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

Dec 02, 2013

Announcing the 2013 winners of the Miami Knight Arts Challenge

Posted by Dennis Scholl

Above: The 2013 Miami Knight Arts Challenge Winners. Music credit: Knight Arts Challenge Winner Joey Bargsten of meme experi mental ensemble.

Tonight, on the New World Center stage, we’re celebrating 49 local artists, the impact they are having on our cultural community and our city, and their big ideas for the South Florida arts.

Each is a winner of the Miami Knight Arts Challenge, receiving combined $2.72 million. We expect you will be seeing and experiencing their projects soon.

Some are using technology in ways that will reshape how we view art. Others are using art as a lens to celebrate everything that is uniquely South Florida – from our history as a swampland to our historic landmarks like the Miami Marine Stadium and Venetian Pool.

Together, they – and the Knight Arts Challenge winners before them – are helping to create an ecosystem that allows artists to stay here in Miami, to build a career and a name for themselves while creating a sense of community that benefits everybody. As a result, they are pushing the arts beyond Wynwood and Downtown, deeper into our neighborhoods and communities, from South Dade to Opa-locka and Miramar.

Everywhere you go in South Florida, we want you to have an encounter with art. The opening of the Perez Art Museum later this week is testament that Miami is on that path. The challenge winners are fueling the art scene by ensuring art surrounds us all.

We also had one other surprise – the winner of the Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award.

This fall we asked South Florida to vote via text for their favorite of five small or emerging projects – for a chance at an additional $20,000. Each of the nominees hustled, and rallied their communities for votes. I’m excited to share that the winner is Teo Castellanos, a playwright and author who is working to put another Miami story on the stage.

Big congrats to Teo and to the other challenge winners tonight!

I hope you’ll take a look below at the projects coming to your neighborhoods soon.

New residency programs strengthen artistic talent in Miami

ArtCenter/South Florida


To provide opportunities for Miami’s artistic talent and to attract new creatives to the city, ArtCenter/South Florida will relaunch its residency program with three new tracks: fellowships geared toward young and emerging artists, a visiting artists program focusing on short residencies for national and international multidisciplinary artists, and a studio program targeted at local artists. All participants will have exhibition, teaching and professional development opportunities.

ArtCenter/South Florida advances the knowledge and practice of contemporary art and offers artists opportunities for creation and experimentation.

Multimedia work explores Miami’s past and present

Awesome New Republic


Bringing together the city’s artists, musicians, dancers and filmmakers, Awesome New Republic plans a multimedia performance that tells the story of South Florida’s evolution from swampland to modern metropolis. “The Humid Body” will be performed live and later recalibrated for the Internet to create an immersive experience reflective of South Florida’s modern existence.

Awesome New Republic, founded by Michael John Hancock and Brian Robertson, is a decade-strong music project focused on utopian ideals through community collaboration

Spoken word event provides platform for artists
The Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida

To provide a platform for spoken word artists, the Black Archives will strengthen its monthly spoken word showcase “Expressions” — just in time for its move to the historic Lyric Theater, which is scheduled to reopen in 2014. The program features both high-profile and emerging artists, with live jazz and soul music between performances. Guests will be greeted with a red carpet and photo staging area and then will be immersed in the art and history exhibitions before the show. The Black Archives hopes “Expressions” becomes a benchmark event for the Overtown community.

The Black Archives, History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc., which owns and operates the historic Lyric Theater, was founded in 1977 with the mission to preserve the documentary and photographic history of black South Florida, leading the charge for the revitalization of Miami’s former black business and entertainment district, Overtown. 

Cannonball launches educational effort
Cannonball Miami

Cannonball, Miami's only live-work residency for artists, will use challenge funding to launch an alternative school that explores experimental thinking in art production and education. Intensive semester-long seminars and workshops will unpack global issues in ways that are relevant to Miami's social and cultural context and provide students with professional opportunities at partnering organizations throughout the world.

