COLUMBIA, S.C. — In December of 2016, Columbia’s art community lost artist Anastasia Chernoff to cancer.

Anastasia was responsible for bringing many local artists to light in the city and showcased many at her Anastasia & Friends Art Gallery on Main Street.

Almost four years after her death, the art community has come together through One Columbia and the Congaree Vista Guild to display a sculpture in her memory named 'Her Heart.'

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“I think that she would love that it could bring happiness to people even during the hard times right now," Lauren Melton remembers her mother Anastasia as being open minded with a sunny disposition. “She was the type of person that could just light up a room when she came into it and was known for her positive energy.”

Anastasia was a staple in the Columbia art community. She lost her life to cervical cancer at the early age of 49.

Anastasia Chernoff
Lauren Melton

“’Her Heart’ being the title of the piece - we would like to share that feeling with everyone," said Paul Kaughmann, a local actor and close friend of Anastasia’s who helped bring this project on the 900 block of Senate Street in the Vista to life.

“That feeling of openness, of love. She had a great deal of love for this city and I think at this time especially, it’s a good time to be reminded that love is the most powerful thing we can offer to each other," Kaughmann says. 

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Artist Clay Wooten assembled the piece that came together through contributions from Anastasia’s family and friends.

“Her legacy lasts," Kaughmann says. "Really there’s such a vibe that she left and that’s a huge part of who she was and this is just a reminder of her legacy that’s in so many artists in Columbia.”

Chernoff
Anne- Anastasia's mother, Lauren and Anastasia.
Lauren Melton

Although Anastasia was never able to meet her grandson, Woody, Lauren says he will be able to visit this sculpture and see how much she meant to Columbia.

“Its something that her mother Anne and I can drive by or visit and we’ll remember not only what she meant to us but also what she meant to the community,” Melton says.