In “Waterlines” (2016), artists tackled the October 2015 floods that devastated parts of S.C. In “Visiones” (2017), artists explored the rapid immigration from Latin America that is changing the face of the Southeast. Developing these projects has grown into a year-round process of research, discussion and creation. Indie Grits Labs is open and encourages collaborations with all of our community including non-profits, individual artists, collective, social justice initiatives, etc. Our extensive team of storytellers, filmmakers, designers, photographers, and artists are ready to work, to facilitate, to collaborate, to find the most creative and effective ways to tell the various stories in our city and region.
In 2019-2020 the Indie Grits Labs Fellowship program is focusing on current News & Media Literacy issues facing our local Southern communities. Journalism across the Southeast is under threat as large media outlets consume each other and local coverage is diminished and downsized with disappearing resources. Yet anyone with a cellphone has 24/7 access to a deluge of digital information from an unfiltered, international media landscape increasingly saturated with false news and misinformation. This year Indie Grits Labs is identifying journalists, new media artists, and documentary filmmakers to develop projects around this growing conundrum in the 21st Century.
The dominance of industrialized farming and the shrinking of domestic manufacturing have transformed the landscape of much of the South. In its wake, we see communities struggling with many of the same issues faced by underserved urban populations: poor access to education, health care, and opportunities for advancement. In 2018-2019, we worked with rural communities and rural-based artists to develop projects around the stories and experiences of this often overlooked and disrespected part of our community.
“Two Cities” began August 2017 as a site-specific, ongoing exploration of how racial and socioeconomic factors define experiences and interactions within a shared city. This project is primarily focused on North Columbia, and is spearheaded by thirteen IGL fellows (filmmakers, artists, activists, community organizers, agriculturalists, etc).
In the fall of 2017, Indie Grits Labs partnered with the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network on a photo advocacy project, with a goal of allowing participants to speak on the challenges and opportunities faced by women and girls within the Midlands of South Carolina. Participants are learning the basics of visual storytelling through photography, documenting the process, and ultimately curating and disseminating their work through online platforms and a series of exhibitions.
Visiones focuses on individual visions for the future of the Southern Latinx community and Latin Americans around the world. In today’s climate it’s crucial for Latin Americans to redefine our place in the art world and society, and spread knowledge of the depth of our culture through the creative arts. Through the project Visiones, our main objective is to celebrate Latin American culture and shed light on our stories and proudly showcase our role in shaping new Southern culture.
2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the 1991 release of Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash, the first feature length film directed by an African-American woman to receive wide theatrical distribution. To celebrate and explore the film’s legacy, the Nickelodeon presents Daughters was a three-day film festival in November 2016 that featured works by a select group of contemporary female filmmakers of color.
In early October 2015, South Carolina was hit with massive flooding. A group of over a dozen artists started meeting monthly, hearing from journalists, activists and flood victims, to get a sense of what happened and where we needed to go. Thanks to support from the Central Carolina Community Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and others, we were then able to commission work from these artists that tells the stories of the flood in beautiful, haunting and moving ways.