Knight Foundation Awards $37 Million to Miami Arts Organizations

Knight Foundation Awards $37 Million to Miami Arts Organizations

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced grants totaling more than $37 million in support of Miami's arts ecosystem. 

The latest funding represents an expansion of Knight's two-tier grantmaking strategy for the arts in South Florida and is focused on midsize arts organizations operating on tight budgets and without endowments. While $15.5 million of the new funding was awarded to anchor institutions and $6 million will support the Knight Arts Challenge on a biennial basis, starting in 2019, $15 million will go to midsize groups in two categories — promoting the creation of cutting-edge art in Miami and advancing training and learning opportunities.

Grant recipients include Miami New Drama, which was awarded $750,000 to advance its long-term financial sustainability and underwrite the cost of casting, staffing, and technological upgrades; ArtCenter/South Florida, which will receive $500,000 in support of its cinematic arts residency program, which functions as an incubator for Miami filmmakers creating micro-budget feature films; and the Miami Music Project, which was awarded $750,000 to expand access to affordable classical music education programming for youth in Miami-Dade County.

The foundation also allocated $1 million over two years to the Knight New Work Miami initiative — an open call for proposals to commission and present ground-breaking new productions of theater, dance, and music — and announced the five inaugural winners of grants totaling $500,000. In addition, twenty-one Knight Arts Champions, local leaders who have played key roles in building South Florida's cultural community, were recognized with awards of $10,000 each that they can contribute to a local artist or arts organization of their choice.

In conjunction with the  announcement, the foundation also released a report, Evolving Arts Ecosystems: A Study of Miami (31 pages, PDF), which found that artistic activity and participation grew substantially between 2011 and 2015, with arts attendance (paid and unpaid) jumping 27 percent, outpacing population growth in the region.

"Art and culture bind people to place and to each other," said Knight Foundation president Alberto Ibargüen. "A dozen years ago, we saw an arts community that could be leveraged to make art general in Miami. One hundred and sixty-five million dollars over a decade says we're serious about this. The latest $37 million says we're delighted with the impact and are shifting focus more toward the middle-level arts organizations and with a much greater emphasis on the creation of art in the city."

For a complete list of grant recipients, see the Knight Foundation website.