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

  • Arts

    Edwidge Danticat in conversation: Carrying on a family tradition of storytelling

    May 28, 2015, 2:06 p.m., Posted by Fernando Gonzalez

    It took minutes for Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat and the evening’s moderator Carla Hill to turn the final session in the YoungArts Salon Series Tuesday into a living room conversation. As she thanked Hill, “my friend and talk show hostess-in-training,” Danticat began to reminisce about a party at Hill’s house shortly after moving to Miami — only to have Hill break in to tell the story of how someone offered to introduce her to the writer and her surprise when she realized that the unassuming Danticat was just hanging out in her kitchen. “She’s standing by my dishwasher!” playacted Hill recalling the scene.

    The easy tone contributed to a wide-ranging discussion that included warm and funny family recollections but also a sobering discussion of the history of incidents involving black men and police; an anecdote of Danticat being a fan of Toni Morrison, advice for young writers, and her thoughts on powerful women, multidisciplinary work, language and the impact of motherhood in her writing.

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    Engaged Communities

    Global Impact Competition Miami taps two winners to address challenge of sea level rise

    May 28, 2015, 1:52 p.m., Posted by Regina Njima

    Regina Njima is manager of the Global Impact Competitions and admissions for the Graduate Studies Program at Singularity University.

    Photo above by Michael Bolden.

    Sea level rise is an urgent problem facing South Florida, and we were proud to host the first Global Impact Competition-Miami seeking innovative solutions. Like our partners at Knight Foundation, who funded this initiative, we’re eager to move forward with next steps and help support good ideas.

    The competition attracted applicants from across the United States. A panel of judges reviewed the ideas and eight finalists presented at the pitch event in Miami on May 18. Congratulations to all of them for their work, but we could select only two winners: Ana Benatuil and Carlos Tamayo will receive the prize to attend the 10-week Singularity University Graduate Studies Program at NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley from June 13 to Aug. 23, 2015.

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  • Arts

    Creating artist-citzens with ArtistYear

    May 28, 2015, 1:32 p.m., Posted by Alexandra von der Embse

    Alexandra von der Embse.

    Knight Foundation just announced new funding for the Curtis ArtistYear Fellowship Program, which will allow the arts-based service corps founded by the Curtis Institute of Music to expand. Below, one of the program’s first fellows, Curtis graduate, and oboe player Alexandra von der Embse reflects on her year teaching music composition at Philadelphia’s Taggart Elementary School.

    I have always considered myself “socially minded,” and that means trying to improve the world in which I exist. In high school this meant political activism and involvement in organizations I cared about. I spent two years volunteering at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and once flew to Washington, DC to attend a protest for women’s rights. I couldn’t miss youth orchestra rehearsal on Saturday or school on Monday, so I flew there and back on the same day. As I found myself delving deeper into my music career, the part of my life engaged with causes I cared about seemed as if it belonged to another world. I continued to read and think, but I found myself doing less and less.

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