Announcing 58 winners in the Detroit Knight Arts Challenge! – Knight Foundation

Announcing 58 winners in the Detroit Knight Arts Challenge!

Photo: A Detroit Symphony Orchestra project explores music in Detroit and New Orleans.

It is hard to believe one year has passed since we announced the winners of the first Detroit Knight Arts Challenge, a group The Detroit Free Press called the “soul of Detroit.” In the last year, projects like Dlectricty, Complex Movements’ Beware of the Dandelions, North American Souvenir’s Canadian Residency, Mark Wallace’s Recycled Guitars and more have taken shape and spread across the city. Detroit’s first group of Knight Arts Challenge winners was the quickest to match in the history of our program, continuing to prove the community’s commitment to the arts.Related Links

Today, we are excited to announce this year’s challenge winners, 58 projects that will share in $2.48 million. We continued to receive ideas from all over the city – nearly 1,000 this year alone. Our panel of local readers carefully reviewed each of the applications and selected 88 finalists.  Each finalist then submitted a more detailed proposal and our local readers recommended winners, which our board of trustees approved. Now, we can share that list with you.


One of the interesting things about running the Knight Arts Challenge is that we begin to see patterns or themes in the application each year. This year, we were thrilled to see many more music and arts/technology projects. Both themes are indicative of Detroit’s history and build from it in new and interesting ways. We also have several projects that empower Detroiters to tell their own stories of the community’s past and present, strengthening artists’ role in shaping the city’s narrative.

The full list of winners is below.Detroit 2014 Knight Arts Challenge Winners

“Real-Time Free-styling” for Urban Dancers in Miami + Detroit Recipient: 6th Street Dance Studio/WholeProject Award: $28,000 To build connections between the urban dance communities in Miami and Detroit through master classes in each city and via video conferencing, anchored by Hardcore Detroit and Miami’s 6th Street Dance Studio/Whole Project

Online Journal Facilitates Critical Discourse on Local Arts and Culture ∞ mile (infinite mile) Award: $20,000 To foster artistic discourse in Detroit through a monthly, online art journal that produces reviews, interviews, articles and artist projects

Community Gardens Become Theater Stages Recipient: A Host of People Award: $20,000 To celebrate the do-it-yourself movement in both food and the arts by creating a site-responsive theater piece performed in community gardens

New Building, Programming for African Bead Museum Recipient: Dabls MBAD African Bead Museum Award: $100,000 To enhance an educational center for African culture by creating and renovating an exhibition and programming space for the African Bead Museum

Music Becomes A Focus of Allied Media Conference Recipient: Allied Media Projects Award: $40,000 To expand the annual Allied Media Conference to include a full music showcase, further exploring the intersection of art and social change

Japanese-inspired “Kamishibai Man” Will Pedal Theater Around Detroit Recipient: Andrew Krieger Award: $30,000 To weave art into people’s everyday lives by creating “Kamishibai Man,” a bicycle-mounted wooden theater — based on a Japanese tradition — where performers use paper art to tell serial stories

Robots Transform Performance of Ancient Hindu Poem Recipient: ApeTechnology Award: $15,000 To create a post-industrial homage to the Javanese tradition of shadow puppetry through a modern performance with towering, robotic puppets and gongs

Detroit Dance City Festival Plans Expansion Recipient: ARTLAB J Award: $100,000 To support Detroit Dance City Festival, a three-day celebration that provides an opportunity for local and national artists to present their work and strengthen ties in Detroit’s dance community

Detroiters Learn the Art and Culture of Mexico’s La Huasteca Recipient: Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel Award: $35,000 To share the traditional dances of Mexico’s La Huasteca region by partnering with a local dance group and professionals in Mexico to teach the art to Detroiters

Dance and Classic Architecture Meet in Intimate Apartment Performance Recipient: Biba Bell Award; $7,000 To invite the public to experience both dance and classic architecture by producing “It Never Really Happened,” an intimate performance inside an apartment in the 1950s Detroit high-rise designed by Mies van der Rohe

Musical Piece Celebrates Legacy of the Black Bottom Neighborhood and Paradise Valley Recipient: Body Rhythm Dance Theatre Award: $30,000 To celebrate Detroit’s former Black Bottom and Paradise Valley neighborhoods by creating a musical dedicated to its legacy.

Historic Collection of African-American Authors to be Digitized Recipient: Broadside Press Award $20,000 To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Broadside Press, a Detroit-based publisher for many leading African-American writers, by helping digitize its works

Drum Summit Will Connect Detroiters of Different Backgrounds Recipient: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Award: $70,000 To showcase how unique and connected global cultures are by hosting Call of the Drum: A Drum Summit, featuring percussionists from around the world

Mosaic Mural Planned for Springswell Viaduct Recipient: CLAVE Award: $12,000 To honor the spirit of Southwest Detroit by creating “Inspiración,” a mosaic mural in the Springwells viaduct, one of the area’s main arteries

Living Room Series Showcases Contemporary Puppet Works By and About Detroiters Recipient: CMAP (Carrie Morris Arts Production) Award: $35,000 To present the Living Room Series, contemporary puppet performances that challenge the perception that art exists only for specific spaces