Based in downtown Miami, Cannonball is a nonprofit arts organization known for its advocacy and innovative programs supporting today's artists.

Miami Beach gets resident cabaret group
Circ X and The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater

To create Greater Miami’s only resident cabaret, Circ X will partner with the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater to convert the greenroom into a permanent performance space. Last year, Circ X celebrated its 10th anniversary at the Fillmore to a packed house, showing that South Florida was hungry for this type of entertainment. The new show will feature a variety of short-format acts, from neo-burlesque to theatrical circus artistry, showcasing South Florida’s fringe performance artists and providing them with a place to take artistic risk.

Circ X is performance troupe and production company specializing in beautifully bizarre interactive entertainment and theatrical circus artistry.

Training program instills kids with love of jazz

Community Arts Program

To introduce more young Miamians to jazz, the Community Arts Program will expand its Conservatory for the Arts to include an after-school jazz institute. Beginning to advanced students will engage in level-appropriate classes in jazz theory, history, instrument study and studio musicianship and, ultimately, also play in a jazz band. Key to the institute’s growth will be free student jazz concerts that engage the community throughout Miami’s many neighborhoods.

The Community Arts Program provides an expanding array of educational and culturally enriching experiences through its acclaimed Summer Concert Series and award-winning Conservatory for the Arts.

High school students explore careers in art and design

Florida International University College of Architecture + The Arts

To develop the next generation of South Florida creatives, Florida International University’s College of Architecture + The Arts will work with local and global collaborators, including Harvard University, to launch a career discovery program centered on the arts and design. Based in Miami Beach, the program’s high-school-aged participants will examine the range of creative-design-sector careers that will be pivotal in securing and growing Miami’s future reputation as a global creative city. 

The College of Architecture + The Arts has one central vision: to be at the forefront of teaching, research and service in art, design, performance and communication. 

Public art and performances presented in extended outdoor program

Friends of the Bass Museum

To make provocative artworks accessible to the public, the Bass Museum of Art will extend its annual outdoor exhibition in Collins Park and include additional programming.  The show entitled “Public” transforms the park during Art Basel Miami Beach with sculptures and performances by international artists. Challenge funding will extend the exhibitions through April and complement them with outdoor concerts and the launch of picnic “Bass-kets” for a longer-term impact on visitors and residents.

The Friends of the Bass Museum inspire and educate by exploring the connections between our historical collections and contemporary art.

Annual GLBTQ performing arts festival expands community engagement efforts



With challenge funding, FUNDarte will enhance its Out in the Tropics festival, the city’s first contemporary performing art series specifically representing the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer community. The series brings to Miami world-class GLBTQ performing artists who address broad gender and social issues while raising awareness of GLBTQ issues among the general public. With new funding, FUNDarte will expand educational opportunities by selecting visiting artists to provide workshops, artist talks and panel discussions at high schools and community centers.

FUNDarte is a multidisciplinary nonprofit organization dedicated to producing, presenting and promoting music, theater, dance, film and visual arts that speak to Miami’s diverse cultures with an emphasis on Hispanic arts and culture. 

GableStage presents plays for local schools

To promote appreciation for theater, GableStage will present one production annually for local middle school and high school students, making it possible for tomorrow's theater-goers to see a first-rate professional production exactly as it was presented to ticket buyers. The play will be chosen for its relevance to a young audience and will include a study guide and post-performance discussion. The program is based on GableStage's successful presentation of "Hamlet" to 8,000 students at the Joseph Caleb Auditorium in Liberty City and the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center.

For the past 15 seasons, GableStage has been at the cutting edge of theater in South Florida, striving to present audiences with innovative productions that entertain as well as confront today's most vital issues and ideas.  

Historic sites play starring role in dance performances
Hattie Mae Williams

Helping to celebrate two of Miami’s historic gems, choreographer Hattie Mae Williams will present site-specific dance pieces at both the Venetian Pool — for its 90th birthday — and the Miami Marine Stadium. Local artists Christian Salazar and Jamil Gonzalez will document the project, creating a mashup for broadcast on the Internet and submissions to Miami film festivals. Williams will recruit local high school students to perform the piece, which she considers a celebration of the city's past and an opportunity to raise awareness of the beauty of site-specific performances.

