Article by Jonathan Thomas
“Indie Grits Labs (IGL) has dedicated the past eight months to producing a series of conversations, workshops, and community roundtables that explore the idea that Columbia is not one city but two, and that these two cities are experienced as parallel worlds. The project begins with an understanding that the diversity of our perspectives as well as the resources we can access as residents of Columbia are conditioned, if not curtailed, by the lived realities of racism and economic disparity, and that there are historical dynamics—shifting demographics, legacies of municipal neglect, and various modes of social exclusion—that have created a cultural force field that separates the downtown district from the North Main corridor.“
In a series of workshops and public forums beginning in August 2017 and running through the festival in April 2018, a selected cohort of artists (filmmakers, artists, activists, community organizers, agriculturalists, etc) primarily residing in North Columbia will work with community stakeholders and partnering organizations including SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center, Richland County Library, SC Arts Commission, One Columbia, Hyatt Park Keenan Terrace Neighborhood Association, and the North Columbia Business Association amongst others to address issues such as race, gentrification, arts funding inequities, housing displacement, and unification of the North Main corridor. Artworks were revealed by the cohort during the 2018 Indie Grits Festival, taking place April 12-15.
Seth Gadsden is an artist, filmmaker, curator of public programming, and current director of Indie Grits Labs in Columbia, SC. Focusing on public art, experimental documentary filmmaking, and transmedia installations, Seth has exhibited his personal work across the US and has completed murals and outdoor sculptures in places like Mexico, North Dakota, Boston, Houston and his hometown of Clover, SC.
Michaela Pilar Brown is a multidisciplinary artist using photography, installation and performance to address issues attendant to the black body. She has had solo and group exhibitions in North and South Carolina, New York, Georgia, Washington, DC, California, Germany and Canada. She participated in 2016 Satellite Art Fair, Basel Miami.
She was the 2011 Harvey B. Gantt Artist in Residence at the McColl Center for Art and Innovation, an artist Grant recipient at the Studio Center of Vermont, and an Artist Venture Grant recipient of the South Carolina Arts Commission. In 2016 she was one of six American artists chosen to participate in Open Immersion which was created as a Virtual Reality lab convened by the Ford Foundation, National Film Board of Canada and Canadian Film Centre in Toronto. This November she’ll travel to Montreal for (RIDM) [Montreal International Documentary Film Festival] for three days to present the prototype that she co-directed, and will exhibit work in the 2018 Biennial at 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, SC.
Roni Nicole Henderson is a Columbia, South Carolina based filmmaker who makes fiction, experimental, fine art, and documentary films and video installations. As a photographer, she shoots fashion and fine art and documents artists and everyday folk. Her work has been exhibited and presented across the U.S. and in the Netherlands, and her films have been featured in the Blackstar, Crown Heights, and Pan African film festivals. In 2012-2013, she was a Walthall Fellow at Wonderroot in Atlanta.