Knight Foundation Awards Infuse South Florida Arts Scene with $3.8 million

MIAMI – Embodying South Florida’s creative spirit, 27 ideas received $3.8 million today as part of the 2010 Knight Arts Challenge Miami, a community-wide contest to bring South Florida together through the arts.

The winners of the contest, created by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, include projects to:

Expose 130,000 Miami-Dade County students to South Florida’s cultural gems through a field trip each year – doubling the current number of participants.

– Shape South Florida’s cinematic identity by funding the Borscht Film Festival to commission original films telling unique Miami stories.

– Recapture and promote Haitian art through a youth training program in Homestead that teaches students to create traditional works.

In just three years, Knight Foundation has invested $17.5 million in Arts Challenge projects – an amount that local arts supporters will double with matching funds.

“The arts have always had a transformational impact on our sense of community,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. “They move us, shape us, bring us together and show what we can be – and everyday Knight Arts Challenge winners are adding to that momentum.”

The 2010 winners include individual artists like William Stewart, a former percussionist for the top reggae band Third World, emerging groups like The PlayGround Theatre and some of the county’s largest institutions.

Their ideas will promote creative writing among students young and old, help more groups perform on Gusman Center’s historic stage and create an exhibition space for sound art on Lincoln Road. (A full list is below.)

“Anyone can apply to the Knight Arts Challenge. The only requirement is that they have a great idea. Tonight’s winners show South Florida has an abundance of them,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation’s vice president/arts.

The contest’s success inspired Knight Foundation to launch a national arts program, which invests in projects that enrich and engage eight communities across the United States. The cities include Detroit, San Jose and Philadelphia, which now has its own Knight Arts Challenge contest.

Among the national program’s signature efforts is Random Acts of Culture, which brings performers out of symphony halls and into the streets and people’s everyday lives. Some 1,000 Random Acts of Culture will be performed over the next three years in Miami and the other seven cities.

The Knight Arts Challenge, a matching grant program, will open again in early 2011 to accept the fourth round of applicants.

To find out more about Knight’s arts program, or to sign up for e-mail updates, visit www.knightarts.org.

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