Hattie Mae Williams, a Miami native and New World School of the Arts graduate, resides in New York City, directing, teaching and creating various projects with her company The Tattooed Ballerinas, and pushing the boundaries of site-specific dance and interdisciplinary art.

Club launches interactive film and new technology festival
Indie Film Club Miami

To further develop the local film scene, Filmgate, South Florida's first interactive film festival, will help local and international filmmakers make the transition to the cross-platform digital age. The event focuses on storytelling that combines multiple layers and social integration, and includes interactive screenings, creative labs, new technology playgrounds, independent distribution models and immersive events. In its second year, the event will expand its screening program, host regarded keynote speakers and encourage and support local transmedia content creation.

Indie Film Club is an expanding South Florida collective, nurturing filmmaking in all its forms, including using new technology with the objective to create immersive and interactive projects.

Augmented reality used to transform public art 

Ivan Toth Depeña

To promote innovation in the local arts community, Ivan Toth Depeña will develop a series of public art installations that use geography and augmented reality to create contemplative viewer experiences. The multidisciplinary projects, taking place at several locations throughout Miami-Dade County, will blur the boundaries between the physical and virtual world. The art will be experienced mainly using a mobile device. Here’s how it might work: Pedestrians walking by a project site might notice a way-finding device or get a notification on their smartphone or tablet that announces the site-specific project. Using a custom-designed mobile app, they will point their device’s camera at the site, where a performance starts to unfold or a sculpture generates virtually on the screen. As the camera pans, other performers join in or the form develops dynamically. The experience is designed to be an immersive, multisensory discovery tour of urban and suburban environments throughout Miami.

Ivan Toth Depeña is an artist living and working in both New York and South Florida. Depeña's work exemplifies the harmonic moment when various creative disciplines come together seamlessly.

Keys program instills family interest in classical music
Key West Council on the Arts

The council will create a month-long program designed to foster family interest in classical music. Parents and children from the Lower Keys will attend a series of concerts and rehearsals, paired with lectures that analyze performances, describe the lives of musicians and demystify classical music. A composer, for example, could explain his creative process, while a showing of a movie such as “Amadeus” or “Peter and the Wolf” could enhance interest. Overall, the effort seeks to encourage local families to make classical musical performances a regular entertainment option.

Impromptu Classical Concerts of Key West has presented high quality chamber music performed by nationally and internationally recognized artists for more than 40 years in addition to providing support for musical education in the Florida Keys.

First Haitian-American Book Fair launches in 2014
Mapou Cultural Center

To promote Haitian culture and literature, the Mapou Cultural Center and Sosyete Koukouy will present a Haitian-American book rair in the spring of 2014. The book fair in Little Haiti will showcase literary talent from Haiti and the Haitian diaspora, featuring authors, poets, literary workshops, live performances, a children’s section and more. The fair will also host a poetry and short story competition, which will culminate in the publication of an anthology.

Mapou Cultural Center (Sant Kiltirèl Mapou), a nonprofit cultural organization, is the focal point that brings the Haitian-Caribbean performing arts, Haitian/French literature, and exquisite cuisine to Greater Miami.

Pop-up dinners fund creative projects

Meals That Heal


To provide an innovative funding source for the arts, Meals That Heal will organize FEAST Miami, pop-up dinners at arts venues where participants vote on a creative project to support. Artists and small organizations will be invited to present a simple proposal for an arts project, while diners, who have given a minimum donation, will have the opportunity to vote on whom to fund. The meals will be healthfully prepared with organic and locally sourced foods. Inspired by the food sustainability movement, the events will help provide community-based sustainability for the arts.

FEAST Miami was created by Susan Caraballo, an arts innovator who has worked in Miami’s arts scene for over 15 years, and Loren Pulitzer, a local vegan chef committed to the community and founder of Meals That Heal and a line of cookies, Simply Sharon’s.

