Knight Arts Challenge


The application period for the 2018 challenge has closed. Winners will be announced in October.

What is your best idea for the arts?

The Knight Arts Challenge funds the best ideas for engaging and enriching communities through the arts. In 2018, we’re giving away a total of $3 million to ideas in Detroit.

Who should apply?

Anyone can enter the Knight Arts Challenge, whether you’re a nonprofit, a business or an individual artist. There are just three rules:

  • The idea is about the arts.
  • The project takes place in or benefits Detroit.
  • You find other funding to match Knight Foundation’s grant.

All it takes is a 150-word application to apply. Submissions are being accepted now – 11:59 p.m. EST May 19.

Why the Knight Arts Challenge?

At Knight Foundation, we believe the arts not only inspire, they connect us to our neighbors and where we live. In short, they build community.

Our goal is to make art general in communities, so that high-quality cultural experiences can be seen, heard and felt everywhere.

The challenge is part of a two-pronged strategy: Knight funds large arts institutions that provide programming every day, to help them better engage audiences, and it supports new ideas through the Knight Arts Challenge so that everyone has a shot at making their ideas a reality. 

How will Knight Foundation evaluate applications this year?

One thing you’ll notice about our Knight Arts Challenge winners is all have art at the core of their project and reflect a high level of artistic excellence.

Beyond that, we look for ideas that are authentic reflections of the voices and values of the many communities in our cities.

And this year, we also are looking for projects that use technology — either as a tool for an artist’s work, as a way to attract and engage audiences, or to make art more accessible. 

Submissions are evaluated with the assistance of a panel of local arts experts, former grantees, funders, and other stakeholders. 

We want to be surprised by the ideas we receive, and try not to prescribe what might be a good fit for the challenge. But below are some examples of past Knight Arts Challenge winners whose work authentically represents their city. 

Congratulations to the 2017 Knight Arts Challenge winning ideas in Detroit.

Hear from previous winners

Watch the videos below to learn about the experiences of former Knight Arts Challenge winners in Detroit, Shannon Cason, Opera Modo and American Riad.

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