The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced grants totaling $2.36 million to fifty-three arts projects through the Knight Arts Challenge South Florida.
The winners — mainly small arts organizations, arts collectives, and individual artists — were awarded funding for projects designed to strengthen the region's literary culture, highlight its cultural diversity, and revitalize spaces in downtown Miami. Grant recipients include the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, which was awarded $40,000 to expand arts education by enhancing its staff's interactions with students in its distance-learning programs; Agustina Woodgate, who will receive $20,000 to create playful encounters with poetry through her "Walk on Poems" piece, in which local poets write pieces about neighborhoods that are then placed with Scrabble-like tiles on sidewalks; Corpus Callosum, which will receive $80,000 to produce works that combine classical music performances with advancements in neuroscience; and FUNDarte, which was awarded $120,000 to showcase hidden musical talents in Miami, many of whom are immigrants who have not yet made it to prominent stage venues, through a series of collaborations with established companies and artists.
In addition, Miami Girls Rock Camp was named the winner of the text-to-vote Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award and will receive an additional $20,000 for an art project of its choice. The foundation also named four cultural leaders as Knight Arts Champions, honoring their contributions to the region with funds they can distribute to projects of their choice. The 2015 Knight Arts Champions are Kareem Tabsch and Vivian Marthell, co-founders of O Cinema, the independent cinema launched with a Knight Arts Challenge grant; Alex Gartenfeld, chief curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami and the man responsible for guiding the institution through its founding and move to a temporary space in the Design District; and Rosa de la Cruz, who, through the de la Cruz Collection, helps to send Design and Architecture High School and New World School of the Arts students on cultural field trips to New York and Europe.
"High-quality artistic experiences not only inspire, they help bind us to each other and to a common experience, which is critical to a region as diverse as ours," said Knight Foundation president Alberto Ibargüen. "Together, these ideas get us closer to making art general in Miami, to creating a community where art is available to everyone in all of our neighborhoods."