FAU professor presents multimedia opera
meme – media experi mental ensemble

To explore the fusion of art, music and technology, a new multimedia opera written by Florida Atlantic University Professor Joey Bargsten will be presented. “MelanchoLalaLand” integrates traditional elements of opera with past works on melancholy into a futuristic spectacle that showcases an experimental fusion of live performance, interactive video and animation.

Media Artist and Composer Joey Bargsten teaches Multimedia at Florida Atlantic University, and has created live multimedia performances with his media experi mental ensemble (meme) throughout South Florida since 2009.

Miami Beach Cinematheque creates dialogue around filmmaking
Miami Beach Film Society

To foster a deeper appreciation for cinema, the Miami Beach Cinematheque will provide a series of conversations on the art of filmmaking. Led by local and visiting film critics, the series will engage audiences in the appreciation and analysis of cinema as language and art, rather than escapist entertainment. In addition, the series seeks to expand its impact via podcasts and an interactive website.

The mission of the Miami Beach Cinematheque, home of the Miami Beach Film Society, is to promote and present cinema as an art form and offer a cultural alternative to the commercial moviegoing experience.

Book Fair ‘Swamp’ lounge celebrates Florida
Miami Book Fair International

To raise the profile of Florida authors, the book fair will create a pop-up lounge called the Swamp that features regional writers exploring the beauty, contradictions and weirdness of life in the Sunshine State. The fair will invite other literary and arts groups to curate individual nights, assuring that each evening is an event reflecting the personalities that animate the local cultural scene. The Swamp will honor and celebrate Florida while providing a venue for local writers and lovers of literature to come together.

The 30-year-old Miami Book Fair International, the largest and most comprehensive book festival in the United States, promotes reading and community engagement, bringing more than 200,000 people to the Miami Dade College in downtown Miami every year.

Dance series to celebrate Lyric Theater reopening
Miami Contemporary Dance Company

As a way to build audiences for Overtown’s historic Lyric Theater, reopening in 2014, Miami Contemporary Dance Company will present a “souped-up, go-out-and-get-’em” dance series. Up and Over Overtown—THE MOVEMENT consists of dance performances, street happenings and educational workshops, all designed to promote the cultural revitalization of Overtown.

The mission of Miami Contemporary Dance Company is to create and present high quality contemporary dance for local, national and global audiences, and to raise awareness about contemporary dance through professional programming, dance education, and community outreach.

Choral groups gain professional training
Miami Gay Men’s Chorus

To strengthen choral leadership in South Florida, the chorus will expand its annual festival to include professional development workshops. The festival brings together choral groups of diverse ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds to perform in concert together. For its fifth year, the festival will offer training on developing effective board stewardship, insights for artistic directors and networking opportunities.

The Miami Gay Men's Chorus is an inclusive, community-based organization of gay men and gay-supporting people that inspires and changes lives through the power of music.

Orchestral academy expands to Liberty City
Miami Music Project

To empower more children to play and appreciate classical music, the Miami Music Project will expand its orchestral academy to a third location, Liberty City. Formed five years ago with a Knight Arts Challenge grant, the project has provided performances for more than 25,000 local students, with 380 children ages 5 to 18 participating in its youth orchestra in Doral and Little Haiti. The academy emphasizes both music instruction and leadership skills.

Miami Music Project, an arts and social services organization founded by world-renowned conductor James Judd, provides social transformation through music education to children and youth, creating a network of orchestras that remove social and economic barriers.

Conversation series demystifies the arts 
Miramar Cultural Trust

What inspires artists? What is the value in owning an original piece of artwork? What is the best way to build an artistic career? These and other issues will be explored during Art Speaks, a conversation series that encourages artistic expression and appreciation. Jo Marie Payton, a singer and actress who starred in the sitcom “Family Matters,” will host the series. Guests will include artists of all genres and will be given time to perform and answer questions from the audience. Participants gain insight into the world of the arts by interacting with artists in a setting that promotes conversation and the exchange of information.

