South Florida Knight Arts Challenge Challenge Winners 2015


53 ideas win $2.36 million in South Florida Knight Arts Challenge
Challenge winners helping to make art general in Miami

MIAMI – Nov. 30, 2015 –The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation tonight named 53 projects as winners of the Knight Arts Challenge – with ideas that will infuse South Florida with art from Miami Gardens to West Kendall, Key West to Hollywood.

A program of Knight Foundation, the challenge funds the best ideas for bringing South Florida together through the arts.

The 2015 winners, mostly small arts organizations, collectives and individual artists, will share $2.36 million. Their ideas range from bringing the stories of West Dade immigrants to stage in a children’s play, to highlighting artists of color in a December art fair, putting poems on sidewalks, launching a downtown jazz festival and blending art and technology through an art hack day.

“High-quality artistic experiences not only inspire, they help bind us to each other and to a common experience, which is critical to a region as diverse as ours,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation. “Together, these ideas gets us closer to making art general in Miami, to creating a community where art is available to everyone in all of our neighborhoods.”

With challenge funding, the 2015 winners will:

Highlight Miami as a crossroads for Latin America and the Caribbean with a festival celebrating Ibero-American literature, a “Borderless Caribbean” series that fosters an exchange between Miami and Caribbean contemporary artists, and a cultural exchange and performance with Havana students and members of the Greater Miami Youth Symphony;

Strengthen Miami’s indie film scene with a screenwriter roundtable where filmmakers can receive feedback, an innovative film series on how the brain interprets music and a new publication to cover the industry;

Foster the next generation of creatives by holding music boot camps during teacher workdays, preparing teens for music industry careers with a beats academy in Overtown, and teaching young girls to write and perform rock music at a summer camp; and

Explore climate change through the arts with an artist residency program aboard a sailboat, a dance festival along the waterfront and an interdisciplinary performance featuring five prominent local artists.

“Whether they offer a whimsical take on our city, or probe our region’s most challenging issues, Knight Arts Challenge winners offer a chance for everyone in South Florida to become more deeply engaged in our community through the arts,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation. “We hope you will take a moment to look at this year’s choices, participate in an event, donate to a project, and add your voice to our community’s cultural conversation.”

The full list of winners and their project ideas is below. More information is available at

Also Monday, Miami Girls Rock Camp was named the winner of the Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award, the result of a text-to-vote campaign that ended Nov. 17. The campf was one of four small arts organizations up for $20,000, which is in addition to their Knight Arts Challenge grant and can be used for the artistic project of their choice. Knight created the People’s Choice Award to bring attention to small and emerging arts groups and their contributions to the city.

Knight Arts Champions Honored

At an awards event at the New World Center, Knight Foundation also named four cultural leaders as Knight Arts Champions, honoring their contributions with funds to distribute to a creative project of their choice. The 2015 Knight Arts Champions are:
Kareem Tabsch and Vivian Marthell, co-founders of O Cinema, the independent cinema launched with a Knight Arts Challenge grant and that now has three locations;
Alex Gartenfeld, chief curator for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, who guided the institution through its founding and launch in its temporary space in the Design District; and
Rosa de la Cruz, who, through the de la Cruz Collection helps to send Design and Architecture High School and New World School of the Arts students on cultural field trips to New York and Europe respectively.

Knight Foundation has invested more than $122 million in the South Florida arts since 2005, including support for both large institutions to more deeply engage the public, and to propel grassroots efforts through the Knight Arts Challenge. Earlier this year, Knight announced that the challenge, originally launched in 2008, will continue for three more years through 2018.

There are only three rules for applying: 1) The idea must be about the arts; 2) The project must take place in or benefit South Florida; 3) The grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment. The best receive Knight Foundation funds. More than 10,000 ideas have been submitted over eight years.

Previous funding for large institutions has launched a new media program that includes the signature “Wallcasts” at the acclaimed New World Symphony campus, helped present Ibero-American films at the Miami International Film Festival, brings every Miami-Dade third-grader to the new Pérez Art Museum Miami, and will build a new high-tech recital hall at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, among other projects.

