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A burgeoning art space and a new group of DIY artists showcase their promise

Opting In

Indie Grits Labs house

Indie Grits Labs

This Saturday, the Indie Grits Labs arts incubator wants you to come by and check out Other People’s Trash. 

Don’t worry, it’s not an avant-garde art installation that makes sculptures out of banana peels and soda cans. The Other People’s Trash, or OPT, Collective is actually a group of secondhand sellers and DIY artists who offer everything from vintage clothing and jewelry to ‘zines and original prints. 

OPT will have 13 vendors on hand at Indie Grits Labs, the education-focused offshoot of the Nickelodeon Theatre that puts on a namesake film and arts festival each spring. It’s part of IGL’s second Open House Day, a monthly event which gives the community a chance to drop in and check out the Labs’ educational programs, its screening venue, workshop space, art gallery and Print Lab. 

“We created Open House Day because we want to make sure that businesses in the general area and folks from the community feel welcome to participate in this space,” explains Indie Grits Labs Programming Coordinator Steffi Brink. “We want to remain open to community members to drop by or schedule a class or just enjoy our space and resources. We’re showcasing different parts of our facilities so that people can stop by and say hello and see what we have to offer.”

Both Kiber Selig, the co-founder of OPT Collective and Brink feel like their collaboration is a good fit for the Open House event.

“We reached out to Kiber because she’s already established a really solid network of artists and smaller local vendors,” Brink says. “It makes sense to team up with people in the community who are already doing amazing things and try to provide a space and platform for them to do that.”

The Open House Day will also include an exhibition of photographs by Grant Conversano and Gavin McIntyre called Real Encounters, music from DJ INFP and DJ Special Guest, a surprise film screening and a peek at Indie Grits Labs’ new radio station, The Grain. The Los Chicanos food truck will also be on hand for the event.

Open House Day is the biggest platform yet for OPT Collective, which has been putting on pop-up events since last spring.

“A friend and I who sold vintage clothing in Columbia wanted to create a space for people to sell things they created, or for vintage clothing, or stuff they had customized,” Selig says. “So we had this idea that we could go to local businesses or use art spaces in the community to offer a small pop up for people to come and sell. So far, we’ve been doing these at Curiosity Coffee Bar, so this is a new venue for us, which we’re really excited about.”

Selig says that Indie Grits Labs’ goal of promoting and connecting with Columbia’s arts community extends to the vendors within the OPT Collective.

“It’s nice to have this kind of platform that specifically focuses on the art in this community, and it pairs well with what we’re doing,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be traditional art — it can be any kind of art. I think that’s what’s great about Indie Grits is that it focuses on different types of media, and that’s what artists who have become part of the OPT Collective are about as well.”

They may have goals in common, but the fact is that the OPT Collective needs places like Indie Grits Labs to survive. Selig says that, for the screen printers, jewelry makers and other artists under the OPT umbrella, there aren’t many places for them to sell, or even show, what they create.

“I think that there is a large DIY arts scene that’s part of our community,” she posits, “and it can be difficult to find places to experiment. So when those opportunities arise, it’s very exciting. It’s really important to pair with a space like this because it promotes that culture and gives a voice to artists who might not be recognized as mainstream art culture. When we got the opportunity, I jumped right on it, because it creates another awesome way to let people know we exist.”

Brink agrees that IGL is providing OPT Collective, and the Columbia arts scene in general, a forum that they might not otherwise have, because that’s part of their job.

“I think one of the tenets for me of this space is not just to be a resource for community members but also to artists, as an exhibition space,” she says. “I think we’re trying to do a lot of different things, and we have a lot of different responsibilities.”   

What: Open House Day

Where: Indie Grits Labs, 1013 Duke Ave.

When: Saturday, Jan. 11, 1-5 p.m.

With: OPT Collective, DJ INFP, DJ Special Guest, photography by Grant Conversano and Gavin McIntyre

Price: Free

More: 803-814-3874,

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