Winning projects bring art to South Florida neighborhoods

Press Release

December 3, 2013


Knight Arts Challenge recipients receive $2.72 million

Miami playwright is People’s Choice

Related Links 

"Announcing the 2013 winners of the Miami Knight Arts Challenge" by Dennis Scholl on Knight Arts

MIAMI -- (Dec. 2, 2013) — Forty-nine ideas – a blend of art and technology that celebrates South Florida’s uniqueness – received  $2.72 million Monday as winners of the Knight Arts Challenge.  Together, the 2013 winners will infuse South Florida’s neighborhoods with creativity – with projects taking place from Palm Beach to Miramar, Overtown, Coral Gables and Key West.

“We seek to make art general in Miami.  This week’s opening of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, crowning enormous growth in our community, affirms that Miami is on that path,” said Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen. “The Knight Arts Challenge has helped blossom a culture of creativity across South Florida, inspiring and challenging those of us who live here.”

The challenge, which Knight launched in 2008, is a community-wide contest funding projects that bring South Florida together through the arts. The winners include projects that will:

• Push the limits of art and technology, with an augmented reality public arts project; a transmedia film festival, and a hackspace where designers and artists will share the latest tools for creation;

• Celebrate the offbeat in South Florida, with a site-specific dance performance commemorating the Venetian Pool’s 90th anniversary, a theatrical work called “The Humid Body” that examines Miami’s evolution from swampland to metropolis, and a pop-up lounge at the Book Fair that explores the beauty, contradictions and weirdness of life in the Sunshine State;

• Bring art into neighborhoods, with a traveling one-act play festival, a dance and a spoken word series at Overtown’s revamped Lyric Theater, choral masterworks concerts at the South Dade cultural center, and a meet-the-artist series in Miramar.

A full list of ideas is below, with more information at

In addition, Teo Castellanos won the Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award, besting four other emerging organizations in a text-to-vote campaign that took place this fall. The award means an additional $20,000 for Castellanos, a playwright who is also an overall challenge winner for a project that will bring Miami stories to the stage.

 “Teo is a great example of the individual artists who are inspiring and engaging South Florida. No matter where you go in this community, Knight Foundation wants you to have an encounter with art. Projects like these help make that possible,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation .

The challenge asks everyone in South Florida to contribute their best idea for the local arts. The contest has just three rules: Projects must be about the arts, take place in or benefit South Florida, and match Knight’s funding. The best receive Knight Foundation funds.

Knight has received more than 7,500 ideas from the South Florida community since launching the challenge in 2008. In total, 193 projects have received almost $22.1 million in funding.

This year’s winners include organizations that got their start with Knight Arts Challenge funds, including three from the 2008 challenge. For example, Wynwood’s O Cinema will use new funding to open a second viewing room; the Miami Music Project will expand its orchestral academy to a third location, Liberty City; and Cannonball, which opened its live/work residency for artists with challenge support, is creating a new educational program in collaboration with international art schools.

Since 2006, Knight Foundation has invested $86 million in South Florida’s cultural community. Those funds have launched a new media program that includes the signature “Wallcasts” at the acclaimed New World Symphony campus, helped present Ibero-American films at the Miami International Film Festival, and will bring every Miami-Dade third grader to the new Pérez  Art Museum Miami, among other projects.  The approach is two-pronged: Knight Foundation aims to help open up institutions to more South Floridians with large grants, while the Arts Challenge ensures that smaller, grassroots efforts fuel and refresh the arts scene.

For more, visit

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



Andrew Sherry, Vice President/Communications, (305) 908-2677, [email protected]

Miami Knight Arts Challenge Winners 2013

New residency programs strengthen artistic talent in Miami
ArtCenter/South Florida
To provide opportunities for Miami’s artistic talent and to attract new creatives to the city by strengthening the center’s residency programs

Multimedia work explores Miami’s past and present
Awesome New Republic
To bring together the city’s musicians, dancers and filmmakers to produce a multimedia theatrical work that explores South Florida’s evolution from swampland to modern metropolis

Spoken word event provides platform for artists
The Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida
To provide a platform for recognized and emerging spoken word artists during a monthly series that will eventually be presented at Overtown’s historic Lyric Theater when it reopens in 2014