2015 Knight Arts Challenge Winners

Farmers Markets Host Pop-up Concerts
Recipient: A Greener Miami
Amount: $20,000
Expanding audiences for music by hosting mini-concerts in South Florida farmers markets with events preceded by a short explanation of the composer’s inspiration

Arts Educators Teach Virtually
Recipient: Art and Culture Center of Hollywood
Amount: $40,000
Expanding arts education in the region by buying new telepresence equipment so that the center’s staff can interact directly with students in its distance learning arts programs

Artist Residency Sets Sail Aboard Boat
Recipient: ArtCenter/South Florida
Amount: $40,000
Exploring climate change through the arts by creating ARTsail, a one-month residency program aboard a sailboat where participants will be commissioned to create works inspired by Miami’s relationship to water

Children Take “Tales of Miami” to Stage
Recipient: Artefactus Cultural Project
Amount: $15,000
Instilling an appreciation for theater in West Dade’s children through workshops that lead them through the process of staging a play

Sidewalk Poems Take Literary Arts to the Streets
Recipient: Agustina Woodgate
Amount: $20,000
Creating playful encounters with poetry through “Walk on Poems,” where local poets write pieces about neighborhoods that are then placed on sidewalks with Scrabble-like tiles

Hackathon Fuses Art and Technology
Recipient: Bakehouse Art Complex
Amount: $30,000
Bringing Art Hack Day to Miami – an international event, where groups of hackers and artists create an instant exhibition that blends art and technology

Jazz Festival Expands to New Mediums
Recipient: City of Miami Gardens
Amount: $80,000
Expanding the city’s successful Jazz in the Gardens music festival to include a music, film and art conference that fosters a deeper exploration of the additional artistic mediums

Contest Helps Develop New Student Playwrights
Recipient: City Theatre
Amount: $20,000
Developing and giving voice to the next generation of playwrights through a contest where high school students from Broward to Miami-Dade create, rehearse and present short plays and public readings

DanceAfrica Comes to Miami
Recipient: Delou Africa
Amount: $15,000
Celebrating the arts of the African diaspora in Miami by expanding Delou Africa’s annual festival in collaboration with the founders of the national Dance Africa showcase

Community Gets Access to Letterpress
Recipient: Extra Virgin Press
Amount: $10,000
Preserving the art of letterpress by creating a space where the community can learn and practice this handmade form of communication

New Performance Piece Explores Rising Tide
Recipient: Florida International University
Amount: $30,000
Exploring the complexities of sea level rise in South Florida through an interdisciplinary performance featuring electronic sounds, orchestral musicians, video and dance in partnership with five prominent local artists

Library Becomes Museum’s Temporary Home
Recipient: Friends of the Bass Museum
Amount: $75,000
Infusing a library with art through a series of solo artists projects and education programs at the Miami Beach Regional Library while the Bass’ building is under renovation

Downtown Art Installations Explore Unconventional Spaces
Recipient: Fringe Projects
Amount: $35,000
Activating downtown Miami’s less conventional spaces by expanding this site-specific, temporary public art commissioning program

Hidden Musical Talents Showcased Onstage
Recipient: FUNDarte
Amount: $120,000
Bringing attention to Miami’s hidden musical talents, many of whom have immigrated to the city and have not yet made it to main stage venues, through a collaborative series with established companies and artists

Gay Arts Groups Team Up
Recipient: Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida
Amount: $40,000
Increasing the visibility of South Florida’s LGBT arts scene through joint programming between the chorus, Island City Stage and Stonewall National Museum and Archives

Havana and Miami Youth Collaborate
Recipient: Greater Miami Youth Symphony
Award: $55,000
Creating cultural exchanges between Miami and Havana students through joint rehearsals and concerts with Cuba’s Amadeo Roldan Conservatory Orchestra

Exhibition Series Connects Miami and Caribbean Artists
Recipient: Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance
Award: $40,000
Exploring the realities of living and creating in cross-cultural communities through the “Borderless Caribbean,” a series of exchanges and exhibitions between Miami and Caribbean contemporary artists

Collaboration Makes Classical Musical More Accessible
Recipient: IlluminArts
Award: $20,000
Engaging Miami audiences with an innovative, fully staged performance of a Pulitzer Prize-winning composition inspired by the visual art at the Pérez Art Museum Miami

