Knight Blog

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

Knight Arts Challenge South Florida opens for entries

Jan. 26, 2015, 9 a.m., Posted by Fernando González

Photo courtesy of The Screening Room.

More than 8,900 ideas. 241 projects. $25 million. All since 2008.

The numbers of the Knight Arts Challenge in South Florida, which opens for entries today, provide an overview of the program — but they don’t tell the full story.

Knight Arts Challenge South Florida - Apply Now

There has been support for pop-up artists’ bookstores, preserving Haitian rara music, developing the local film community, bringing the Everglades into the city with billboards, and bringing kids to jazz. The winning projects from seven annual challenges offer a richly detailed snapshot of a dynamic, multicultural community.

“What is very important to us is that we don’t tell the community what we are seeking; we ask the community what they are interested in,” says Dennis Scholl, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation. “That’s the beauty of the contest.”

It is a simple process. The challenge, which closes Feb. 23, has only three rules: The idea must be about the arts; the project must take place in or benefit South Florida; and the grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.

Lil’ Buck and the art of jookin’

Jan. 23, 2015, 4:25 p.m., Posted by Fernando González

Lil' Buck performs during the YoungArts Salon. Photo by World Red Eye. 

The question to dancer and choreographer Charles “Lil’ Buck” Riley laid out what many in the room had been wondering: “How do you do this? Are you Superman?”

 “I’m really glad you asked. The cat’s out of the box,” Riley deadpanned, without missing a beat. “I came here from Saturn …”

The audience at the sixth National YoungArts Foundation Salon exploded in laughter. The Tuesday night conversation, one of a series sponsored by Knight Foundation, provided a short introduction to Riley’s graceful and athletic style. But for anyone familiar with his astonishing mix of classical dance and jookin’, a style of hip-hop dancing developed in Memphis, Tenn., the question, and the answer, sound perfectly logical and possible.

In full flight, Riley, 26, glides across stages with a liquid ease. He mixes fluid movements with sharp angular breaks, and arms evoking classic ballet swan gestures. He constructs narratives mixing freestyle steps and en pointe work in high-top sneakers, often bending and twisting his ankles in impossible angles. At pauses, his body seems to vibrate to the music like a plucked string.


Knight staff helps expand community garden in Miami service project

Jan. 23, 2015, 9:18 a.m., Posted by Lauren Rothstein

Knight Foundation staff and their friends and family members joined some Liberty City residents to work on a garden project Jan. 16.

Sixty Knight Foundation employees, friends and family members recently joined Miami community residents and the nonprofit Health in the Hood to dedicate a day to gardening and observe the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

The Jan. 16 project took place in the Liberty City neighborhood, where the group built new vegetable beds, planted seeds and seedlings, and harvested vegetables, including broccoli, collard greens, cherry tomatoes, okra and edamame. 

The neighborhood kids brought their interest and enthusiasm. While the adults placed cinderblocks and moved sod, the younger gardeners built trellises for the cherry tomatoes and helped move topsoil.