Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

‘Knight Cities’ podcast: Jason Roberts on building better blocks in our communities

Dec. 17, 2014, 1:19 p.m., Posted by Carol Coletta

Before planning fatigue sets in, why not just build a better block?

That’s the approach of Jason Roberts who leads Team Better Block. Jason is a charismatic man who works with communities – first his own in Oak Cliff, Texas, and now with communities around the world – to turn vacant properties into lively, thriving blocks that showcase what’s possible in a neighborhood.  He usually has to break a few laws to do it, but the result is places people love and want to be. It’s an approach that employs acting your way to success versus planning your way to success.

LaunchCode in Miami: Solving the tech talent shortage

Dec. 17, 2014, 8:52 a.m., Posted by Jim McKelvey and Mariana Rego

The LaunchCode Story from LaunchCode on Vimeo.

Jim McKelvey is the co-founder of LaunchCode as well as several successful companies, including Square. Mariana Rego is LaunchCode’s Miami expansion coordinator.

We are so thrilled to partner with Knight Foundation to bring LaunchCode to the South Florida community.

LaunchCode began 15 months ago as a community-driven effort in St. Louis, a region that, like South Florida, has seen rapid growth in technology jobs, but has simultaneously struggled to generate enough talent to meet the needs of growing companies and to ensure diverse access to these new opportunities.

LaunchCode is designed as a community-wide solution. On one side, we partner with businesses hungry for talent. On the other, we identify, mentor and match talented, driven candidates with paid apprenticeships. In our first year in St. Louis, we helped 125 people from all backgrounds and walks of life find their first job in technology, making over 70 different companies more productive in the process.

Blending of opera and cabaret gives pop soup of ‘Andy’ its flavor

Dec. 16, 2014, 2:22 p.m., Posted by Fernando González

Andy - a Popera, photo by Kate Raines
Photo by Kate Raines.

The work of Andy Warhol set the art world on its head, blurring the lines between high and low and the notions of what defined artistic and commercial work. It is only fitting then that “Andy: A Popera,” a show exploring Warhol’s life, work and legacy, started with pop-up performances of singing soup cans in a supermarket aisle, evolved into a cabaret show and is now becoming an adventurous, irreverent pop art-cabaret-opera mash-up scheduled to premiere in Philadelphia in September 2015.

The piece is a collaboration between Opera Philadelphia and the experimental cabaret company the Bearded Ladies. The creative process and the intended result suggest a daring and ingenuity that truly celebrates the subject. Both organizations are previous Knight Arts Challenge winners, and “Andy: A Popera” is being developed with Knight Foundation support.

Classical composer Dan Visconti, who recently completed a multi-year residency with opera companies, including Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, New York City Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival and the Metropolitan Opera, recently joined the “Andy” creative team and is charged with creating the unprecedented musical hybrid.