Every year the Knight Foundation accepts more than 1,000 applications as first stage in a creative funding process. This initial application is unique in that it invites you to pen 150 words that dramatically describe a progressive art idea for the South Florida region. It’s a regional resource with an edgy twist as they are seeking only a few descriptive words that take their breath away.
This year the deadline for ideas is April 28 followed by the invigorating process towards Knight Arts Challenge finalists and winners.
Nationally $7.8 million will be allocated to winners in four U.S. cities: Akron, OH; Detroit, MI; Miami, FL; and St. Paul, MN for 2017. South Florida is one of the big four.
“We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers,” says Knight Foundation’s Arts Program Associate Kris LeCorgne.
In 2016 they funded $2.78 million projects for innovative arts ideas to 44 artists and organizations from Miami to West Palm Beach.
Anyone is eligible to apply – individuals, for profit, nonprofit, government and municipalities. That means that anyone with a passion for art and great ideas is within the realm of the possibility. 32% of winners have never before won a grant.
As a goal, the Challenge is dedicated to connecting people and communities through art and engaging authenticity through storytelling.
“There are only three rules at this critical, early stage,” says LeCorgne. “The idea must be squarely centered on art; the idea must benefit South Florida; and winners must provide funding to match. Simple.”
A recent series of Creative Conversations held throughout the region educated possible applicants on the process. Past project winners and Knight representatives also shared the Foundation’s philosophy towards artistic excellence.
At Knight we believe that “excellent art transforms you,” shared LeCorgne. “That is what we support.”
Pressed further as to what exactly Knight considers to be ‘artistic excellence,’ LeCorgne responded, “Derived from a rigorous practice – thoughtful and intentional process of what you are trying to do; engenders deep thought; evokes feelings; creates wonder; results in understanding; connects us to people and place.”
Every application is read by a panel of local reviewers consisting of Knight staff and people from the community.
For now: application period ends: April 28; finalist announced: August 2017; winners announced: December 2017.
Winners have one year to raise their match.