43 Ideas for the Philadelphia arts receive more than $2 million in funding

Knight Arts Challenge winners foster artistic collaborations,  support next generation of creative thinkers and weave arts into neighborhoods

PHILADELPHIA– (April 29, 2013) – Emerging from a field of 1,200 applicants, 43 projects received more than $2 million today as winners of the 2013 Knight Arts Challenge.

A program of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the challenge funds the best ideas for engaging and enriching Philadelphia through the arts.

Ranging from individual artists to collectives, public spaces and some of the city’s most prominent cultural groups, the 2013 challenge winners will:

  • Explore cross-discipline mash-ups – with DJ’s and restaurants inspiring visual artists and technologists, and singers using a Beaux Art Rotunda as a musical instrument;

  • Make art more participatory – with the audience becoming a part of an enormous battle during Shakespeare’s Henry IV, and amateur musicians performing alongside a local orchestra;

  • Develop the next generation of creative thinkers – with a student monologue series, training for young dancers who want to become instructors, and after school music composition classes;

  • Weave art into neighborhoods – with pop-up dance performances, artistic bike racks across the city, and musical performances in the heart of the city’s Latino neighborhoods.

The full list of winners and their project ideas is included below, with additional information available at KnightArts.org.

“At some point in the day, we’d love for all Philadelphians to have an encounter with art – to experience a moment of inspiration that brings people together and helps strengthen a sense of community,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation’s vice president/Arts. “This year’s Knight Arts Challenge winners will help do that by weaving the arts into neighborhoods and people’s everyday lives.”

The Knight Arts Challenge asked one simple question: What’s your best idea for the arts?  There are only three rules for applying:  1) The idea must be about the arts; 2) The project must take place in or benefit Philadelphia; and 3) The grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment, within a year.

The announcement marks the final year of the three-year initiative, which has funded 114 projects. Knight Foundation, which has invested more than $100 million in the city’s vitality since 1970, will continue to support the city’s vibrant arts scene through its year-round, community grant making program. More arts investments will be announced in the fall.

“My hat is off to our cultural community. In just three years, the challenge has generated more than 4,000 ideas, including some mind-blowing projects we never would have dreamed of ourselves. We’ve been introduced to a wealth of creative minds and organizations. Now, we’re going to dig deeper to see how we can take more initiatives to the next level in Philadelphia. Stay tuned,” said Donna Frisby-Greenwood, Philadelphia program director for Knight Foundation.

For more on Knight Foundation’s arts initiative and to view a full list of Knight Arts Challenge winners, visit www.KnightArts.org. Connect on the Knight Arts Challenge Facebook page here and via @KnightArts on Twitter.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

Knight Arts Challenge Philadelphia 2013 Winners

For more detailed project descriptions, visit knightarts.org.

Ars Nova Workshop
Award: $50,000
To honor Philadelphia’s rich jazz legacy by producing a month-long festival in venues across the city during Jazz History Month

Art Sphere
Award: $20,000
To enrich Philadelphia’s youth by providing free access to arts education resources and hands-on instruction to organizations with limited resources.

Artists U
Award: $14,000
To increase professional development opportunities for local performance artists by expanding a pilot project that allows artists to seek targeted advice and counsel

Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia
Award: $100,000
To strengthen the next generation by establishing an institute where emerging arts leaders can gain a deeper understanding of management and leadership

Award: $25,000
To further the careers of young dancers by both teaching them the art of dance instruction and having them instruct in local schools

Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
Award: $50,000
To create more public art and enliven city streets by hosting a competition for artists to design new bike racks

Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra
Award: $50,000
To deepen amateur musicians’ engagement with classical music by offering adults opportunities to perform alongside the orchestra’s professionals

BlackStar Film Festival
Award: $50,000
To support global black cinema through a film festival that will also feature a short screenplay contest

Breadboard at the University City Science Center
Award: $100,000
To bring the city’s art and tech communities together through a new alliance and facility that will provide hands-on programming, plus a civic prototyping lab addressing community issues

Award: $13,000
To promote collaboration in the visual arts by enabling more than 20 collectives to produce a multivenue, one-month exhibit

Pennsylvania Girlchoir, member-choir of Commonwealth Youthchoirs
Award: $15,000
To empower girls through music by launching a large-scale choral event for seventh- to 12th-grade girls, featuring female conductors and composers

Dance/USA Philadelphia
Award: $20,000
To raise the visibility of live dance by creating a pop-up studio in a highly visible public space where passers-by can witness the usually private rehearsal process

David Guinn
Award: $9,000
To engage Philadelphians with art by bringing artist-created temporary outdoor wall-painting installations to Center City

Dolce Suono Ensemble
Award: $25,000
To bring more music to Philadelphia's Latino communities by working with organizations to develop a new outreach initiative bridging classical and Latin music

Drexel ExCITe Center
Award: $75,000
To engage and develop new audiences for music with a series of live concerts enhanced with audio-driven media technologies

Ernest Stuart
Award: $15,000
To increase audiences for jazz by expanding the Center City Jazz Festival to include additional events and venues

Award: $50,000
To ignite imaginations around the future of environmental conservation by creating a large and visually stunning art installation along the Delaware River complete with solar panels, gardens and more

Award: $50,000
To bring bold, highly theatrical performances by dancer/choreographers Eiko & Koma to two unique public outdoor spaces, the Reading Viaduct and PAFA’s Lenfest Plaza

Kùlú Mèlé  African Dance & Drum Ensemble
Award: $20,000
To invite audiences to participate in master classes, rehearse and perform a new work blending traditional African dance with hip-hop, funk and soul

Lee Ann Etzold
Award: $25,000
To foster a greater sense of community between two geographically close but culturally diverse neighborhoods by producing a theatrical performance written and performed by its residents

Opera Philadelphia
Award: $100,000
To offer a more immersive opera experience by launching a series of 50-minute operas, the first of which, about a Serbian wedding, will be followed by an authentic Balkan wedding feast

Pasion y Arte Flamenco
Award: $35,000
To celebrate the contributions of Flamenco dance by producing a two-week festival including an educational symposium and performances by groundbreaking Flamenco artists

Philadelphia Film Society
Award: $150,000
To provide students and local filmmakers the opportunity to share their cinematic work on the big screen by holding monthly community screenings at the Theater at the Roxy

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s Performing Arts Office
Award: $5,000
To offer after-school art programming for children by placing art teachers in each of the eight city districts to give instruction in singing, acting and dancing

Philadelphia Photo Arts Center
Award: $100,000
To cultivate new audiences for contemporary photography by organizing innovative exhibitions featuring digitally printed photographic murals, nontraditional approaches to portraiture and auxiliary programming

Philadelphia Theatre Company
Award: $100,000
To engage Philadelphia in a dialogue about young people being shuttled from school into the criminal justice system by supporting a two-year residency of actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith.

Philadelphia Young Playwrights
Award: $20,000
To help students gain a deeper understanding of how to leverage theater for social change by expanding a festival, in collaboration with InterAct Theatre Company, featuring professional productions of high school students’ monologues.

Pig Iron Theatre Company, with Dr. Dog
Award: $60,000
To merge two indie-arts genres by translating the music of rock band Dr. Dog into a theatrical spectacle.

Play On, Philly!
Award: $150,000
To cultivate students’ music skills by coordinating a multifaceted creative initiative that will teach music production and technology, composition, jazz and more.

Reading Terminal Market
Award: $60,000
To weave the arts into people’s everyday lives by curating a formalized performing arts series at Reading Terminal Market

Shakespeare in Clark Park
Award: $35,000
To engage audiences in new ways with an interactive event around Shakespeare's Henry IV, enabling attendees to participate in a battle scene

South Street Headhouse District
Award: $15,000
To bring cultural vibrancy to the South Street neighborhood by organizing a series of pop-up and street events featuring music, theater and visual arts

Sruti, The India Music and Dance Society
Award: $15,000
To celebrate Indian music and introduce it to a young and urban audience by offering a concert series with rotating ensembles of professional musicians

Stacey Wilson
Award: $20,000
To explore the connection between music and art by offering an aural experience for patrons that pairs individual works of visual art with a unique music mix

Swim Pony Performing Arts
Award: $40,000
To push the boundaries for audiences by curating a series of cross-disciplinary events that feature unexpected collaborations

Taller Puertorriqueño
Award: $60,000
To engage more audiences in the city’s Latino arts scene by organizing gallery exhibits, including mixed-media installations and music performances

The Philly Pigeon
Award: $13,000
To bring poetry to a wider audience and support the development of more performance poets by expanding The Pigeon Presents: The Philadelphia Poetry Slam.

The Rotunda
Award: $7,000
To challenge musicians to turn a 100-year-old Beaux Arts sanctuary into a musical instrument using their voices and other sound experiments

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
Award: $20,000
To address the city’s environmental issues by hosting artists who will collaborate with scientists to create public environmental artworks and educational programs

The Village of Arts and Humanities
Award: $150,000
To offer a home to emerging and mid-career artists seeking an urban environment by creating a year-long artist residency program

Theresa Rose
Award: $25,000
To create connections between neighborhood restaurateurs and artists by commissioning dinners featuring art projects from across neighborhoods

Tyler School of Art, Temple University
Award: $8,000
To celebrate one of the community’s most beloved African-American artists, Charles Searles, by inviting art students from three universities to collaborate on paired exhibitions and events inspired by the artist’s legacy

Award: $50,000
To share the talents of established and emerging musicians with the community by recording, then broadcasting, individual and ensemble performances from a state-of-the-art studio


Media Contacts:

Canary Promotion, Philadelphia Knight Foundation Representative, (215) 690-4065, Megan Wendell, megan@canarypromo.com

Andrew Sherry, Vice President/Communications, Knight Foundation (305) 908-2677, media@knightfoundation.org

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.