Just two weeks after issuing our annual report last year, our city was hit by the devastating flood that left so many of us without homes, electricity or water. In the following days when we all stepped up to help our neighbors, the Nick staff jumped into action, sharing our stocks of bottled water and even setting up a temporary screening room for children at a local shelter. Soon after that, the staff made the bold decision to be an even larger part of the flood response by changing the theme of Indie Grits. As a result, this past April, the organization brought together an incredible group of diverse artists who created powerful work that helped us understand what we as a community had experienced. Culminating in stunning outdoor concerts at the riverfront space, the festival more than ever demonstrated how art can bring people together and strengthen community.
It is this kind of work that makes our board service so meaningful. As the Nick continues to grow at a dramatic pace, we are so proud to support the organization and its hard working staff. As we now make the transition to new board leadership with John Boyd stepping in as chair this October, we want to thank all of you for helping us make all of this possible.
The days after the October 4th flood the Nickelodeon contributed to immediate relief efforts by donating bottled water and concessions items.
Nick staff also set up a mobile theater for displaced children and families at the St. Andrews Middle School temporary shelter.
Celebrating ten years of Indie Grits, we wanted to highlight Columbia’s defining feature–the lines of water coursing through our city built on rivers. those broad and deep imprints have long shaped the community’s culture and development.
But in early October of 2015, those rivers took a violent and unexpected turn. After historic rainfall, man-made dams failed, water lines streaked unexpectedly across urban landscapes, and we saw our neighbors’ homes submerged, our community changed overnight. Rivers swelled over banks and tore over what Columbia had built, leaving debris and fresh soil in its wake. The October floodwaters inflicted a trauma that is still ongoing. This event has given new meaning to our city’s relationship with water and directly affected our original vision for Indie Grits on the river.
Changing our original concept, we gathered a group of local and regional artists to explore these new relationships with our waterways and assist with the healing of our strong community. This group of artists formed Waterlines and was challenged to create new works in film, performance, transmedia, and public art, all commissioned by the Nickelodeon Theatre.
“Things really culminated in the weeks proceeding our Blaktastik festival. We were all shocked when tragedy came to Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston and we knew that the Nick needed to be a place where the community could gather to begin healing. Two packed screenings of Tom Hall’s Compromised were quickly scheduled and just a few days later the flag finally came down. Suddenly, our Blaktastik festival, which had been in the works for nearly two years, took on a whole new meaning. Intended as a celebration of new Black culture, the festival’s tremendous art, films and music now carried a deeper significance.
In no way would I try to attribute the momentous events of this past July to our programming here at the Nick, but on the Saturday night of Blaktastik, when I realized I was sitting on top of a freshly planted patch of grass where a certain flagpole stood just weeks before, I couldn’t have been more proud to be a part of an organization with such a long and dedicated history of using art to bring people together to have important conversations.”
"Painting, sculpture, and architecture are finished, but the art habit continues." These fiery words from the enigmatic land artist, Robert Smithson, act as the guiding voice behind our dynamic series, Art Docs.
“I am a daughter of South Carolina and a daughter of that time in our history when American culture was changing-- whether it wanted to or not. Great upheavals and human movements were everywhere to be found. Black Power. Civil Rights. Gay and Lesbian. Women. Back to the farm. Spirituality. Jimi Hendrix in his velvet pants and vest. Richard Pryor's brilliant uncensored mouth and comedic mind. Black music was leaving the church for a larger public stage but still making you close your eyes. Black women were on the FBI's Most Wanted list and running for President of the United States. The core of who I am was born at this time of change. The 60's and 70's. Nina Simone singing "I Wish I Knew How It Felt To Be Free " is over 50 years old and it remains the song of my present life. It's the song I lean into today when I need to get back to my work desk. The song that grounds me when news arrives of the next gun massacre arrives. The biggest idea that ran through the great political and cultural movements of the 60's and 70's was the quest and question of freedom. What does it mean to be free? Can freedom be given to you? Can it be promised? When found should it be taken with two hands and run down the field? Each of these films speaks to that question and that search. I have become the woman and writer that I am because of my own search for what freedom looks, sounds, feels like. What I know now, after living in a world for so long that fears the power of truth, that has taught us to hunger for power and control, over insight and understanding, is my search for freedom goes on.”