The Miramar Cultural Trust strives to endow, support and advocate for the arts in Miramar.

Nollywood films get spotlight at MOCA
Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA)

To expose South Florida audiences to global art centers, MOCA will create a film festival focused on cinema in Nigeria, home to one of the largest film industries in the world. The program will explore how Nollywood films use art to explore cultural values relevant to African, diaspora and international audiences. The three-day event will include film screenings, panel discussions and outreach programs. 

MOCA is dedicated to making contemporary art more accessible to diverse audiences through the collection, preservation and exhibition of the best of contemporary art and its influences.

One-act play festival travels to Miami neighborhoods
New Theatre

Building on the success of its one-act festival, New Theatre wants to expand its reach into Miami’s neighborhoods by taking the event on the road. The traveling theater festival will visit different pockets of Miami-Dade, providing residents with a full evening of short, one-act plays, written and performed by local artists. The plays are at times edgy, funny and puzzling — each providing a glimpse of the characters’ lives before leaving the audience to use their imaginations to fill in the blanks.

Intimate.  Vibrant.  Groundbreaking. New.  Plays.  New Theatre!

Summer academy preps students for college auditions

New World School of the Arts

To help talented low-income students gain a competitive edge in auditions for college arts programs, New World School of the Arts will provide training through its Summer Theater Academy. Designed for high school students who haven’t studied in a specialized or arts magnet school, the academy will offer coaching in audition techniques, interviewing skills and the research and process of applying to colleges, in addition to private vocal and acting coaching. The goal is for each student to depart from the academy with two monologues and songs that they can confidently use for college auditions.

New World School of the Arts is a unique collaborative venture between University of Florida, Miami Dade College and Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which provides a comprehensive program of artistic training, academic development and preparation for careers in dance, music, theater and visual arts, serving high school and college students in Miami.

New technology, viewing space for independent cinema
O Cinema

Since launching with one of the first Knight Arts Challenge grants in 2008, O Cinema has become a popular local venue for independent film. To better serve the community at its Wynwood location, the cinema will buy a digital DCI projector that is the industry standard and use existing space to create a second venue for screenings that will more than double the amount of viewings annually and further diversify the already eclectic program of films presented throughout the year.

O Cinema is a cutting-edge, non-profit, independent cinema with locations in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District and the Village of Miami Shores that showcase first-run independent, foreign and art films.

Palm Beach Opera goes al fresco
Palm Beach Opera

To bring opera into the community, Palm Beach Opera will offer a free community concert with full orchestra and chorus in partnership with the city of West Palm Beach. Opera @ The Waterfront will be launched in December at the Meyer Amphitheatre, a popular outdoor venue in downtown West Palm Beach, where audience members will be able to spread out their blankets to watch and listen or enjoy from the comfort of their homes via a live broadcast on the Internet.

Palm Beach Opera is dedicated to producing live opera at an international standard of excellence and to enriching the life of the communities it serves with a diverse offering of educational programs.

Co-op is hub for design and tech-based art

To build up South Florida’s design and technology-based art community, organizers will create the Biscayne Maker Co-op, a space for the community to come together, hack and build projects. The co-op will offer a range of digital printers, laser cutters, silkscreen setups and more, providing a place where South Floridians can design, fabricate, print, exhibit and support the local fine arts communities. The Co-op seeks to encourage engagement with communities that have been historically underserved by the technology space, in particular women and people of color.

Silas Munro, a design nomad who straddles many disciplines and geographic places, is principal of Poly-Mode, a practice that reflects the hybrid nature of his work as a designer, maker, artist,  researcher, teacher and writer.

