Scholl, a longtime arts advocate who joined Knight in 2009, will work with leaders in key communities around the country, where the Knight brothers owned newspapers, to fund innovative cultural programs that enhance community engagement. Those Knight communities are: Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit, Mich.; Macon, Ga.; Miami, Fla.;
In Miami, Scholl currently leads the Knight Arts Challenge, a $40 million initiative to unite South Florida through the arts. The program includes $20 million in endowment grants to leading institutions, plus a community-wide competition for the best ideas to transform the local cultural scene. Finalists in the contest’s third round will be named in May.
“Dennis’s passion for the arts, as well as his experience and success as an entrepreneur and art collector, makes him the perfect person to expand Knight’s support of the arts nationwide,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation. “He will identify opportunities for cultural enrichment and offer new and effective strategies to use the arts to inform and engage communities.”
Scholl’s first priority will be to visit Knight communities on a “listening tour,” meeting with cultural leaders and representatives from cultural institutions and arts councils to begin to determine needs and encourage cultural momentum in targeted areas.
“The expansion of Knight Foundation’s arts program is a great opportunity to use the arts to enrich people’s lives and unify entire communities,” Scholl said. “I’ve already witnessed the uplifting impact a vibrant arts scene can have on communities, even in a difficult economic environment.”
From philanthropist to art collector to filmmaker, Scholl’s role in the arts is broad. A renowned contemporary art collector for more than 30 years, Scholl has led local and national philanthropic efforts in the visual arts. Scholl served as founding chair of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Photography Committee, the Tate Modern’s American Acquisitions Committee and the Miami Art Museum’s Collectors Council. He has also served on the boards of the Aspen Art Museum, the Miami Museum of Contemporary Art, and as chair of Locust Projects, an alternative art space in Miami. Since its inception, Scholl has also served on the Host Committee of Art Basel Miami Beach.
Scholl earned a regional Emmy nomination in 2009 as a cultural correspondent for Plum TV, a resort-based television network with eight stations across the United States.
A founder of the international wine venture Betts & Scholl, he previously practiced law, worked as a C.P.A. and restored 20 historic Art Deco properties on South Beach, contributing to the island’s rebirth.
Scholl received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida International University and a law degree from the University of Miami.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed, engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.
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Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.