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

  • Arts

    Cool Jobs helps kids find creative careers to love for life

    Feb. 10, 2016, 9:54 a.m., Posted by Dana DiFilippo

    Photo: Fresh Artist's Design Camp pairs Fresh Artist kids with professional designers around developing repeat patterns and product development. Co-Founder Roger Allen works on  a project with students. Credit: Brian Lauer 

    Board member Jason Janes of Untuck works with young Alpha B. On a project. 

    A stereotype spawned Barbara Chandler Allen’s first brilliant idea to convince creative kids that art could be their future.

    “When I was a stay-at-home mom a million and a half years ago, someone told me: ‘Oh, your boys are so creative, but artists starve! They better find a career where they can be more successful!’” said Allen, who turned that stereotype on its head by organizing an "Artists at Work" showcase at her sons' elementary school of successful career artists.

    Another stereotype – this one backed by a sad statistic - drove Allen to decide that her program was overdue for expanding to older students.

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  • Communities

    How the Macon Arts Alliance is leading through community transformation

    Feb. 10, 2016, 9 a.m., Posted by Colleen Powers

    Macon Arts Alliance Gallery. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Fritz.

    This article is cross posted from Creative Exchange, the blog of Springboard for the Arts. It is part of a series of features on the members of the Leading Organizations pilot program, featuring organizations across the country working with artists in new and innovative ways. Learn more about all the organizations here.

    Macon, Ga. is a city poised to transform. Sitting right in the middle of the state, Macon has been a transportation hub since before the Civil War. The town now boasts dozens of homes and neighborhoods on the National Register of Historic Places — the phrase “good bones” comes up frequently in writing about the city’s physical assets — but though it once was a prosperous center of the textile industry, it has suffered from urban decay for several decades.

    “Macon has sort of the same issues as any post-industrial city of our size in America — issues of blight, issues of disinvestment in the neighborhoods that surround the urban core,” says Jonathan Harwell-Dye.

    Harwell-Dye is director of creative placemaking at the Macon Arts Alliance, whose mission is to support and promote the arts and culture industry of Central Georgia. The Alliance was named the designated arts agency of the newly consolidated Macon-Bibb County in 2014, but the organization been around since 1984. It serves more than 60 arts organizations, plus the fine arts programs of five universities in the area.

    “We’ve always been viewed as the unified voice of the arts community,” says Harwell-Dye. Despite that long-time role, the past few years have seen the Arts Alliance re-examining what its purpose should be. It used to re-grant state and local government funds to artists and organizations, says Harwell-Dye, but “all of the funding dried up about six years ago.” The loss has left the Alliance looking for new ways to serve the region.

    Macon Arts Alliance Mill Hill. Photo by Jonathan Harwell-Dye.

    One way it’s adapting is by exploring how the Arts Alliance can support revitalization and growth in the community, and seek out partnerships to help drive economic development.

    “We were a manufacturing area for many years, and manufacturing is gone,” Harwell-Dye explains. “There’s a big push to be a logistics area, but we also have this really strong arts community. We’ve got 60 arts organizations that are part of our Arts Roundtable in a community of 155,000. We think that’s a really strong base to build on.”

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  • How a Knight internship put a recent college grad’s broad experience to work

    Feb. 9, 2016, 11:46 a.m., Posted by Rosemary D'Amour

    Knight Foundation’s summer internship program offers college students and recent college graduates a chance to help foster informed and engaged communities through our work in the arts, journalism and media innovation, and cities. Applications are now open for the paid, 10-week summer program.

    Below, Lucas Hernandez, special assistant to Knight President Alberto Ibargüen, talks about his work as an intern with the Learning and Impact team in summer 2014. Following his internship, he was hired as an associate on the Media Innovation team. He moved to his current role in June 2015. 

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