Knight Blog

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

‘Knight Cities' - A conversation with Gil Penalosa on building better communities

Aug. 20, 2014, 9 a.m., Posted by Carol Coletta

Copenhagen regularly tops the list of the world’s best cities. It is celebrated for its culture of conviviality, elevated by the large number of people walking, biking and lingering in the city’s streets and public spaces.

ARTLAB J: It is my mission to make the individual think

Aug. 20, 2014, 6 a.m., Posted by Joori Jung

This month, five Detroit arts groups are vying for the Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award, a $20,000 prize the winner can use for a project of their choice. The award is one of the ways Knight aims to bring attention to small arts organizations and their impact on the city. Here, KnightArts.org has a quick word with  Joori Jung of nominee ARTLAB J, a troupe working to strengthen the city’s dance community. Vote for the museum by texting Detroit3 to 22333 and learn about the other nominees at knightarts.org/peopleschoice.

Q. What do you love most about your arts group?
A. ARTLAB J has an array of unique artists from various backgrounds whether it’s different dance styles, or the places that we come from. We gather together collectively with our different ideas and make them assemble right here in the City of Detroit whether it’s marketing, advertising, managing or dancing.

Q. What would you do with the $20,000 People’s Choice award?
A. ARTLAB J would further develop the organization in order to support the community and to support the local Detroit dancer. This is a community effort with the hopes of reaching also a national and international level.


ARTLAB J studio at Saint John and Saint Luke United Church of Christ.

Q. Three words or phrases your fans would use to describe your work?
A. Wholesome,  Energetic, Sprouting.

Q. Who, or what, inspires you as an artist?
A. Pina Bausch inspires me. Her choreography is not just dance and it’s fulfilling because I can feel the humanism from her choreography. She makes me think about my life and at the end she brings more topic to me.

Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians expands efforts to place immigrant professionals in chosen careers

Aug. 19, 2014, 9 a.m., Posted by Amanda Bergson-Shilcock

Amanda Bergson-Shilcock is director of outreach and program evaluation at the nonprofit Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians in Philadelphia, which Knight Foundation supports to help harness and retain immigrant talent. 

By Amanda Bergson-Shilcock

I still remember Marcel (I’ve changed his name to protect his privacy). He came into our office one day, a young Haitian man eager to make his mark on the world. In his native country, he’d been a doctor.

In this one, he was washing cars—for $6.25 an hour.

Becoming an obstetrician would have been an extraordinary achievement in any country. It was even more so in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Marcel’s determination shone through as he talked with our employment specialist.

Marcel was far from the first immigrant jobseeker to walk through our doors. The staff at the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians is skilled at helping immigrants find their first U.S. jobs, having placed more than 1,200 legally work-authorized individuals in employment over the last decade.

For many of the men and women we work with, these are so-called survival jobs – a significant step down from their earlier careers.  Such entry-level jobs are not a  long-term solution, but the government contracts that have funded our work don’t give us the time to do more than make an immediate job placement. And as our former director of employment, herself a refugee, used to say wryly, “You have to work if you want to eat.”