The District, 43 not-so-square blocks of Columbia's historic downtown, will be a buzz as the flowers bloom and the weather blossoms into spring. Get to know the District by wandering around, stopping into the boutiques and shops, chef-owned restaurants and local watering holes. "Arguably one of the best times to take a stroll through the District is the springtime, and this spring is no exception," says Beth Mead of the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The streets come alive during the world-renowned True/False Film Festival in March - it's simply a must-experience. And we also have the colorful Artrageous Fridays art crawl in April, and in May visitors to the District can sample the region's best vintages and victuals at the Wine & Food Festival."
• True/False Film Festival casts an international lens on Columbia For four days, downtown Columbia, Missouri is transformed into a small-town Midwestern utopia with hordes of filmmakers, cinephiles, artists and musicians alike flocking to the internationally acclaimed True/False Film Festival March 1-4, 2012. There are several reasons indieWIRE selected True/False as one of the top 50 international film festivals to explore and attend: the entire weekend is enveloped in excitement and intrigue with a handful of highly-sought-after secret screenings of films, masquerade balls, dance parties, ragtag parades and busking musicians, constantly reminding fest-goers that they live in an exciting time and there is much more to learn and understand about the world around them. Most of the celebrated films come freshly discovered from Sundance, Toronto and other festivals, while other docs appear mysteriously before their official premieres elsewhere. This year's program features roughly 60 films selected from over 900 submissions. Another great thing about True/False is that nearly every director will be present at the screenings to discuss the subject matter and their filmmaking philosophy and field questions from the audience. Now in its ninth year, filmmaker and festival co-founder David Wilson still has a lot to look forward to. "Every year we have a new crop of excellent and exciting films. And with each year it becomes more and more obvious that we have a real place in the film world and that True/False is well respected in that world." In response to the growing interest and admiration for True/False, festival organizers have added two new venues for this year's event. All screenings will be in downtown Columbia (all within quick walking distance of one another) making it one of the easiest festivals to attend and enjoy. For more information on the 2012 True/False Film Festival, including a full fest program and how to attend, please visit TrueFalse.org.
• Creative Columbia: The Artistic Side of The District Columbia is a supportive safe haven for artists and artisans. With an impressive number of studios, galleries and rotating exhibits, Columbia also has a lot to offer patrons of fine art. One of the best ways to jump into the creative stream of Columbia's art scene is taking a stroll through Columbia's downtown galleries and studios on Friday, April 20, 2012 during Artrageous Fridays. A quarterly event, free and open to the public, all Artrageous Fridays are three-hour, self-guided art crawls celebrating the thriving arts and cultural scene of Columbia. Every Artrageous Friday features original works in many mediums ranging from paintings and photography to sculpture and hand-crafted jewelery and wares, all of which are available for purchase. This Artrageous Friday kicks off at 6 p.m. and concludes at 9 p.m. Ever-inventive and exciting, Columbia's Artrageous Fridays deliver awe and inspiration. For more information on Artrageous Fridays, please visit ArtrageousFridays.com. Any time is a great time for art in Columbia. Here are several great galleries in The District to check out on your own: Columbia Art League Gallery, located at 207 South 9th Street, is known throughout the state for its quality displays and rotating exhibits by professional, non-professional and nationally acclaimed artists. Stop in Tuesdays through Fridays from 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. The North Village Arts District is an area of downtown Columbia that houses over 50 artists working out of studios in the "North Village." The North Village Arts District is Columbia's bohemian paradise comprised of fine art galleries, film production companies, dance studios, practice and performance spaces for musicians and a local and sustainable grocery store specializing in Missouri-raised produce. The North Village is also home to the seasonal Farmers and Artisans Market open from June until November. Orr Street Studios, at 104 Orr Street in the North Village Arts District, is home to 16 studios occupied by roughly 30 local artists working in a variety of media. Orr Street Studios also features a regular art film series, readings by local and regional artists and authors, special event rental space and instructional classes. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday from Noon until 3 p.m. Perlow-Stephens Gallery, at 1025 E. Walnut Street, carries an eclectic mix of local, regional and national artists in all mediums. From Pop Art paintings to handcrafted jewelry, soothing landscapes to expressive abstracts, you'll find it at PS:Gallery. Exhibits change quarterly. PS:Gallery welcomes guests Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.