Public Art to Prevent Litter Mural Completed in Columbia, SC

Columbia, SC (March 2019) – On Friday, March 16, at 11:30 a.m. PalmettoPride, Palmetto Outdoor Center and One Columbia will unveil a mural completed in an effort to help reduce litter and crime rates in the Columbia community and raise awareness about the litter issues across our state.

Litter impacts communities across the state, and PalmettoPride is working to help create a litter-free South Carolina through a multitude of tactics. One such tactic that has picked up steam not only in South Carolina, but internationally is the theory that public art displays can improve the quality of life for the community. PalmettoPride offers Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) seminars, which teach that negative behaviors can be triggered by things like poor lighting, overgrown landscapes and neglected properties.

When this project was announced, Palmetto Outdoor Center applied for a mural on Candi Lane by the new river walk behind the zoo. Palmetto Outdoor Center is now the largest tubing outfitter in South Carolina. Michael Mayo, a local from Lexington, started the company in 2006 with a handful of tubes and a desire to get families outside and interacting with nature.

“With the grand opening of the new Saluda Riverwalk right around the corner, we felt it was the perfect time to begin showcasing a combination of activities the community can interact with,” said Michael Mayo, Owner of Palmetto Outdoor. “As a teenager, I would pass by this concrete wall (Candi Lane) to go kayaking and imagine the impact a public art piece would have for the tourism.”

Through a combination of art, music and food families can now escape the four walls and explore one of many new installations in the area, such as “Saluda in Bloom.” Mike Dawson has been a monumental leader getting the river walk completed over the past 20 years and with his dedication, the mural will be seen by thousands.  His son, John Michael passed away recently and this mural will be dedicated to his son and the Dawson family.

“For decades since, I have been trying to find ways to get an art installation and see the current project as a catalyst to complete the entire wall in the future,” said Mayo. “Over the past decade of operating Palmetto Outdoor, we have discovered that most guests are drawn to the river and its surroundings; however some are a little reluctant to get on the water. We promote a variety of other activities such as biking, walking tours and now public art. New art projects like “Saluda in Bloom” will hopefully be an inspiration for a future artist.”

Through a partnership with One Columbia to find the artist to complete this mural and the grant from PalmettoPride, Austin ‘Slim’ Gee was commissioned to complete the project.

“We’re excited to be a part of yet another public art project that enhances the access points where Columbians and visitors go to enjoy the rivers,” said Lee Snelgrove, Executive Director of One Columbia. “By adding a colorful and creative element along our unique natural resources, we as Columbians are demonstrating the high cultural value we place on the rivers.”

PalmettoPride will monitor this location over the next year to see how this new public art will impact the surrounding area.

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PalmettoPride is South Carolina’s litter prevention and beautification 501 C 3 nonprofit organization. We engage citizens to take an active role in keeping their communities clean and beautiful. Our programs have helped reduce litter by more than 60% by raising awareness of the issue and changing the attitude towards littering. For more information, please visit

One Columbia for Arts and History is a non-profit organization that works to promote collaboration among citizens, the cultural community, and city government through celebrations of Columbia’s arts and historic treasures. Its goal is to enhance the quality of life for our residents, attract tourist dollars to our city, and further build our vibrant community, particularly through the facilitation of new public art projects throughout the Midlands. Visit the One Columbia website ( for a continuously updated master list of art and cultural activities occurring throughout the city.

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