Columbia Film Society Awarded a Space for Change Grant

New York, NY – The Columbia Film Society has been awarded a Space for Change Planning
and Pre-Development Grant to help translate its vision for an exemplary art space into a
buildable plan. The organization is among 12 grantees nationwide whose early stage facility
projects were selected as exceptional examples of how art can reinvigorate a neighborhood by
Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC) in partnership with the Ford Foundation. The
Space for Change Planning and Pre-Development grants provide organizations with the initial
funds that are most critical to a facility’s success – and yet the most difficult to obtain.
The 12 winners were chosen from nearly 700 applicants from 49 states as well as the District of
Columbia. They responded to a call last April from LINC, in partnership with Ford, for letters of
interest from nonprofit arts organizations intending to buy, construct, renovate, help develop, or
become anchor tenants in an art space or cultural facility. Full proposals were invited from
organizations with strong track records of artistic excellence, diverse leadership and active
community engagement. The projects that proved to be outstanding were rooted not only from
the internal needs of the organization, but also took into account the role of the cultural facility as
an essential community asset. A total of $1 million was distributed through this program.
Grantees received planning and predevelopment support up to $100,000.
The Columbia Film Society will receive $50,000 over two years to plan for the renovation and
restoration of a classic 1930’s movie palace, The Fox, the last of its kind in downtown Columbia.
The only non-profit art house film theater in South Carolina, the Columbia Film Society
currently operates the 75-seat storefront Nickelodeon Theatre. Over its 30-plus years of
existence, the Nickelodeon has evolved into a sophisticated arts center, with a significant
component of media education.
The planned move to Main Street, the major downtown commercial corridor of Columbia, has
the support of the city itself, which provided a generous grant to facilitate the purchase. And
while the move will take it across town from its current neighbor, the University of South
Carolina, the Columbia Film Society expects their long running partnership to remain strong as
they continue to share resources, feature student works and offer classes and other programming.
The organization expects the reconfigured Fox to increase audience capacity three-fold. With
two theaters featuring new technical systems, the Columbia Film Society will be able to expand
its daily offerings and its ability to screen different types of media. The building also will be
designed to house a modern media lab, key to providing local students with 21st century skills.
“Predevelopment funds are critical to a successful planning process, but arts organizations are
too often deemed ‘high risk’ by conventional lending institutions and are unable to access these
much needed resources,” said Judilee Reed, executive director, LINC. “The Space for Change
program is designed to help our grantees plan methodically, and create more than buildings or
architectural objects, but genuinely dynamic engines of culture and change. These grants invest
in the vision of compelling projects that will ultimately benefit not just artists, but a larger
geographic community as well.”
“Space for Change is a unique program that provides support for arts organizations to translate
ideas into action,” said Darren Walker, vice president for Education, Creativity and Free
Expression at the Ford Foundation. “Each winning project expresses the rich diversity of the
American cultural landscape, matching the development of creative spaces and artistic
The other recipients of Space for Change Planning and Pre-Development Grants are:
651 Arts Brooklyn, NY
Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education Bronx, NY
Columbia Film Society Columbia, SC
Dance Place Washington, D.C.
The Heidelberg Center Detroit, MI
The Heritage Center of Red Cloud Indian School Pine Ridge, SD
Intersection for the Arts San Francisco, CA
Los Cenzontles Mexican Art Center San Pablo, CA
Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA) San Jose, CA
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) Detroit, MI
Northwoods Niijii Enterprise Community, Inc. Lac du Flambeau, WI
For complete profiles of each grantee’s facility project please visit
Space for Change – a multi-faceted program created to promote the development of affordable
artist spaces through awards, research, and learning – was launched by LINC in 2009 in
collaboration with the MetLife Foundation and the Ford Foundation. In addition to
commissioning research and building a national learning community around the issues of artist
space development, the program has included two funding opportunities: the MetLife Foundation
Innovative Space Awards (ISAs) and the Ford Foundation Space for Change Planning and Pre-
Development Grants. The second and final round of the ISAs was announced last fall. The Space
for Change Planning and Pre-Development grants mark the culmination of LINC’s grantmaking
in artist space development.
In addition to receiving direct financial support, each Space for Change grantee will have access
to technical assistance, knowledge exchange, and the development of a national network of peer
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institutions. LINC grantees, across all of its program areas, will be invited to a series of meetings
and workshops designed to advance the development of outstanding artist space nationwide.
About LINC
Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC) is a ten-year national initiative to improve the
conditions for artists working in all disciplines. LINC believes that providing artists with a
relevant system of support and resources will enhance their creative output, enabling them to
make greater and more meaningful contributions to our communities and society as a whole.
Visit for more information.
About the Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than half
a century it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide,
guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote
international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the
foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.


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