Knight Blog

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

Ideas and creativity of three innovators make Charlotte, N.C., a more livable city

Sept. 18, 2014, 11 a.m., Posted by Susan Patterson

Deborah Triplett hangs her own yard art, a "clothesline" tribute to her mother and grandmother, entitled "You Don't Know What You've Got Till It's Gone.” Photo courtesy Deborah Triplett. 

Charlotte is a wonderful place to live, thanks to many things and many people. I’m putting the spotlight here on three women whose ideas are making our community even better.

First, meet Deborah Triplett. She’s a fine photographer, an advocate for and volunteer with The Light Factory, and most importantly, she’s the creator of Yard Art Day.

Every Labor Day, Deborah invites Charlotte residents to share their creativity in this community-wide art installation. It’s free. There are no judges. There is, however, a map. First, participants plan and create their art and then add the information to the Yard Art Map on Facebook.

It’s fun to participate, but it’s even more fun to take the map and drive around town and see others’ art. This year, one creative team created a “car-digan” – a car covered with their knitting.

What I especially like about Yard Art Day is the organic nature in which it develops. Deborah launched this idea in 2012, which coincided with the Democratic National Convention being held in the city. She wanted our visitors to see creativity outside of Uptown.

Bianca St. Louis, CODE2040: 'I envision libraries as a creative space and entrepreneurial hub'

Sept. 18, 2014, 10:30 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Knight News Challenge: Libraries offers applicants a chance to share in $2.5 million by focusing on the question “How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?”

Above, Bianca St. Louis, program coordinator for the nonprofit CODE 2040, a previous Knight News Challenge winner, discusses the role libraries can play in the digital age, the gaps in news and information they can help fill and how they can be hubs of creation and community support that connect diverse groups.

To submit an entry or provide feedback on other submissions, visit You can join us for virtual office hours from 1 to 2 p.m. ET Sept. 23. Participants can access the meeting online ( using ID 731675489), or participate via phone at 1-888-240-2560. Knight News Challenge: Libraries closes at 5 p.m. ET on Sept. 30. Winners will be announced in January.

‘Knight Cities’: Plain talk with economist Joe Cortright on the success of cities

Sept. 17, 2014, noon, Posted by Carol Coletta

Economist Joe Cortright has been a trusted guide for urban leaders for many years.

For more than a decade, he has dissected the movement of young talent through America’s big cities. He calcuated the Talent Dividend and the Green Dividend for cities. He developed a way to measure changes in vibrancy associated with creative placemaking and unpacked what’s really happening in the poorest neighborhoods. He is one of the world’s experts on clusters and effectively presses the case on the value of difference to cities. This week, he strongly challenged a New York Times Magazine piece on Portland that claims the city suffers from too much talent.