Knight Blog

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

Seraphic Fire and collaborations: Breathing new life into old tradition

Dec. 19, 2014, 9:19 a.m., Posted by Rhett Del Campo

The Sebastians and Seraphic Fire perform Vivaldi: Gloria” at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. Photo courtesy Seraphic Fire. 

 Rhett Del Campo is managing director of Seraphic Fire, which Knight Foundation supports.

During the first week of December, a time that marks the start of endless Nutcrackers and Messiahs (rinse, repeat), I had the privilege of learning from both Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, and Albert Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation.  Although their appearances took place at different events, their messages – which emphasized collaboration – seemed purposely coordinated, and later, I found myself reflecting on a period of collaboration with my sister.

Trip to Detroit inspires Akron innovators

Dec. 18, 2014, 12:33 p.m., Posted by Susan Ruiz Patton


Akron, Ohio (left) and Detroit. Photos by Flickr users Ian Freimuth and Paul Bica.

The musician, business owner, student and lawyer had more in common than they thought. Not only were they leaders in their own circles, but also they shared a passion for their city: Akron, Ohio.

And after spending 30 hours together in Detroit on a recent Akron2Detroit trip, the young leaders have stepped up to advance the city they love, each other and themselves.

One man was inspired to organize a tour of his Akron neighborhood with the hope of attracting new businesses there. A business owner was inspired to create a map of downtown businesses. Another was inspired to help other entrepreneurs get started.

IgKnight Philadelphia connects and inspires grantees

Dec. 18, 2014, 11:46 a.m., Posted by Gregory Walker


2014 Philadelphia Grantee Gathering at The Free Library of Philadelphia.

Gregory Walker is managing and creative director of The Brothers Network, a 2012 Knight Arts Challenge winner.

In the vein of storytelling that springs from the tradition of the newspapers operated by the Knight brothers, David Clayton of Ignite Philly introduced amazing IgKnight talks that spanned the history and culture of jazz, high-tech mapping and the importance of engaging broad and diverse communities at their doorsteps. These stories, carefully crafted and curated, kept the flames ignited by Jamie’s opening talk burning brightly. Last month Siobhan Reardon, president and director of the Free Library of Philadelphia, welcomed Knight grantees to her institution for IgKnight Philadelphia. The second annual gathering opened with one of the most compelling yet harrowing stories most of us had ever heard. The executive director of First Person Arts, Jamie Brunson, shared a personal story of loss, fear, shame, reconciliation and affirmation. At 10 in the morning, each of us sat erect in our seats, hanging on her every word. Words turned into sentences, sentences turned into stories, and stories turned into the human experience. Jamie’s first-person account of humility and humanity got our morning off to a great start and placed First Person Arts front and center. Jamie presented herself as a brilliant model for exactly what First Person Arts does so well as a Knight grantee.