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

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    The arts champions among us

    Nov. 30, 2015, 6:40 p.m., Posted by Victoria Rogers

    In Sunday's New York Times Elaine Glusac wrote, "The Miami area may once have craved culture, but new institutions, with more on the way, have helped it reach critical mass." For any arts ecosystem to be successful, it needs a plethora of artists and makers, organizations both small and large, performing arts centers, buyers and funders. However perhaps most importantly, it needs champions.

    Tonight, in addition to announcing the 53 winners of the Knight Arts Challenge South Florida, Knight President Alberto Ibargüen honored four champions for their contributions to the arts. They have supported the next generation of makers, broadened our understanding of the world around us through access to independent film, and provided insight into  a diverse array of emerging contemporary visual artists through curated exhibitions and lectures.

    The 2015 Knight Art Champions are Kareem Tabsch and Vivian Marthell, co- founders of O Cinema, Alex Gartenfeld, interim director and chief curator at ICA, and Rosa de la Cruz, gallery owner and philanthropist who created a travel program for young art students at Design and Architecture High School (DASH) and the New World School of the Arts so that they can study art in New York and Europe.

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    Tow Center conference explores changing relationship of social platforms and news publishers

    Nov. 30, 2015, 3:24 p.m., Posted by Claire Wardle

    Claire Wardle is research director for the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School. In January Knight Foundation announced $3 million in new support for Tow to fund research and news experiments that explore the changing relationship of journalism and technology, while helping newsrooms and educators meet the information needs of communities. Photo: Zeynep Tufekci, at Univ. of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

    On Nov. 12, the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School hosted its annual research conference, which this year focused on the prescient topic “Journalism and Silicon Valley.” The daylong conference featured seven panels with issues ranging from funding journalism to the ways in which newsrooms are creating content specifically designed to work on social platforms.

    The conference brought together journalists, academics, technologists and media executives to debate what happens to platforms as they establish themselves as publishers of content that also dictate the business terms for journalism. The day began with a keynote conversation between Tow Center Director Emily Bell and Mark Thompson, CEO of The New York Times Co. Thompson emphasized that publishers such as The New York Times have to experiment with new opportunities while aggressively building their own destinations. A lunchtime talk with Michael Reckhow, product manager of Facebook’s Instant Articles, explored the features the social network is offering journalists.

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    Making downtown come alive with Buskerfest Miami

    Nov. 25, 2015, 10:55 a.m., Posted by Anne Tschida

    Above: Performance under the train tracks in downtown Miami from Funkamole; photo by Justin Trieger.

    Miami now has gleaming high-rises, a downtown with riverfront walkways and restaurants and cafes. But truly metropolitan cities are not defined solely by their edifices and skylines. There is a human element that makes-up a dynamic city, the people that you can see, touch and hear.

    The relatively young city of Miami has had no real communal center, no Central or Grant parks, no subway systems where all walks of life encounter each other on a daily basis. But lately there’s been an increasing desire to congregate, to get to know each other in our rapidly transforming metropolis. Buskerfest Miami is one manifestation of that desire.

    Founded in 2013 by Justin Trieger and Amy San Pedro (the former a musician, the latter a dancer), Buskerfest set out to “enhance Miami’s urban life by producing street performances that activate public parks, transit hubs and community plazas that often go unnoticed,” as they first described this project. In 2014, Buskerfest was awarded a Knight Arts Challenge grant to further this aim.

    It started off with a one-day festival of  28 groups performing around Miami’s Inner Loop Metromover stations. After the Knight grant, Buskerfest Miami expanded to include activities during DWNTWN Art Days, and a new series called Ear to the Ground, where performers pop up in various communities, with dates and times announced via social media.

    Buskerfest Miami is set this year for Dec. 11, and this time a whopping 45 groups will participate, in spots beyond just the transit stops in downtown.

    Not only is the fest supposed to excite and enliven the urban streets of Miami, according to Trieger and San Pedro, but it also has a mission to give local performers exposure, “to let different arts organizations get their message out,” said Trieger.

    Funky_Serve_Bots Crew’s street dance performance; photo by Julisa Fuste.

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