Knight Blog

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

Canoe demonstration project preserves American Indian tradition

Jan. 27, 2015, 9 a.m., Posted by Robin Haines Merrill

Tonight in Fort Lauderdale, the Upper Room Art Gallery will kick off a yearlong public art project centered around the traditional art of creating dugout canoes. Below, the gallery’s Robin Haines Merrill writes about the project and the importance of keeping the art alive.

I’m not a native Floridian, but in the past few years I’ve had the privilege to get to know some of the real natives in the Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes.  When I invited a few of them to be daring and participate in a public performance art piece I staged in Fort Lauderdale in 2012 using a dugout canoe on the New River, this was the first response: “You know we drive SUV's now, right?”

I hadn’t realized that most of the skills to even navigate a canoe have been lost, let alone the fact that very few functioning canoes exist. There is a certain rhythm, timing and natural balance that comes with any vehicle or transportation device, such as riding a bike. Without practice, skills can become rusty, or even lost. But what became more intriguing to me as an artist is the craftsmanship involved in creating a Florida dugout canoe from a cypress log, and how this craft needs to be passed down and witnessed from generation to generation to keep it from becoming extinct.  

Angel Education Series to help guide Miami’s early-stage investors

Jan. 26, 2015, 4 p.m., Posted by Nico Berardi

Photo of downtown Miami by Michael Bolden. 

Nico Berardi is managing director of Accelerated Growth Partners, an angel investor network, which Knight Foundation supports to develop the South Florida venture capital community. 

While the formula for building a great tech company remains a mystery, investment capital is definitely an important ingredient. The fact that most startups don’t qualify for traditional sources of funding makes early-stage investors a key component in any ecosystem.

Technology advancements have made the costs of developing a tech company lower than ever and have provided opportunities to scale beyond our wildest imaginations. Think of companies like Uber or Google valued at $40 billion each in less than five years. These trends have taken the investment community by storm.

Knight Foundation has been a transformational force in Miami becoming a tech hub by connecting and cultivating entrepreneurs. We’re starting to see the first success stories, with Mako exiting at $1.65 billion, .CO exiting at $109 million, OpenEnglish raising capital at a valuation of over $350 million, MagicLeap raising $542 million at a $1 billion-plus valuation. And yet, this is the tip of the iceberg. At Accelerated Growth Partners, we’ve made six seed investments and are closing three more. Every day we’ve been surprised by the quantity and quality of companies being built in our backyard.

Knight Arts Challenge Sur de la Florida se abre para las entradas

Jan. 26, 2015, 2 p.m., Posted by Fernando González

Photo courtesía del Screening Room.

Mas de 8.900 ideas, 241 proyectos y 25 millones de dólares -- solo desde el 2008.

Las cifras del Knight Arts Challenge Sur de la Florida, la cual recibe solicitudes a partir de hoy, provee un vistazo y una idea general del programa — pero no cuentan toda la historia.

Ha habido apoyo para proyectos tan diversos como  librerías móviles, esfuerzos para preservar rara, un estilo tradicional de música haitiana, talleres para alimentar el amor por el cine, carteles para traer los Everglades a la ciudad  y un programa para interesar a los niños en el jazz Los proyectos ganadores en los siete años de estos desafíos ofrecen una detallada instantánea de una comunidad multicultural, creativa y muy dinámica.