COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The Columbus art scene was in for quite a night on Wednesday as creators joined together for an artist talk that packed out Columbus State University’s Riverside Theater.

With names like Kate Capshaw, Bo Bartlett, Joshua-Michèle Ross and Amy Sherald taking the stage, expectations were high. Exhibitions “Unaccompanied” and “Earthly Matter” at the Bo Bartlett Center added to the creative buzz.

The artist talk on Feb. 15 began a little past 6 p.m., although lines started forming before the doors opened. At around 4:30 p.m., people began to gather outside of the theater, awaiting to hear creators speak on their works.

As of 5 p.m., the line had doubled. A half-hour later, attendees began to spill into the street as the line went past the door.

When the door opened and the main room of the theater began to pack out, the energy was lively as chatter filled the space.

That chatter quickly came to an end when creators took the stage.

As Columbus-native and American painter Amy Sherald introduced Kate Capshaw, Joshua-Michèle Ross and Bo Bartlett, the crowd honed their attention in on the artists’ developing conversation.

Capshaw spoke on going from actress to artist with an emphasis on her work “Unaccompanied,” which focuses on portraiture of homeless youth. She said in this process, she aims to make her subjects feel comfortable as they commonly come from unsafe environments. She also spoke on her experiences with figure-drawing classes, as well as the role her kids played in her transition to the illustrative arts.

“The minute I started… I was never really an actress, is how I felt. And now being a painter is much more… kin.”

Kate Capshaw

When Ross began to speak, he said he split his time between New York and Oakland. His approach to the arts is somewhat auditory-based, with an orchestra project as well as a sound experience accompanying Capshaw’s exhibition.

“There were some things that really struck me right away, which was the foregrounding of a human being and the absence of circumstance in the frame, like a real abiding respect for the people being foregrounded, and that principal I really wanted to carry through when we started to think about what we would be hearing in the back.”

Joshua-Michèle Ross

As Bartlett was introduced, the crowd’s applause filled the room with an acknowledgement of his role in Columbus’ art scene.

“What can I paint? Can I paint this person, can I paint that person? Obviously you have to paint from your own experience and you paint from your own life, but I think going with animals was just like ‘I’m going to take a break from all of that’…”

Bo Bartlett

The artists took turns speaking on their works and experiences until a microphone was passed around the room, giving the audience a chance to ask their own questions. The Q&A sparked topics such as how art plays into social justice, how the digital world impacts traditional works and how artists find time to create beyond the busyness their successes may bring.

The talk came to a close and the crowd departed with a chattiness similar to the arrival.

For anyone unable to see the artist talk or for crowd members wanting more, the public reception for “Unaccompanied” and “Earthly Matters” will be at the Bo Bartlett Center at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16.