Day of the Dead celebration to expand

Puppet Network

For the past four years, Puppet Network has presented a local celebration of the Latin American tradition of Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, combining traditional and modern interpretations of the event in a community spectacle: Giant puppets and skeleton-clad revelers parade in the streets, mask workshops are taught while kids and artists work collectively, families design exquisite memorials to loved ones, and much more. With challenge funding, Puppet Network will expand its ofrendas, exhibitions and community arts workshops to additional locations beyond downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Puppet Network is South Florida's premier design and fabrication firm specializing in puppet arts for the live entertainment and media industries with an emphasis on educational and community development arts programming.

Youth learn art of hip-hop in summer workshop

Puremovement Projects

In the summer of 2014, award-winning hip-hop dance choreographer Rennie Harris and his cohort of hip hop dance legends will lead 300 Miami youth in a week of free hip-hop dance classes. Modeled after Harris’ annual dance festival in Philadelphia, the event explores the essence and history of hip-hop dance rather than its stereotypes. Designed for beginning to advanced participants, activities will be held at Miami Dade College and will include a full schedule of master classes, lecture demonstrations, open jam sessions, panel discussions and break-out sessions.

Puremovement Project is a sponsored project of Rennie Harris Puremovement Hip Hop Dance Theater, dedicated to exploring various outreach initiatives that utilizes the art of hip-hop, technology and community programming to engage young audiences. 

Seraphic Fire to become ensemble-in-residence at South Dade cultural center
Seraphic Fire

To bring its award-winning vocal ensemble to new audiences, Seraphic Fire will present regular masterworks concerts at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. Seraphic Fire has a short but successful history of partnering with the center in Cutler Bay: Its holiday performance was the first to sell out there. With challenge funding, Seraphic Fire and the Firebird Chamber Orchestra will become the classical ensemble-in-residence at the hall, which opened in 2011, reaching out to neighborhoods far from Miami’s downtown cultural centers.

Seraphic Fire is South Florida's Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble. 

Traveling theater wagon pays homage to medicine shows of old
Shira Lee Abergel

Harkening back to the medicine shows of old, Shira Lee Abergel will construct an old-time wooden wagon that transforms into a theatrical playing space and travels throughout Greater Miami. The wagon will host productions that will include, but are not limited to: silent film-like theater that utilizes projections and live music, film screenings and other original works.  The artist seeks to transform the streets of Miami into a theatrical landscape that transports the city dweller to an oasis where performance and story break the boundaries that separate performer from audience and bring communities closer to the arts.  

Shira Lee Abergel is a Miami-native multidisciplinary performing and creative artist.

Dancers and musicians collaborate in residency program
6th Street Dance Studio/Whole Project

To encourage artistic growth in Miami, 6th Street Dance Studio/WholeProject is launching HomeGrown, a residency program for young professional dancers and musicians. For artists, proximity is everything. The city’s sprawling geography has made it difficult for young professional artists to cross paths. This program will bring them together for a weekly study/jam night that includes workshops, collaborations, creation labs and performances. Dancers from a variety of disciplines will learn — and create — together

Drumming community gathers for master classes

South Florida Center for Percussive Arts

To foster a sense of community among an often-disparate group of local percussionists, the center will offer Friday Nights of Rhythm, a free, ongoing master class series taught by well-known drumming artists. The project will feature local and national artists in a wide range of percussion disciplines to encourage students to strengthen their skills or develop new ones. The events are central to the South Florida Center’s goal of becoming a comprehensive resource for percussionists.

The center is home to a variety of percussionists from an array of musical backgrounds in order to provide a comprehensive approach to percussion. 

Lecture series on arts and ethics expands
Studio Enrique Martínez Celaya

As a way to strengthen the audience for the visual arts, the studio will expand its Lecture Project, which brings internationally recognized art historians, critics and philosophers to discuss the intersection of art and ethics. Challenge funding will help bring more speakers to South Florida and widen their reach through podcasts and an online archive.

Festival celebrates international children’s theater
Teatro Prometeo

To celebrate children’s theater from around the world, Teatro Prometo will launch a theater festival for kids during Miami Book Fair International. Play Time! will present quality productions in a variety of languages using supertitles to introduce children to a variety of cultural traditions. The event hopes to become a space where children and families can gather and share cultural experiences. 

