Knight Blog

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

150 performers celebrate 1,000+ Random Acts of Culture in Detroit

Aug. 13, 2012, 2:10 p.m., Posted by Valerie Nahmad Schimel

Knight Foundation is celebrating its 1,000+ Random Acts of Culture™ with four big, blow-out performances in San Jose, Detroit, Miami and Philadelphia. The fun kicked off Sunday, Aug. 5 with a 250-person surprise performance in San Jose and continued Friday, Aug. 10 with a 150-person performance of “Ode to Joy” at Compuware World Headquarters. Child and adult choristers, musicians and dancers staged an unforgettable surprise performance – enjoy the video above.

Looking for more Random Acts of Culture™ fun? Read an interview with Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation’s VP/Arts, about the program, see a TV interview about it with the Symphony Silicon Valley,  relive our past performances through video highlights and see a master list of our 1,000+ Random Acts of Culture™.

Student-led News21 publishes comprehensive voting rights analysis

Aug. 13, 2012, noon, Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller


Jason Randall, 26, places his mail-in ballot in a drop box outside the Lane County Elections Office in Eugene, Ore. Photo Credit: Michael Ciaglo/News21

A national, student-led investigative reporting project launched this week with an in depth look at voting rights across the country. Among its major findings: in-person voter impersonation on Election Day - which in part drove state legislatures to enact tougher, controversial voter I.D. laws - is virtually non-existent.

Who Can Vote?” is the 2012 project of News21, a program designed to produce in-depth, innovative and interactive investigative journalism on issues of national importance. The site, which went live over the weekend, includes more than 20 reports, interactive databases, data visualizations and more. The program is headquartered at  the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Two dozen students from 11 universities conducted the research, reporting and writing under the direction of journalism professionals, which included investigating all reported cases of election fraud in the U.S. since 2000.

Major media partners have already started to publish parts of their research. The Washington Post highlighted the findings Sunday in an article, “Election Day impersonation, an impetus for voter ID laws, a rarity, data show.” The article cites the research methods:

“The News21 report is based on a national public-records search in which reporters sent thousands of requests to elections officers in all 50 states, asking for every case of alleged fraudulent activity — including registration fraud; absentee-ballot fraud; vote buying; false election counts; campaign fraud; the casting of ballots by ineligible voters, such as felons and non-citizens; double voting; and voter impersonation.”

Multimedia app celebrates the life of famed choreographer Merce Cunningham

Aug. 10, 2012, 9:09 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller


new interactive app, available now in iTunes, celebrates the life of renowned choreographer, dancer and artist Merce Cunningham (1919-2009).

The app, designed to make Cunningham’s work accessible to more people, was released today by the Aperture Foundation. It is a new iteration of the 1997 book “Merce Cunningham: Fifty Years,” authored by the Cunningham Dance Company’s archivist David Vaughan.

The book chronicled Cunningham’s work through words, photographs, designs for sets and costumes, musical scores and choreographic notes. The app, which makes the text available digitally for the first time, is also updated to include the final years of Cunningham’s life and features new multimedia content like video excerpts and interviews.

Merce Cunningham: 65 Years, supported by Knight Foundation and developed in collaboration with the Cunningham Dance Foundation, also includes a selection of Cunningham’s drawings, journal pages as well as all of his known essays. Its release was covered in the New York Times article “Even in Death a Choreographer is Mixing Art and Technology”:

Throughout his life Merce Cunningham came up with new ways to blend art and technology. He changed the way we think about space and time onstage, he explored dance on film before just about anyone else, and long before James Cameron and Hollywood made motion-capture cool, he was using three-dimensional computer animation to choreograph. Now, three years after his death in 2009, Cunningham is again at the vanguard. On Friday the Aperture Foundation is to introduce its first interactive application for the iPad, “Merce Cunningham: 65 Years.”

Cunningham’s own experience with technology was a driving force behind the app’s development   and is chronicled in it. In 1989, As part of his choreographic process, Cunningham began to use a computer program designed specifically for him called LifeForms. His 1991 piece “Trackers” (a title inspired by the “tracking” function on the computer) was his first work made using the technology.

About the apps' release, Knight Foundation President and CEO Alberto Ibargüen said, “Merce Cunningham’s career cannot be captured by words alone, no matter how eloquent. Knight Foundation was delighted to have the opportunity to support a multimedia publication that will allow so many more people to engage with his work.”