Knight Blog

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

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.

Delegation from Italy visits Miami for lessons in community building

July 29, 2014, 1:55 p.m., Posted by Carolina Wilson

Photo: Italian delegates are hosted by the Miami Downtown Development Authority for a roundtable discussion on community development. Left to right: Cristina Tajani, Mariachiara Fornasari, Alessandro Cattaneo, Simona Molisso and Gerardo Ausiello. Credit: Carolina Wilson.

Miami’s growth in urban entrepreneurship has increasingly attracted the attention of leaders from other countries, and last week a delegation from Italy visited South Florida to learn more about developments in the region’s business sector.

Miami Program Director Matt Haggman.

The U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program invited four government officials and a journalist to the area. They experienced a short visit to Washington, D.C., but then traveled to Miami, where the Miami Council for International Visitors hosted them.

Josh McManus, tapping into the innate ambition of Akron, Ohio

July 29, 2014, 8:18 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Josh McManus joined Knight Foundation this week as Akron program director, Below, Carol Coletta, vice president for community and national initiatives, interviews McManus about his extensive work with placemaking and other nonprofits, and his hopes for his work in Akron.

Carol Coletta: You are from Chattanooga, Tenn.  You have a summer home in Maine. You have worked extensively in Detroit, another Knight city. What have you learned from each of those places?

Josh McManus: Chattanooga taught me that individuals who give a damn and act accordingly make cities change. In the 1970s a small group of people from many backgrounds dug their heels in and refused to accept a fate of decline for their city. I’ve had the privilege to learn from them and that informs the work that I do every day. Maine keeps my eyes fresh to the work that I do. My heroes, ranging from Bucky Fuller to Thomas Edison to Frank Lloyd Wright, all understood that distance can help draw clarity and that communing with Mother Nature is a necessary balance to the nonstop energy of urbanity. Detroit has taught me how creative destruction can actually liberate systems within cities and spur unexpected answers to pressing problems.