Congrats to Knight Arts Challenge Finalists

Categories: Art
Dennis Scholl.jpg
Knight Foundation Vice President/Arts, Dennis Scholl.
Last fall, over 1,300 artists and arts organizations applied for $150,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. (Check our Q&A with Miami Program Director Dennis Scholl.) Today the 56 finalists were announced, and by November, the Knight Foundation Trustees will select the winners.

As far as we can tell, winning the Knight Arts Challenge is the only way to make art happen in this city. And that's alarming considering that the five-year, $20 million patronage project will have its last year in Miami next year. The year 2012 might just be the end of the world after all -- at least for 305 arts and culture. Who will step up and fund our projects? In the meantime, read on for some of this year's finalists we're rooting for and see the full list here.

The challenge has just three rules: The idea must be about art, must take place in or benefit Miami, and winners must find funds (within a year) to match Knight Foundation's grant. Here are some the projects will think hold promise:

[NAME] Publications vows to dedicated a year of art books to Miami's female artists. And as we saw compiling our list of 100 Creatives, there are dozens of worthy subjects.

Bas Fisher Invitational wants to expand the Weird Miami bus tours, where artists program guided jaunts through local eccentricities. Read our recaps of last year's tours here.

Coral Morphologic wants to bring a video aquarium to Museum Park.

Friends of Gusman and Sweat Records envision a battle of the bands at the fancy downtown Olympia Theater.

Lucila Garcia de Onrubia wants to feature Miami art on parking meter receipts (cool, as long as we can agree up front - NO BRITTO).

Lastly Miami's film, poetry, dance, and music scenes are jamming, but theater? Snoozeville. This weekend's Cowboy Mouth, was a breath of fresh thespian air. We support any Knights finalist looking to inject new life into our city's theater scene:

City Theatre wants to cultivate local playwrights by uniting local writers with national playwrights, artistic directors and industry leaders for master classes, workshops and mentorships.

The M Ensemble Company aims to cultivate African-American via a mentorship program to develop of scripts and new play series.

GableStage wants to launch a Shakespeare Festival with Miami-native playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney.

Zoetic Stage would like to explore Miami's people and cultural identity through "The Miami Plays," a series by South Florida playwrights launched with the help of local actors, stage designers and artisans.

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dont worry New Times, we're on the same page.


The Knights Arts program is a double edged sword.

On one hand, it’s great to be able to fund, almost flood, the community with money. Of course, right? It helps define our current Zeitgeist and elevate local arts programs to an international level. Great!! Go Team Knight!

Yet, on the other hand, they are singlehandedly creating the only ballpark to play in. They pretty much validate all that is getting attention, consequently defining good versus bad, while creating fraternities who in turn could surrender to an elitist ego.

The fact that 1300 organizations or individuals applied this year absolutely serves as a testament that everybody and their mother wants this golden egg.

Knight Arts have too much power.

I did not apply, btw…. but I do wish all involved good luck, as well as the 1250 or so rejected. Don’t give up your dream. Fail to you succeed, with or without a handout or a hook up.

And for the finalists, I'd consider yourselves lucky, not better than the others.

Although you probably were better than like a 1000 entrants..

Doo Doo Brown
Doo Doo Brown

 JJ, I understand your critique of Knight as the only game in town. In the marketplace of ideas, it's best - both for creative processes & discourse, and business - to have as many patrons as possible, as to better foster a heterogenous art world. But unless some other Foundation wants to undertake the astounding coverage of Knight's subsidies, I don't really see a solution to "the problem." Plus, "diversity" is subjective, but I would argue Knight  

Doo Doo Brown
Doo Doo Brown

supports a broad range of mediums and demographics. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like what you’re saying is, “I wish Miami had more organizations making it rain like Knight.” Hey, me too.

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