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

  • Communities

    Documenting everything is way of life for Chicago civic tech group

    Aug. 31, 2015, 1:36 p.m., Posted by Steve Outing

    Livestreaming the ADA 25 Chicago launch. The Chicago Community Trust is lead supporter of the event. Photo by Daniel X. O'Neil.

    This post is one in a series on what four community and place-based foundations are learning by funding media projects that help to meet their local information needs. All are funded through the Knight Community Information Challenge.

    We live in a world of information overload. Conventional wisdom suggests that we're all so overwhelmed by the super-fast growth of information and data that providers of content must make everything short and succinct.

    But in Chicago, a contrarian view is taking shape. For the Smart Chicago Collaborative, which uses and promotes technology to inform people and improve lives, every civic program and event that the organization manages or is involved in is documented comprehensively, in fine detail.

    Any project or event that Smart Chicago is involved with (or runs solely) may be:

    ●       Recorded on video or audio, and/or livestreamed;

    Read full article ›

  • Arts

    Akron, here’s what we’re looking for in the first Knight Arts Challenge

    Aug. 31, 2015, 1:27 p.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

    Arts Program Director Bahia Ramos responds to questions in Akron.

    Akron, you have two more weeks to craft that submission for the Knight Arts Challenge, which is offering $1 million a year through 2017 for the best ideas for the arts.  The initial application is just 150 words. You’ve got this, right?

    To help, Arts Program Director Bahia Ramos spent three nights last week meeting with artists and creatives from around the city to answer questions, including why Knight launched this effort. The challenge’s goal, Ramos said: To fund ideas and experiments that not only inspire the people who live in Akron, but to bring people together in a way that strengthens and builds community.

    In doing so, Knight wants to add more momentum to the artistic activity in Akron, Ramos said.

    “We are not here by accident. The creative energy is bubbling up from the grassroots and institutions alike,” Ramos said. “With the challenge, we want to give a bigger voice to the energy we feel is happening here.”

    Here are some of the tips and insights on crafting applications that Ramos offered during the community Q&A sessions:

    Consider the 3 C’s of your application: Be clear, concise and compelling: You only have 150 words to fill out the initial application at Make them count. “What we care about is your idea, your passion for the arts, who you are and why you feel this is a unique opportunity for the community,” Ramos said.

    Read full article ›

  • Arts

    'MelanchoLalaland': Knight Arts Challenge winner pioneers high-tech opera-making

    Aug. 31, 2015, 10:45 a.m., Posted by Neil de la Flor

    “MelanchoLalaland”—an opera conceived by composer and Florida Atlantic University professor Joey Bargsten—opens Sept. 13 at the Miami Beach Cinematheque. The transmedia work, which won a Knight Arts Challenge South Florida grant, presents a not-so-distant, dystopian future in which a drug giant called Melancuria Inc. peddles happiness. It’s a future where drive-through pleasure pods can simply pop up, providing users a reprieve from existential angst and anxiety.

    Combining traditional opera with animation, videography and electronic music, Bargsten is charting a risky new course for opera-making. It was at the 2015 FilmGate Interactive Festival that I first encountered a work-in-progress version of “MelanchoLalaland,” and at the time, it felt oversaturated with ideas and gimmicky. Even though what was presented was only Act I, it lacked the coherent narrative arc that a fleshed-out opera can communicate.

    However, Bargsten says he and collaborator (and wife) Thea Zimmer have spent the last seven months perfecting and refining “MelanchoLalaland” for its upcoming, full-length premiere.    


    Read full article ›