Acres of Diamonds: New Documentary on Detroit’s Grassroots Artists fueled by the Knight Arts Challenge Premieres

Press Release

March 30, 2015


Detroit Public Television to Air Documentary at 7:30 p.m. April 7

DETROIT (March 30, 2015) From storytellers on stage to bluegrass jam sessions and a Hip Hop Mardi Gras parade, Detroit’s grassroots arts scene is part of the creative momentum driving the future of Detroit. A new documentary airing at 7:30 p.m. April 7 on WTVS Detroit Public Television (DPTV) explores the impact of these artists and the Knight Arts Challenge, which is fueling many of their ideas.

Related Link

"New documentary features Detroit’s Knight Arts Challenge winners" - on Knight Blog, 3/30/2015

“Acres of Diamonds: The Story of the Knight Arts Challenge in Detroit” airs as a special edition of DPTV’s weekly series Detroit Performs and follows the projects of local artists after they receive challenge funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to make their ideas to reality. They include Haleem Rasul, who is intent on reviving Detroit’s 70s dance craze The Jit; Complex Movements, a collaborative that meshes art and technology for an immersive experience; LO & BEHOLD! Records and Books, an independent store that hosts live music events; Mt. Elliott Makerspace, which joined with two other local groups for the Hip Hop Mardi Gras Parade; and the Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers, which produces lives events of Detroiters’ true stories.

The society and the other groups featured are some of the 114 winners sharing $5 million in support from the challenge, a Knight Foundation contest that funds the best ideas for engaging and enriching Detroit through the arts. The challenge is open through April 13, accepting submissions at

“Detroit is a city being driven by culture,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president of arts for Knight Foundation, which produced the film. “You can see and feel that in the works of the artists profiled in this film, each of whom is building on Detroit’s cultural legacy to push the boundaries of art and engage the community.”

The title of the film comes from one of the storytellers, who describes his hometown this way: “It is acres of diamonds. It is about to be reborn.”

”Detroit Public Television is committed to promoting our local artists and their contributions to our great city’s cultural assets,” said DPTV President/CEO, Rich Homberg. “As one of DPTV’s long-time partners, we commend Knight Foundation for providing emerging artists with the resources and opportunities to launch their careers, and encourage everyone to watch Acres of Diamonds and follow the successes of these artists as they shape our creative landscape.”

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. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit


Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, [email protected]

Peter VanDyke, Berg Muirhead, 313-872-2202, [email protected]