Indie Film Scene Receives Increased Coverage
Recipient: Independent Ethos
Award: $15,000
Giving South Floridians an insider’s peek into Miami’s growing indie film and music scene through a website that covers the local industry

Film Series Explores Brain on Music
Recipient: Corpus Callosum
Award: $80,000
Exploring how the human brain interprets music through the creation of a new form of audience experience that combines classical music performances with advancements in neuroscience, in partnership with the New World Symphony and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science

Roundtable Strengthens Indie Filmmaking
Recipient: Kenny Riches
Award: $8,000
Strengthening the indie filmmaking community through a screenwriter roundtable where participants can get feedback on new material

Art Series Engages Tri-Rail Commuters
Kip Eagen
Engaging transit riders in art by creating a series of artistic billboards along the TriRail tracks that would appear to be an animated flipbook as riders fly by

Miami Youth Learn Junkanoo Traditions
Recipient: Leadership Prep Foundation
Amount: $25,000
Celebrating Bahamian culture by teaching Miami youth to make traditional Junkanoo costumes and instruments, which are used during Coconut Grove’s annual Goombay/Junkanoo Festival and in other events

Sculptures Reflect Fear in Media
Recipient: Locust Projects
Amount: $60,000
Exploring how fear is used in the media by creating sculptures of headless chickens, called Withervanes, that change colors to reflect the prevalence of fear-related keywords in news stories

Theater Explores Censorship Onstage
Mad Cat Theatre Company
Amount $25,000
Promoting discussion about the impact of censorship by presenting a banned play and then producing a new work inspired by incidents of censorship in South Florida.

Waterfront Residency Comes to Key Biscayne
Recipient: Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center
Amount: $25,000
Helping inspire South Florida artists through a residency program at the waterfront center in Crandon Park

Ballet Presents Shakespeare Miami-Style
Recipient: Miami City Ballet
Award: $150,000
Reimagining a classic by presenting a uniquely Miami rendition of George Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” during the company’s 30th anniversary season.

Latino Artists Engage Little Havana
Recipient: Miami Dade College’s Koubek Center
Amount; $100,000
Cultivating emerging Latino artists through an artist-in-residence program that provides them the space to produce work that reflects and engages the surrounding Little Havana neighborhood

Dance Performance Highlights Importance of Water
Recipient: Miami Dance Futures
Award: $20,000
Bringing attention to the water supply through National Water Dance Miami, a countywide celebration of site-specific dances – involving both professionals and local students –along the region’s shore

Camp Empowers Girls to Perform Music
Recipient: Miami Girls Rock Camp
Amount: $20,000
Promoting creative expression and empowering young girls through an annual camp where participants are grouped into bands and learn to write and perform an original song

Miami Makerspace Expands
Recipient: Miami Industrial Arts (MIA)
Amount: $15,000
Expanding a hub for Miami’s makers by constructing an onsite classroom and offering subsidized classes in ceramics, wood, metalworking and 3-D technologies

Light Box Provides Space for Incubating New Performance Works
Recipient: Miami Light Project
Amount; $120,000
Providing a space for developing new work and new techniques by piloting a contemporary performance residency program at The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse in Wynwood for international and local artists

School Days Off Turn Into Music Boot Camps
Recipient: Miami Music Project
Award: $105,000
Helping 100 Miami-Dade students push their own artistic limits through a series of orchestral boot camps taking place on teacher planning days throughout the school year

Concerts and Films Coming to Sweetwater
Recipient: NC-office
Award: $30,000
Activating a public space through culture by presenting concerts and films in a new plaza in the city of Sweetwater next to Florida International University’s West Dade campus

Legacy Media Materials Get New Archive
Recipient: Obsolete Media Miami
Award: $30,000
Preserving legacy media, such as 35 mm slides and archival motion pictures, through an archive that serves as a resource for artists, designers, filmmakers and researchers

Academy Preps Teens for Music Careers
Recipient: Overtown Youth Center
Amount: $40,000
Preparing teens for careers in the music industry through The Beats Academy, which will teach a range of topics from music theory to remixing