The Annual Native American Indian Film & Video Festival of the South East
Boy Scouts of America
Columbia Jewish Film Festival
Dreams for Declan
The Faith Coalition Against Gun Violence
Mom’s Demand Action for Gun
Sense in America
Reel Paddling Film Festival
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of SC
SC Autism Society
SC Coalition for Healthy Families
SC HIV AIDS Council
The State Newspaper
University of South Carolina African American Studies Program
University of South Carolina College of Education
University of South Carolina School Of Journalism and Mass Communications
University of South Carolina Women’s and Gender Studies Program
"I learned photography and the basics of filmmaking at Come Around My Way, which helps me look at movies in a different way. Josh Yates was an awesome teacher. He’s very different from anyone I’ve met before. I like being a part of the Nickelodeon. They are a unique group of people and I feel welcome here."
Richland School District One
South Carolina Arts Commission
Nord Family Foundation
Becky & Kevin Lewis
“TakeBreakMake has taught me so much, including how to take media and make it my own. The concepts and overarching themes from this program have intersected with what I'm learning in school too. Ideas of disruption and interruption I have learned in this program weave through my academic and personal life in ways I never realized."
Harriet Hancock LGBT Center
University of South Carolina Women and Gender Studies Program
This past fiscal year we launched our adult education program and held five successful workshops. Working with artists and professionals in our community as instructors, we had great feedback from the workshops and will continue to grow and increase our offerings.
“The Nick’s summer film camp was a lot of fun and it gave me great hands-on experience. I’m more sure than ever before that I will pursue a college degree that will lead me into a career in filmmaking.”
“I’ve been a member of the Nickelodeon since it started, that’s where I saw my first 3D film. To me the main attraction has always been that I can see independent films, documentaries, foreign films and eye-opening films that aren’t shown anywhere else in Columbia. I just wish more people understood the impact that the Nickelodeon has on the many people in the community and on a city the size of Columbia.”
“The Nickelodeon is a reflection of the type of community I want to live in. The Nick is where I go and see my movies because I know that I’ll be exposed to stories that I might not be exposed to otherwise, I can’t remember the last time I went to a commercial theater; I feel appreciated, I feel welcomed, I feel safe at the Nick. I love the programs and special series at the Nick, there’s this constant energy to try new things, a desire to grow and respond to what’s happening in the world around us - It’s the creatives that will solve the problems of the future.”
“Everyone is in love with this theater! I’ve been in Columbia 44 years and to see the theater move up main and turn into the best theater in town, has made me realize what a gem it is. To be a member and to volunteer just enriches my life. This theater enriches Columbia’s life.”
“Film runs in the family, I grew up going to the movies, me and my husband’s first date was a movie, our middle son is a filmmaker and had a film play at Indie Grits 2015. All this to say that going to the movies and coming to the Nick is a big part of my family’s life, my husband and I have been coming to the Nick for at least twenty years now! The Nick is definitely my second home and I will always be a supporter.”
Alliance for Full Acceptance
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
Billy J. and Jeane S. Martin Foundation
Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties
DeVos Institute of Arts Management
National Association of Latino Arts and Culture
South Carolina Film Commission
South Carolina Humanities
LTC Health Solutions
McDaniel’s Subaru of Columbia
Metropolis Salon & Dry Bar
Pilates Bodies by Victoria
South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities
Bart and Maria Walrath
“What Maria and I like best is interacting with the customers and the people that work here, especially during Indie Grits! It’s been great to see the expansion of Indie Grits, it started out as a small little festival and it’s grown into one of the premier events going on in the area. It always amazes me how they try to make big changes every year, it’s never repetitive, Indie Grits 2016 was outstanding.”
“I enjoy the Nick because it’s a space to have great conversations, I love that after a screening people are encouraged to express their opinions and I get to listen to all these perspectives, I’ve loved learning to break down the movies. It’s a great group of people that work here and that come through these doors. Me and my husband volunteer on Sundays and it’s so much fun! During Indie Grits we volunteered with our two teenage boys, it has turned into a family affair! I like to involve them and remind them that this theater is something special.”
"Volunteering at the Nick is one of the favorite parts of my week. Great popcorn, and even better people. Truly an excellent community here."
John P. Boyd
James E. Smith Jr.
Pedro Lopez De Victoria
Assistant Theater Manager
Assistant Theater Manager
Assistant Theater Manager