Unexpected Art: Knight Foundation Announces Winners Of 34 Grants

Dec 4, 2012

Cash and opportunity are on their way to 34 winners of the Knight Arts Challenge, announced last night in Miami. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation selected the winners from 1,100 applicants.

This year, we’ve seen some interesting trends. First, the winners will help spread the art deep into South Florida’s communities, whether through Miami Dade College’s new art center in Hialeah, an Opa-locka festival, or a collaborative in Delray Beach. Also, several are bringing art to unexpected places, with theater in shipping containers and music at the airport and more.

We’re also excited that close to half are from small organizations or individuals – the kind of grassroots, entrepreneurial projects that are very Miami. (Hip Hop Symphony, anyone?) Together, they’re helping to make art ubiquitous in Miami.

Who are the winners? Here's a sampling from the complete list:

TruSchool Hip-Hop

Recipient: 6th Street Dance Studio/WholeProject

Award: $40,000

The 6th Street Dance Studio’s TruSchool is a free hip-hop program for young people serving Little Havana and Overtown and based on the original elements of hip-hop. With challenge funding, the studio will incorporate house dance, lindy hop, writing and cultural events into its programming, as well as deejaying, emceeing, spoken word and graffiti. The project also will also collaborate with local, national and international performance companies to mentor the program’s participants.

In the Heights for Eighth to Twelfth Graders

Recipient: Actors’ Playhouse Productions


To enrich Miami-Dade Schools eighth- through 12th-grade students, Actors’ Playhouse Productions will make 3,000 seats available to the Tony-winning musical In the Heights, and engage them through a rap-writing contest. Students will prepare with study guides on the show’s plot line and will participate in discussions with the director, actors and creative team to better understand the performance and possibilities for arts careers. Students will then write their own personal or family story that mimics the play’s musical score or is in a style appropriate to their cultural background. Finalists will perform their works at the Miracle Theater.

Arts Garage Jazz Project

Recipient: Creative City Collaborative DBA Arts Garage

Award: $30,000

The Creative City Collaborative will facilitate an exchange of art and ideas by presenting contemporary musical performances, feature films, visual art exhibitions and new theater productions at a Palm Beach collaborative.  The project will continue its signature repertoire series and add special new programming, including performance that will highlight regional emerging artists. Arts Garage will also partner with regional cultural arts organizations to produce new plays and expand its educational programs.

Lip Service: True Stories from all Miami Communities

Recipient: Lip Service

Award: $50,000

To give voice to more Miami stories, Lip Service will create live storytelling performances about personal experiences focused on people who, for a variety of reasons, don’t often have opportunities to tell their stories.  The performances, taking place quarterly at the Miracle Theatre and other community theaters, will be produced in collaboration with local community groups,


Recipient: Arts for Learning/Miami

Award: $225,000

Arts for Learning/Miami will provide opportunities for high school students to pursue their interests in the arts while learning essential work skills by offering six-week paid summer art internships and apprenticeships. Professional artists will team with students five days a week to focus on a specific art form such as dance, printmaking, painting, graphic design or photography. The program will focus on students from the Miami neighborhoods of Overtown, Wynwood, Little Haiti and Liberty City to help them develop deep appreciation for the arts. Students will also participate in Art Basel Miami Beach, via tours or volunteering.