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

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    Miami Wagner Institute debuts

    July 28, 2016, 11:09 a.m., Posted by Sebastian Spreng

    Organized by the brand new Miami Wagner Institute, the July 16 concert at the New World Center was the high point of the third season of the Miami Music Festival’s advanced training program. The concert’s success proved that you can do Wagner in Miami, even in midsummer, and that the demand is there, given the size of the audience.

    The first thing to note is the admirable performance of the student orchestra conducted by festival founder Michael Rossi, infinitely better than last year’s. In the first part of the program, it dared tackle the “Der Rosenkavalier” suite that Richard Strauss quickly composed on the heels of the resounding success of the opera of the same name. The performance was solid, though a Wagner overture–“Tannhäuser” and “Rienzi” or “The Flying Dutchman”–might have been a more appropriate prologue to the singing.

    The parade of young Wagnerian singers trained to perfection in a week of intense work by opera coach Kathleen Kelly and soprano Christine Goerke–who was summoned back to Miami by Rossi after her sensational master class last year gave rise to this project–evinced dedication, fervor and promising talent. We will definitely be hearing from some of them again.

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  • Arts

    A manifesto for creative revolution

    July 28, 2016, 10:11 a.m., Posted by Hunter Franks

    This blog was originally posted at The League of Creative Interventionists, which is supported by Knight Foundation

    The branches bent up to the sky, aching to dream, or escape the arid desert. I was nine years old on a road trip with my family, teetering on the edge of the Grand Canyon, staring at a short windswept tree, barren of leaves, and existing begrudgingly near the edge of a cliff. I grabbed the camera from the car, lined up the tree in the center of the frame, and clicked. At just nine, I loved to capture what was around me with photography. I had no idea where art would take me.

    Three years ago, my path brought me to the stark realization that art can do more than capture. Art can enrapture. Art can be more than something to look at. Art can breathe. Art can move people to create change. I began to practice art that addressed the challenges of people and cities. I began using art to reimagine the social and physical landscapes of our urban areas. I worked with communities to co-create participatory installations, to share and listen to stories, and to play. Quickly recognizing the energy and passion for this movement, I formed the League of Creative Interventionists. The League was a name and an idea to rally around. Energy to capture and then multiply in communities all around the world.

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  • Communities

    Philly American Experiments features tools to encourage voter participation

    July 27, 2016, 2:13 p.m., Posted by Jake Blumgart

    American Experiments showcase. Photo collage by Patrick Morgan.

    On the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, techies and activists packed into the University City Science Center’s Quorum space to advertise their wares for the “American Experiments” showcase. Sponsored by the nonpartisan watchdog group the Committee of Seventy, Microsoft,, and Knight Foundation—among many others—the event provided an opportunity to bring civic-minded tech to the masses of politically minded people who have descended on the city.

    The 18 vendors attending American Experiments ranged from local organizations such as Code for Philly, the city’s Code for America brigade, to long-established national groups such as e.thePeople, which debuted in 1999. The air buzzed with talk of partisanship, disenfranchisement and low voter turnout as attendees were introduced to the tools that the participants hope to use to make our democracy more transparent and accessible.

    Many of the vendors used the current presidential race to explain their tools in an easily understandable context.  But many of these innovative apps seemed better suited to off-year elections, when voters are less likely to be informed about the candidates and less likely to vote. (In 2014 43 percent of registered voters cast a ballot—the lowest turnout in 72 years—while in 2012 the number was 67 percent.)

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