Teatro Prometeo is the nation’s only Spanish-language conservatory, recognized throughout the international theater community as a program of excellence in actor training with a history of innovative productions.

One-act play explores unique Miami story

Teo Castellanos D-Projects

Playwright, actor and director Teo Castellanos, will bring a unique tale of brotherhood to the stage via the solo show “Third Trinity.” An adaption of his screenplay, the show is based on Castellanos’ early life in Miami with two brothers who became involved in Puerto Rican nationalist politics and drug smuggling. Noted actor and playwright Tarell McCraney will provide direction and dramaturgy.

Teo Castellanos is a writer, actor and director who lives and works in Miami.

Bakehouse opens metal foundry
The Bakehouse Art Complex

Celebrating 27 years, the Bakehouse Art Complex, a cultural hub in Wynwood, houses 70 professional artists’ studios, two galleries and common workshop areas for printmaking, kiln use, woodworking and more. As some of the workshop spaces are feeling their age, the Bakehouse will use challenge funds to upgrade equipment and add a metals foundry for artists who work in large-scale casting mediums, including bronze, stainless steel and aluminum. The community foundry will be open to the public.

The Bakehouse Art Complex serves as a cultural hub in Miami’s historic art deco bakery building, enabling and encouraging artistic creativity through affordable studio spaces, exhibition opportunities, programming and more. 

Program immerses university students in theater production
The M Ensemble Company

To inspire an appreciation for theater, The M Ensemble Company will work with Florida Memorial University on engaging its students in the work that goes into a theatrical production. Students will audition for theatrical roles and work on the technical crew, set construction, costumes, lighting design, marketing and administration. Four performances will be free for the university’s students and available at a reduced price for other students in Miami-Dade County

The M Ensemble is Florida's oldest, established African-American theater company.

Nationally recognized writers to participate in local residencies
The Miami Rail

The Miami Rail, a local arts publication, will host a visiting writers program, bringing authors at the top of their fields for extended stays in Miami. Visiting writers will write articles for The Miami Rail, present public lectures and host writing workshops. Challenge support will help The Rail to invite more nationally recognized authors and cultural critics, who can both inspire local writers and return to their home cities to spread the word about South Florida’s literary community.

The Miami Rail is a nonprofit publication that provides cultural criticism both in print and online. 

Center provides creative outlet for Miami youth

The Motivational Edge

The Allapattah-based center will expand its Lyrical Expression and Audio Recording Course to help disadvantaged youth demonstrate their feelings. There, teens use the art of creative writing and lyrical expression in a judgment-free environment. Students also learn to use audio recording software and equipment, preparing them for careers. Funding will upgrade equipment, broaden services and allow for a student-led performance at the end of each course.

The Motivational Edge was created to attract and motivate urban youth to build essential life skills and self-confidence, improve academic performance and cultivate creativity and individual talent. 

FLA-FRA celebrates French and Miami-made art
Tigertail Productions

To explore art through the perspectives of French and Miami artists, Tigertail Productions will present FLA-FRA (Florida-France), a community-wide fête of site-specific events and new performance works appearing throughout Miami at theaters and unexpected locations. The monthlong series, taking place in April of 2014 and 2015, will meld new work from France and, in 2015, the French diaspora, with local artist projects at sites from Downtown Miami to Miami Beach and Little Haiti.

Tigertail supports and presents forward-thinking projects in dance, performance, music, spoken word, screendance, and art of “blurry boundaries,” for artists, diverse audiences and inner city teens. 

Poet Donald Justice gets his due
University of Wynwood

Donald Justice (1925-2004) is the most important Miami-born poet, living or dead. A winner of major literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, Justice is simultaneously one of the most important poets of the 20th century and almost unknown in his hometown. With challenge funding, the University of Wynwood will present “And Justice for All,” a two-day conference that will celebrate Justice as Miami’s literary native son, engaging the city in his poetry and producing a new book that will include the first translations of his poems into Spanish.

