and venues as much as you can.


  • Barbie Mathis 
    • $5 
    • 6 mos
    • $50 
    • 6 mos
  • kendall projects 
    • $20 
    • 6 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 7 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 7 mos
See all

Fundraising team (3)

Mark Plessinger 
Raised $270 from 5 donations
West Columbia, SC
Meagan Skinner-Keith 
Team member
Raised $5 from 1 donation
Catherine Christian 
Team member
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