Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Vote now for the Detroit Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award

Aug. 1, 2014, 8 a.m., Posted by Katy Locker

This article is cross-posted from

In Detroit, we’re seeing art and artistic performances pop up all around us.  Some of them have long been fixtures in the community and yet previously unrecognized outside of small circles.  Some of them are entirely new, attracted to a Detroit artistic scene and opportunity that is becoming nationally and internationally known. 

At Knight Foundation, we strive to find innovative projects that engage and enrich Detroiters through the arts.  We recently announced 87 finalists for the 2014 Knight Arts Challenge.  While the finalists’ proposals are reviewed and winners are selected, we are taking an opportunity to shine the spotlight on five small arts organizations – an emerging drumline academy, two dramatically different dance efforts, a growing center for African culture and site-specific theater performers.

New managing director guides The LAB Miami

July 31, 2014, 10:27 a.m., Posted by Tamara Wendt

Tamara Wendt photo by Catalina Ayubi.

More than two months ago, Danny Lafuente and Wifredo Fernandez, co-founders of The LAB Miami, announced they were setting their sights on new projects and creating an opportunity for  someone else to carry on the day-to-day management of the vision they brought to life. While I’ve been supervising operations at The LAB Miami since late last year, I’m excited to build upon that work as the new managing director.

I have been fortunate to be part of The LAB since the Cirque du Cowork, the launch party for the current location in 2013. Danny invited a maker space project I was involved with to base itself in one of The LAB’s offices.  I began to see the story unfold of brilliant hard-working founders, an impressive board, and the support of the forward-thinking Knight Foundation, all set against the backdrop of Wynwood, one of Miami’s most creative and progressive neighborhood.. It was clear that there was a demand for a place like The LAB, which hosted more than 25,000 people in its first 12 months. More than 160 members spanning 80 diverse, but commonly social-minded, organizations began to co-work and collaborate here. The ethos of openness, trust and sharing is palpable when you walk into The LAB. It is relaxing, invigorating, inspiring, and, as I hear visitors say almost every day, it “feels really good in here.”  

In the next year we will continue to support open programs such as the Wynwood Maker Camp, the Maker Educational Initiative, Code for Miami and a number of new community initiatives and social events started by members and non-members alike—and many supported by Knight. Groups such as Code Fever, Colony 1 Sustainability Hub, LadyFest and the Overtown Youth Center will all have a hand in shaping our approach to community building.

Philly residents prepare for battle in Shakespeare in the park

July 30, 2014, 1:20 p.m., Posted by Katti Gray

Shakespeare's Henry IV in West Philadelphia's Clark Park. Credit: Brian Siano on YouTube.

When a staging of Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” opens tonight in Philadelphia, city native Brian Anthony Wilson, a black actor perhaps best known for being Detective Vernon Holley in the award-winning “The Wire” television series, will take the stage as king.

“I’m here because I am an actor,” Wilson said. “And I’m selfishly doing this. Playing a king is a challenge but the bigger thing, the key thing, is that I’m showing kids of color and people of color more of what we can do and see.”

That’s an important message for West Philadelphia, the neighborhood where the adaptation kicks off a four-night run in Clark Park, a block off the 43rd Street trolley stop on Baltimore Avenue. Three-quarters of the neighborhood’s residents are black—a demographic not usually counted among Shakespeare fans—and some of them will help stage a battle scene in the production.