Cannonball launches educational effort
Cannonball Miami
To provide local artists with opportunities for growth through a new educational program that explores experimental thinking in art production and education

Miami Beach gets resident cabaret group
Circ X and The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater
To create Greater Miami’s only resident cabaret at the Jackie Gleason Theater by converting the greenroom into a permanent space for regular performances

Training program instills kids with love of jazz
Community Arts Program
To introduce more young Miamians to jazz by creating an after-school jazz institute that provides leading-edge training in America’s great art form

High school students explore careers in art and design
Florida International University College of Architecture + Arts
To develop the next generation of creatives by launching a summer career discovery program for high school students centered on art and design

Public art and performances presented in extended outdoor program
Friends of the Bass Museum
To make provocative artworks accessible to the public by expanding the museum’s outdoor public exhibitions to include concerts, performances and other programming

Annual GLBTQ performing arts festival expands community engagement efforts
To engage South Florida’s GLBTQ youth through the arts by growing the annual Out in the Tropics Performing Arts Festival to include educational workshops in high schools and community centers

GableStage presents plays for local schools
To promote an appreciation for theater by presenting one of GableStage’s productions to local high schools and middle schools, with a study guide and post-performance discussion

Historic sites play starring role in dance performances
Hattie Mae Williams
To explore the past and present of the historic Venetian Pool and the Miami Marine Stadium by creating a site-specific dance performance

Club launches interactive film and new technology festival
Indie Film Club Miami
To develop the local film scene by expanding Filmgate, the recently launched interactive film festival, which focuses on cross-platform storytelling, interactive screenings and more

Augmented reality used to transform public art
Ivan Toth Depeña
To promote innovation in the local arts community by creating a series of multimedia, augmented-reality public art projects that exist in both the physical and virtual worlds

Keys program instills family interest in classical music
Key West Council on the Arts
To spur interest in classical music across generations by creating a monthlong series that includes family concerts and educational lectures

First Haitian-American Book Fair launches in 2014
Mapou Cultural Center
To promote Haitian culture and literature by creating a Haitian-American book fair in Little Haiti

Pop-up dinners fund creative projects
Meals That Heal
To provide an innovative funding source for the arts by organizing pop-up dinners at arts venues where participants vote on a creative project to support

FAU professor presents multimedia opera
meme – media experi mental ensemble
To explore the fusion of art, music and technology by presenting a multimedia opera written by a southern Florida professor

Miami Beach Cinematheque creates dialogue around filmmaking
Miami Beach Film Society
To foster a deeper appreciation for cinema through a series of conversations on the art of filmmaking led by local and visiting film critics

Book Fair ‘Swamp’ lounge celebrates Florida
Miami Book Fair International
To raise the profile of Florida authors by creating a pop-up lounge at the Book Fair that features writers whose works explore the beauty, contradictions, uniqueness and weirdness of life in the Sunshine State

Dance series to celebrate Lyric Theater reopening
Miami Contemporary Dance Company
To draw audiences to Overtown’s historic Lyric Theater with a souped-up dance series taking place when the renovated theater reopens in 2014

Choral groups gain professional training
Miami Gay Men’s Chorus
To strengthen choral leadership by expanding the annual South Florida Choral Festival to include professional development workshops

Orchestral academy expands to Liberty City
Miami Music Project
To empower more children to play and appreciate classical music by expanding the project’s orchestral academy to a third location, Liberty City

Conversation series demystifies the arts
Miramar Cultural Trust
To provide deeper insights into arts and culture through a new series where professional artists perform and engage in a dialogue with the audience

Nollywood films get spotlight at MOCA
Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA)
To expose South Florida audiences to global art centers through a film festival focused on cinema in Nigeria, home to one of the largest film industries in the world

One-act play festival travels to Miami neighborhoods
New Theatre
To sprinkle theater throughout Miami-Dade County by expanding a one-act play festival to four locations from Hialeah to Homestead, Kendall and the beaches

Summer academy preps students for college auditions
New World School of the Arts
To help talented low-income students gain a competitive edge in auditions for collegiate arts programs by providing training through the Summer Theater Academy

