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Be Driven by the Arts
The Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Awards
Ethel S. Brody
2013 Individual Award
Ethel Brody was born in New York, where she received her first exposure to the arts. She earned an art degree from Skidmore College and, in 1947, moved with her husband to Sumter, S.C., where they had two children. She continued her academic training in art and arts education at the University of South Carolina, expanded her own art-making practice and established a successful home decorations store in Myrtle Beach. She moved to Columbia in 1980 and has been an active member of the arts community as both an artist and arts advocate.
Even before she moved to Columbia, she was an ardent supporter of the Columbia Museum of Art as a volunteer, member, donor and trusted advisor. Her involvement began in the 1960s at the museum’s original location, and she was instrumental in the museum’s move to Main Street. Her contributions have advanced the growth of museum collections, operations, exhibitions, conservation activities and public programs. In addition to giving time and financial support, she has personally donated more than 140 gifts of art to the Columbia Museum. Her generosity was celebrated in the 2011 exhibition, “A Tale of Two Sisters,” featuring dozens of objects given by Brody and her sister Leona Sobel.
In addition to her support of the Columbia Museum of Art, Brody has been a major supporter of the 701 Center for Contemporary Art. When the center opened in 2008, the recession made fund raising difficult, but Brody believed in the organization’s potential and provided crucial financial backing. Brody annually sponsors one of 701 CCA’s artist residencies, helping artists from outside the Midlands and the state to work and sometimes exhibit at the center.
A lifelong student of art and a practicing artist, Brody can be found in her studio at Vista Studios in Columbia. She is a frequent participant in group shows and solo exhibitions. She has exhibited throughout the state, including Sumter, Greenville, Columbia, Lancaster, Myrtle Beach, and outside the state as well.
Brody has demonstrated unwavering dedication to the South Carolina arts community as an advocate, donor, patron and artist. Her passion for art is highly praised by arts professionals and artists alike, and her impact on the state’s arts community can be seen statewide and beyond.