June 1, 1949 - The Columbia Museum and Art Center Commission was formed by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina. April 15, 1950 - General Assembly changed the Commission’s name to the Columbia Museum of Art Commission. May 20, 1992 - The Columbia Art Association (named changed to Columbia Museum of Art, March 2013) contracted with the Commission to take control and direction of the museum, but the Commission retained the land title, commission endowment, oversight of related investments, partial CMA collection of art, gifts of money specifically designated to the Commission endowment, and specifying uses for earnings. These guidelines have been written to clarify what is requested of those who apply and are elected by the Columbia City Council to serve the CMA through membership and leadership on the CMA Commission. 

The CMA requests each Commissioner:

  • be proficient in endowment management, performance, and asset allocation
  • review and understand the investment policy with respect to the risk tolerance, investment objective, and spending policy of the endowed funds
  • have working knowledge of governing objects of art 
  • schedule an orientation meeting with the executive director and a tour of the CMA facility and collection
  • assume responsibility for the preservation and upkeep of the exterior of the CMA building
  • attend all Commission meetings 
  • review the CMA Commission handbook that includes board meeting minutes, financials, governance, trustee and commissioner contact list, CMA staff directory and organizational chart, programs and services, CMA strategic plan, by-laws, mission, history, etc.   
  • actively participate in CMA events and programs to network with participants to steward new and continuing community relationships 
  • contribute to the financial wellbeing of the CMA through membership and/or other means 



Click  here  to read the by-laws.




The CMA Commission is made up of five (5) Commission members, and the Mayor of the City of Columbia and President of the Columbia Museum of Art Board of Trustees as ex-officio members for a total of seven (7). Commissioners serve a term of five (5) years and can be elected to serve one additional five-year term. All appointees must reside in the corporate limits of the city.


The Commission meets quarterly based on the fiscal year, July - June.  Meetings are held at the CMA and are generally scheduled in the months of September, November, January, and May. 

Committee Members: 




Term Ends

Joel Smith 

September 2020

Gail Morrison

May 2022

Brenda Wheeler

June 2023

Wendell Brown

June 2023

Nancy Tolson 





Contact Info:





Della Watkins
Executive Director
Columbia Museum of Art
1515 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29201
803-343-2216                                                                                                                                                                                                       [email protected]