The mission of O, Miami is for every single person in Miami-Dade County to encounter a poem.

Event celebrates the craft of Florida’s dugout canoes
Upper Room Art Gallery

As a way to help preserve the art form of dugout canoes, the gallery will organize a seasonal “Paddle Up” featuring Seminole and Miccosukee canoes. The event on the Himmarshee Canal in Fort Lauderdale will highlight the heritage of the land and waters, inviting members of the Seminole, Miccosukee and other tribes to bring their canoes and wear traditional attire. Seminole artist Pedro Zepeda will demonstrate how to create a dugout canoe from a cypress log in downtown Fort Lauderdale where passersby can watch. The events will be tied to a neighborhood revitalization project called Las Olas Village, where indigenous design will be used throughout in cooperation with the tribes and the community.

The Upper Room Art Gallery is a nonprofit global collective of artists and designers whose artwork specializes in organic and recycled materials and who are concerned about social justice, global poverty and environmental issues.

Evening art series builds excitement for Pérez Art Museum Miami
Pérez Art Museum Miami

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) will celebrate its new waterfront home at Museum Park with free public programming on the first Thursday night of each month to include films and videos, talks and art events, such as commissioned site-specific contemporary performances and participatory events. The programming series, which will feature partnerships with local groups and themes related to ongoing exhibitions, will include work by international and regional artists for presentation in PAMM’s theater space, Knight Plaza and Museum Park. The museum hopes that this programming will engage audiences and activate Miami’s Museum Park at night, creating a space for new ideas and experiences.

Pérez Art Museum Miami exists to improve the quality of life for individual residents of and visitors to Miami-Dade County, as well as social life in the communities they represent, by facilitating catalytic engagements with the most progressive visual arts of our time.

Jazz lovers come together through WDNA encounters

WDNA’s Miami Jazz Encounters will explore the art form through jam sessions, performances and education and cultural exchanges in the intimate WDNA Jazz Gallery. There, middle school and high school musicians will perform alongside seasoned professionals, with performances captured on video for online broadcast. Documentary films and workshops will engage the public in conversations about jazz and world music. The Jazz Gallery will be a space for engaging the community in multicultural and multigenerational jazz experiences year-round.

WDNA 88.9FM Public Radio provides quality music, arts, and cultural programming to the residents of South Florida and beyond, with a commitment to America's classical music — jazz, alternative voices, and the marriage of entertainment with enrichment.

TV series profiles region’s artists, cultural rise

WPBT2/ Community Television Foundation of South Florida

To provide exposure for South Florida artists and to document the region’s growing arts scene, WPBT2 will create a series of program-length profiles of 20 prominent local artists under age 40. With the help of an advisory board, the project will pair local artists working in film and video production with subjects who embody the momentum in Miami’s arts scene and the diversity of its genres. With the series, WPBT2 hopes to begin a long-running series that archives this moment in South Florida’s history and can be shown by other public stations across the country.

WPBT2 is a community-licensed, not-for-profit media enterprise serving communities from the Treasure Coast to the Florida Keys. 

South Florida playwrights present world premieres
Zoetic Stage

As a way to establish South Florida as a major producer of new theater work, Zoetic Stage will commission two world-premiere plays by award-winning South Florida playwrights during the 2013-14 season. The first play is Christopher Demos-Brown’s Fear Up Harsh, a drama about a Medal of Honor winner and Iraq War veteran whose past comes back to haunt him. The second is Michael McKeever’s Clark Gable Slept Here, a dark comedy about how a closeted gay Hollywood star’s career is threatened when a dead male prostitute is found in his hotel room. Both of these plays deal with themes central to the contemporary American experience: How does our society blur the line between myth and reality? What does it mean to be a hero? And what is the price one pays in becoming one?

Zoetic Stage was founded in 2010 to produce contemporary plays and musicals that reflect the South Florida community and resonate universally, with a strong commitment to developing new work to become part of the American stage repertoire

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