New technology, viewing space for independent cinema
O Cinema
To strengthen a center for independent film by upgrading equipment and adding a second auditorium to expand film offerings

Palm Beach Opera goes al fresco
Palm Beach Opera
To bring opera into the community through a series of free outdoor community concerts that include a full orchestra and chorus

Co-op is hub for design and tech-based art
To build up South Florida’s design and technology-based art community through a co-op offering access to a range of equipment

Day of the Dead celebration to expand
Puppet Network
To engage South Florida in the Latin American tradition of Dia de los Muertos by expanding the Broward-based celebration that includes a giant puppet parade, mask workshops and family-designed altars for loved ones

Youth learn art of hip-hop in summer workshop
Puremovement Projects
To explore the continuing global impact of hip-hop dance through a weeklong series of free classes and workshops featuring award-winning choreographer Rennie Harris and other hip-hop pioneers

Seraphic Fire to become ensemble-in-residence at South Dade cultural center
Seraphic Fire
To bring the award-winning vocal ensemble to new audiences through regular masterworks concerts at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center

Traveling theater wagon pays homage to medicine shows of old
Shira Lee Abergel
To entertain audiences unconventionally by reimagining the medicine shows of old in a wooden wagon that travels and transforms into a theatrical playing space

Dancers and musicians collaborate in residency program
6th Street Dance Studio/Whole Project
To encourage artistic growth in Miami by creating a residency program for young professional dancers and musicians

Drumming community gathers for master classes
South Florida Center for Percussive Arts
To foster a sense of community among an often-disparate group of local percussionists by providing free weekly master classes taught by well-known drumming artists

Lecture series on arts and ethics expands
Studio Enrique Martínez Celaya
To strengthen audiences for the visual arts by offering a series of lectures on the intersection of arts and ethics

Festival celebrates international children’s theater
Teatro Prometeo
To celebrate children’s theater from around the world by launching a free international children’s theater festival in South Florida during Miami Book Fair International

One-act play explores unique Miami story
Teo Castellanos D-Projects
To fuse world culture, ritual and music in a uniquely Miami story through a one-act play and film produced by artists Teo Castellanos and Tarell McCraney

Bakehouse opens metal foundry
The Bakehouse Art Complex
To strengthen a studio art space by updating The Bakehouse’s workshops and adding a foundry for casting metals

Program immerses university students in theater production
The M Ensemble Company
To inspire an appreciation for theater by having Florida Memorial University students work behind the scenes on a production

Nationally recognized writers to participate in local residencies
The Miami Rail
To inspire great writing by supporting a visiting-writers program where authors host lectures, roundtables and workshops

Center provides creative outlet for Miami youth
The Motivational Edge
To strengthen an arts program that enables disadvantaged youth to demonstrate their feelings through creative writing and lyrical expression

FLA-FRA celebrates French and Miami-made art
Tigertail Productions
To explore art through the perspectives of French and Miami artists during a series of site-specific and new performances that will make up FLA-FRA (Florida-France) in 2014.

Poet Donald Justice gets his due
University of Wynwood
To celebrate renowned poet Donald Justice through a new book and conference in his hometown of Miami, where he is virtually unknown

Event celebrates the craft of Florida’s dugout canoes
Upper Room Art Gallery
To preserve the traditional art form of creating dugout canoes by organizing a seasonal Paddle Up, featuring Seminole and Miccosukee canoes

Evening art series builds excitement for Pérez Art Museum Miami
Pérez Art Museum Miami
To celebrate the new waterfront home of Pérez Art Museum Miami with a monthly series of free evening public programs

Jazz lovers come together through WDNA encounters
To foster a community of jazz aficionados by expanding WDNA’s Jazz Encounter to a video audience through live broadcasts and video archives

TV series profiles region’s artists, cultural rise
WPBT2/ Community Television Foundation of South Florida
To provide exposure for South Florida artists by producing profiles of 20 prominent artists under the age of 40

South Florida playwrights present world premieres
Zoetic Stage
To offer South Florida playwrights a platform by producing two world-premiere plays at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts