MIAMI — The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced today the Knight Arts Partnership, an initiative with a $60 million impact on the arts in South Florida through three endowment grants to leading arts institutions and an inclusive, open-invitation community challenge seeking ideas in the arts and matching funding.
Knight’s $40 million contribution includes three grants totaling $20 million to establish leadership endowments for the Miami Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the New World Symphony.
“These grants add to a growing tradition of philanthropic giving in South Florida,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation. “They follow in the footsteps of the Knight brothers, Ted Arison and the Arison Family Foundation, Adrienne Arsht, Sandy and Dolores Ziff and Pat and Phil Frost (at both FIU and University of Miami). This tradition of private giving includes the many others who have committed hundreds of millions already to the New World Symphony, the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the Miami City Ballet, the Wolfsonian, MOCA and so many other arts organizations.”
Knight is committing an additional $20 million over five years to a community challenge open to any individual or organization with big ideas for arts projects in South Florida. Each Knight dollar committed to these new ideas is to be matched from other funders, resulting in a combined impact of $40 million. The foundation is seeking those ideas at www.KnightArts.org.
“All of us are aware of the enormous growth of arts and arts organizations in Miami,” said Ibargüen. “In a community as diverse as ours, we should always seek ways to explain and to understand each other. Few areas in life offer the kinds of participation and shared experiences the way the arts do. We believe there are many others – other leaders, other organizations, individuals – with big ideas, and the community challenge is incentive for all of them.”
The Knight Arts Partnership adds momentum to a series of critical mass-building developments in the South Florida arts scene:
- The swirl of activity and acclaim around events like Art Basel Miami and its satellite fairs, the Miami International Film Festival and the International Book Fair;
- The explosive growth of arts institutions – from only 100 a quarter-century ago to more than 1,200 now;
- Major private gifts in support of the arts estimated at more than $250 million in little more than a year;
- Changes brought by the arts to South Florida’s physical landscape, with the Arsht Center and its Knight Concert Hall; the commission of major architectural projects like the new Frank Gehry-designed campus expansion for the New World Symphony, the new home for the Miami Art Museum designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron, and the Museum of Contemporary Art’s building expansion by Charles Gwathmey.
The endowment grants
The three endowment grants will establish the Knight School Education Series at the Miami Art Museum, the Knight Exhibition Series at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Knight New Media Endowment at the New World Symphony. The organizations were chosen for their leadership in the South Florida community and the access they provide to art and culture.
The $10 million Knight School Education Series endowment grant to the Miami Art Museum will fund an art education program to broaden access to and participation in the visual arts by welcoming every fifth-grade student in Miami-Dade County to class at the museum each year. Other programs connect the arts to middle- and high school students.
“During this time of rapid growth in Miami’s arts scene, it’s imperative to be inclusive of everyone in our community,” said Terence Riley, director of Miami Art Museum. “Knight Foundation’s recognition of our contribution to community art education and scholarship will create the opportunity for 40,000 Miami-Dade students to experience first-hand the nationally recognized exhibitions and other cultural programs at MAM through the Knight School Education Series.”
The $5 million Knight Exhibition Series endowment for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami will allow MOCA to mount up to three exhibits per year, featuring emerging artists, new public programs and events, school interpretive programs, lectures, film screenings, and the creation of new works.
“The Knight Arts Partnership will greatly help MOCA fulfill its core mission to present the best new and multimedia work by local and international emerging and experimental artists to a diverse audience, making it one of the few contemporary art museums in the nation to have a substantial dedicated source of funding for these types of exhibitions and artists’ projects,” said Bonnie Clearwater, executive director and chief curator of MOCA. “Through exhibitions and educational initiatives, the Knight Exhibition Series will foster a receptive environment where innovation and creativity will thrive.”
The $5 million Knight New Media Endowment for the New World Symphony will advance its use of digital technology, including further implementation of Internet2, which permits performers and audiences to share real-time experiences with other artists around the world. Once completed, the new Gehry-designed home for New World Symphony will be the world’s most technologically advanced classical music performance space.
“Knight Foundation is founded upon principles of communication. Its origins are in print media, and now it recognizes the challenges and opportunities of new media,” said Howard Herring, New World Symphony president. “We are grateful for Knight Foundation support of our cutting-edge work with new media. We look forward to exploiting the capabilities of our new campus as we inform and transform musicians and audiences here in Miami and around the world.”
The community challenge
The community challenge of the Knight Arts Partnership will pair $20 million from Knight Foundation with $20 million in matching funds to come from other sources. It is open to any artistic individual or art institution in South Florida.
Said Ibargüen: “Because we are looking for big, exciting and new ideas, we have made the process as easy and open as possible. There are only three rules: the ideas must be about art, the projects must take place in South Florida, and the idea must find funding to match Knight Foundation’s commitment.”
Organizations and individuals are invited to submit their ideas on the Knight Arts Partnership’s home page at www.KnightArts.org. Ideas will be accepted until April 15, 2008. Winners will be announced in Fall 2008.
About Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 Knight communities. Knight Foundation focuses on ideas and projects that create transformational change.
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.