Artists of Color Shine at December Art Fair
Recipient: Prizm
Award: $80,000
Promoting the works of artists of color who reflect global trends in contemporary art through an annual fair that takes place during Art Basel Miami Beach

Residency Program Expands Little Haiti Gallery
Recipient: Rise Up Gallery
Award: $25,000
Strengthening an artist-run collective that provides studio space to local artists, gallery space for innovative curatorial projects and artistic programming for the community

Movie Lovers Pay Homage to 35 mm Films
Recipient: Secret Celluloid Society
Award: $15,000
Preserving classic films by converting a 1986 bookmobile into a portable project booth that brings 16 mm/35 mm and high-resolution digital projection to Miami neighborhoods

Six Composers Celebrate 15 Years of Seraphic Fire
Recipient: Seraphic Fire
Award: $100,000
Celebrating the group’s 15th anniversary by commissioning and presenting six new American choral works, championing both top composers and emerging talent

Illustrations Memorialize Miami Bands
Recipient: Show Drawn; The Upper Hand Art
Award: $8,000
Drawing attention to Miami’s vibrant music scene, with the goal of encouraging more bands to play here, by creating a series of illustrations of local performances to be published in print and online

Overtown Festival Expands
Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency
Award; $50,000
Celebrating Overtown’s culture through the sixth annual Overtown Music and Arts Festival featuring national and local recording artists

Audio Equipment Rentals Come to Sweat Records
Recipient: Sweat Records
Award: $50,000
Supporting the local indie music scene by providing low-cost rentals of audio equipment for independent promoters and nonprofit event producers

ASK Hispanic Theater Gets New Focus
Recipient: Teatro Prometeo at Miami Dade College
Award: $35,000
Fostering Hispanic theater in Miami, and raising its prominence nationally, through a partnership with the national Latina|o Theatre Commons where the college will host a prominent Latino playwright in residency

Residency Helps Students Create Songs
Recipient: The alt Default
Award: $9,000
Helping teens find their musical voice through a residency for this ensemble at the Fienberg-Fisher K-8 Center in Miami Beach where students will create an original song

Festival Showcases Ibero-American Literature
Recipient: The Betsy-South Beach
Award: $50,000
Celebrating Ibero-American poetry, literature, scholarship and experience through Escribe Aqui/Write Here, a multiday bilingual festival fueled by ongoing cultural programming to champion Miami’s diversity

High-Profile Concert Showcases Student Performers
Recipient: The Miami Symphony Orchestra
Award: $60,000
Offering visibility to pianists younger than 12 through a competition, where the finalists perform with the orchestra at a high-profile concert

TransAtlantic Festival Gets Refresh
Recipient: The Rhythm Foundation
Award: $50,000
Providing a home for world music by rebooting the annual TransAtlantic Festival at the North Beach Bandshell – bringing in more ambitious programming and expanding the event into the adjacent public spaces

Artistic Treasure Hunt Key Reveals West History
Recipient: The Studios of Key West
Award: $50,000
Providing a new way to explore Key West’s history and culture through an event called Lost at the Beach, where participants use maps and apps to discover performances and installations hidden throughout Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Series Focuses on Power of the Elements
Recipient: Tigertail
Award: $75,000
Creating new artistic experiences through a month-long performance series that explores water—in April 2016—and fire—in April 2017—as elements that give and take through tragedy and regeneration

Zine Centers on Miami Beach’s 100th
Recipient: Tom Austin
Award: $15,000
Celebrating Miami Beach’s centennial by publishing a cultural history of South Beach, an exploration of how the arts – music, dance, fashion, visual arts, film, literature, culinary culture and nightlife – have fueled this iconic resort city

Environmental Art Works Come to the Gardens
Recipient: Village of Pinecrest/Pinecrest Gardens
Award: $25,000
Bringing the arts more deeply into communities by inviting acclaimed American environmental artist Patrick Dougherty, who creates sculptures from community-sourced saplings, to create new site-specific works in the gardens

Jazz Fest Comes to Downtown
Recipient: 88.9 FM WDNA Public Radio:
Award: $75,000
Bringing jazz to more Miamians by launching the Miami Downtown Jazz Festival, which will take over several blocks in downtown and continue in various venues

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