Knight Blog

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

Free to download: a new book of art projects for kids

March 31, 2015, 2:23 p.m., Posted by Sarah Gregory

After a lot of hard work and generous help, we are excited to share “Creating Legacies through Art,” a book of free art lesson plans for anyone serving curious kids.

The book is designed to provide teachers and families with free, approachable art projects that stimulate creative thinking and self-expression. Each lesson has easy-to-follow instructions, can be completed in less than an hour, and uses affordable materials. All of them have been tested by our teachers here at Art Sphere, where we offer what we call “artistic first aid” to help fill the gap left by underfunded programs in Philadelphia’s schools and community centers. 

Dinnovate moves San Jose, Calif., forward one meal at a time

March 31, 2015, 12:29 p.m., Posted by Daniel Harris

Guests gather at the School of Visual Philosophy over French cuisine and a discussion on reimagining San Jose’s public spaces.

In San Jose, we are bringing the city’s leaders together around the dinner table.

Every month, Knight Foundation and Moveable Feast invite 25 of the city’s cross-sector leaders to Dinnovate, a dinnertime salon focusedon the future of San Jose.

From Japanese small plates paired with wayfinding, to French comfort food with a side of reimagining public spaces, each event celebrates the diversity of the city’s cultures,people and perspectives.

The guest list changes monthly and may include a former mayor, a magazine editor, a public transportation advocate, a tech executive and a hip-hop artist. What unites the group is their shared love for, and commitment to, the well-being of San Jose. And, it’s not just a networking opportunity;an expert facilitator leads each group through a guided discussion and prototyping exercise. Topics are informed by Knight’s strategy to accelerate place through investments in talent, opportunity and engagement.

Fiber artists plan to dress up Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion

March 31, 2015, 12:16 p.m., Posted by Julie Edgar


The Knight Arts Challenge Detroit is now accepting applications for the best local ideas for the arts. Here, writer Julie Edgar catches up with past winner Detroit Fiberworks.

Like so many others who see Detroit as a wide-open frontier, Mandisa Smith and Najma Wilson are pushing against urban blight and indifference to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.

Only they’re a bit older than the 20-somethings streaming in to the city to stake a claim. They’ve already retired from executive and teaching careers and have always lived in Detroit.

Opening Detroit Fiberworks in 2013 was a way to do what they love in a place they love, and to play a part in the city’s resurrection.

A bit about the two women: After high school, Smith and Wilson followed their own paths. Wilson taught art at Wayne State University and in Detroit Public Schools, while Smith got her MBA from the University of Michigan and took a high-paying job in the auto industry. Decades later, when Wilson retired and Smith got laid off, they started thinking about how they could practice their respective crafts.