Finalists Announced in Third Year of Knight Arts Challenge

Press Release

May 6, 2010


Contest Part of $20 Million Cultural Initiative to Spur Community Engagement

MIAMI – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced the finalists in the third round of an annual contest that aims to bring together South Florida’s diverse community through the arts.

The 41 finalists of the Knight Arts Challenge – which include festival organizers, a recording studio, theater groups, museums and municipalities – were picked from a wide-ranging field of applicants with a broad spectrum of ideas. Descriptions of the finalists’ projects are available below and at Next fall, Knight Foundation will announce the winners of the matching arts grants.

“Our applications this year show a depth of quality and creativity that was no doubt inspired by the winning projects of the first two years of the challenge,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight’s Miami program director and vice president/arts. “The momentum this contest has created for the arts will continue to nurture our diverse cultural community and enrich the lives of South Floridians.”

Their finalists’ projects include:

  • Taking Miami-Dade students from every grade on an arts field trip to experience South Florida’s cultural richness;
  • Showcasing commissioned short films on an exterior wall of the New World Symphony building in Miami Beach’s new Lincoln Park;
  • Creating an online sound archive and “audio map” of the sounds of daily life in South Florida.

This is the third year of the Knight Arts Challenge, which offers $20 million in matching grant money to the best ideas in the South Florida arts over five years. Applicants must follow only three rules: the ideas must be about art, the project must take place in or benefit South Florida and the project must find funding to match Knight’s commitment.

As part of the challenge, Knight Foundation also invested an additional $20 million in endowment grants to three leading arts institutions: the Miami Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami and the New World Symphony.

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[NAME] Publications
To broaden the local art scene by encouraging the creation of functional, everyday objects by artists.
Andrew Yeomanson
To record and preserve the sounds of daily life by creating an online sound archive and “audio map” of field recordings from across South Florida.
To strengthen the animation and computer graphics industry by producing an animation festival and conference that brings together students, job seekers and leading companies.
Art and Culture Center of Hollywood
To engage South Florida in new contemporary art ideas and national trends by hosting an ongoing discussion series featuring outside arts experts.
To recapture and promote Haiti’s cultural traditions by creating a youth training program in Homestead led by experts in the country’s art.
Borscht Film Festival
To advance Miami’s reputation as a regional film center and shape the city’s cinematic identity by showcasing original films telling unique Miami stories.
Centro Cultural Brasil-USA da Florida
To expose South Floridians to the mind of controversial modern architect Oscar Niemeyer  with an interactive exhibit showcasing his creative process.
City of Miami Beach
To inspire, enlighten and unite South Florida with a third Sleepless Night festival featuring indoor and outdoor art and performances at dozens of Miami Beach venues.
City of Miami Beach
To create a new gathering space in Miami Beach by showcasing commissioned short films on an exterior wall of the New World Symphony building in the new Lincoln Park.
City Theatre
To nurture emerging writers and foster the creation of short plays through a week-long program with national playwrights and theater professionals.
Florida International University Creative Writing Program
To advance South Florida’s literary community by creating a Knight fellowship program in creative writing for fine arts graduate students at FIU.
Dade Heritage Trust
To generate appreciation for South Florida’s architectural history by showcasing Mid 20th Century Modern Design buildings with an international conference including tours and presentations.
To explore the importance of innovative architecture by creating an annual architectural contest resulting in the creation of a temporary structure.
Florida Grand Opera, Inc.
To continue cultivating a new audience for opera by offering discount tickets to winners and entrants in this spring’s Knight-supported drawing for free tickets to Carmen.
Friends of Gusman
To enable the production of high-quality shows at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts by offering a theater rental subsidy to smaller nonprofit arts groups who would otherwise not have the ability to perform in a top tier venue.
Friends of the Bass Museum, Inc.
To foster dialogue among South Florida artists and collectors by creating three, one-year curatorial fellowships in modern art at the Bass Museum.
Funding Arts Broward!
To cultivate new arts audiences in Broward County through a Knight New Work award for cutting-edge visual and performing arts projects.
To help renew Coconut Grove’s arts reputation and showcase South Florida talent by presenting a diverse lineup of performances on the site of the Coconut Grove Playhouse.
HistoryMiami (Historical Museum of Southern Florida)
To raise the profile of folk art by creating an Artist-in-Residence program where artists showcase their works and interact with the public.
Honor Roll Music
To enhance the skills of local musicians by training them to record, engineer and produce professional quality songs and provide them with free recording time at a local studio.
Jim Drain and Ben Russell
To provide a new perspective on the region’s unique landscape by producing a video installation reenacting Ponce de Leon’s 1513 South Florida exploration.
Leggo Miami
To broaden exposure for local musicians by partnering with local organizations to provide them with free studio time to professionally produce their works.
Locust Projects
To expand opportunities for Miami-Dade students by selecting a group to create a contemporary art exhibition with help from an established artist.
Miami Art Museum
To enhance an exhibition on the role of art in vinyl record covers by creating an outreach series of performances, lectures and events.
Miami Hispanic Ballet Corp.
To culturally enrich the region by creating the Miami Hispanic Cultural Arts Center, offering multi-disciplinary programming in Little Havana.
Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs
To help arts groups expand their audience by partnering with the online coupon site to offer a cultural “deal-of-the-week.”
Michael Bell
To help identify and motivate young writers by supporting the Scholastic Writing Awards Program.
National Jewish Theater Foundation
To celebrate Jewish theater by helping to establish a permanent home for the South Florida-based National Jewish Theater Foundation.
NODUS Arts Inc.
To strengthen the contemporary classical music scene by helping to expand a local ensemble presenting the music of living classical composers.
Palm Beach Poetry Festival
To foster the appreciation of poetry in South Florida by supporting the seventh annual, six-day Palm Beach Poetry Festival.
Performing Arts Center Trust, Inc.
To increase exposure to innovative art by commissioning a work annually as the poster image for the dance and classical music masterworks series.
School Board of Miami-Dade County
To help Miami-Dade students experience South Florida’s cultural richness by supporting an arts field trip in every grade.
South Florida Composers Alliance
To foster the appreciation and understanding of sound art by creating a publically accessible exhibition space at ArtCenter South Florida on Lincoln Road.
The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum
To expand and enhance the museum’s impact by integrating new media and new technologies into exhibits.
The Playground Theater, Inc.
To foster understanding of Chinese culture by supporting the world premiere of a children’s theater production based on an ancient folktale.
The Rhythm Foundation
To showcase Haitian music through a monthly concert series featuring the country’s diverse rhythms.
University of Miami
To expose new audiences to great music by creating an outreach program for the University of Miami Henry Mancini Institute’s multi-genre orchestra.
WDNA-FM 88.9 Public Radio
To provide new opportunities for jazz musicians young and old by creating a venue for them to jam together both in front of an audience and on air.
William Stewart
To celebrate African rhythms and history through percussion classes for children and community performances.
To expose and promote Miami artists globally by hiring local filmmakers to produce videos about them for the web.
To expand audiences for the arts by creating a mobile application that allows subscribers to view video about cultural exhibits, acquire coupons and purchase tickets.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed, engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit

Contact: Marc Fest, Vice President of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677; [email protected]