Corktown Cinema Aims to be Neighborhood Space Recipient: Corktown Cinema L3C Award: $50,000 To expand the Detroit’s cinematic landscape by featuring local and international film and art otherwise not represented in the region

Performance Artist Nick Cave Presents the “Biggest, Baddest Performance of All Time!” Recipient: Cranbrook Art Museum Award: $150,000 To mount performance artist Nick Cave’s “Biggest, Baddest Performance of All Time!” a series of spectacles around the city

Detroiters Stories Told in Digital Radio Series Winner: Detroit Digital Stewards Recipient: $60,000 To tell the story of Detroit’s neighborhoods through sound by creating “Detroit Music Box,” a suite of digital radio shows produced by the people who live there

Drumline Veterans Give Back to Local Students Winner: Detroit Drumline Academy Award: $30,000 To build on a strong history of Detroit percussionists by having former drummers from Detroit-area schools teach and mentor middle and high school students

Fiber Arts Festival Planned for Avenue of Fashion Recipient: Detroit Fiber Works Award; $20,000 To promote fiber arts and the Avenue of Fashion by hosting free fiber art workshops for children, teens and adults

Training Targets First-Time Filmmakers Recipient: Detroit Film Labs Award: $60,000 To foster storytelling in Detroit by offering a series of workshops to first-time filmmakers in underrepresented communities

“Data Murals” Help Students Visualize Neighborhood Stories Recipient: Detroit Future Schools Award: $40,000 To use the arts to help youth tell their neighborhood stories by having them conduct research about their communities and convey their findings through “Data Murals”

Jazz Festival Explores Renewal in New Orleans and Detroit Recipient: Detroit Symphony Orchestra Award: $75,000 To explore the role of art in shaping the history, recovery and resurgence of a city through a cultural exchange between Detroit and New Orleans

Video Series Helps Musicians Learn from Music Greats Recipient: DIRT TECH RECK Award: $20,000 To continue Detroit’s musical legacy by creating a video series that explores the creative processes that drives Detroit’s musicians

Small Publishing House Expands Mission Recipient: DittoDitto Award: $20,000 To foster a dialogue around the arts and arts books by supporting a small publishing house and store focused on literary and visual arts books

Latino Students to Create Original Play Recipient: Garage Cultural Award: $20,000  To engage Latino youth in the theater arts through a bilingual performing arts program in southwest Detroit

“Dancing Through the Night” Pays Homage to Detroit’s Post-Motown Sound Recipient: InsideOut Literary Arts Project Award: $100,000 To host a techno-poetry performance, led by poet Nandi Comer, exploring the history of Detroit DJs and their contribution to contemporary music

Vacant Property Becomes Creative Campus for Artists Recipient: JacobsStreet/The Untitled Bottega Award: $100,000 To transform an abandoned property near a North End art gallery into an outdoor theater and cultural hub meant to strengthen a neighborhood through the arts  

Committed to Detroit? There’s a Tattoo for That Recipient: Kremena Todorova and Kurt Gohde Award: $29,000 To promote civic pride via The Detroit Tattoo Project, where a local poet is commissioned to create a piece about the city which is then divided and drawn for use on free tattoos that, when reassembled, reveal graphic elements containing a secret image

Sundial Will Reinterpret John Cage’s Work Recipient: Leith Campbell Award: $6,000 To use the slow cadence of a captured sunbeam to set the pace of an electronic interpretation of composer John Cage’s ‘As Slow aS Possible.’

Series Asks Community to Co-Create Poetry Recipient: Literary Detroit Award: $5,000 To further build the literary community via a monthly series where poet and audience co-create works

Sound Series Explores Detroit’s “World Music” Recipient: Lo & Behold! Award: $7,000 To explore the array of cultures and music in Hamtramck by conducting “field recordings” of local music — for example, a Bangladeshi street fair or a gospel trio — presented with minimal editing

Theatre Company Tells Detroit Stories Through New Bilingual Production Recipient: Matrix Theatre Company Award: $30,000 To commission a well-known bilingual playwright to work with the city’s Latino community in developing a new piece

“Opera House” Engages Community to Blur Art and Building Recipient: McEwen Studio & HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? Award: $10,000 To re-design an existing vacant house as an opera and performance space, in which community members collaborate with visiting artists

“Hope Dies Last” Tells Story of Armenian Genocide Recipient: Michelle Andonian Award: $50,000 To mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide through a book of photographs and a performance entitled “Hope Dies Last”

Underground Music Gets Public Platform Recipient Michigan Underground Group Award: $5,000 To build the city’s underground music scene by documenting Detroit’s unconventional music

Salon-Style Exhibition Debuts at MOCAD Recipient: Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) Award: $30,000 To host international guest curator Jens Hoffmann to create a salon-style exhibition exploring a cross-section of Detroit ‘s visual arts for the past 15 years

“Trip Metal Fest” Showcases Electronic Music Recipient: Nate Young Award: $10,000 To bring local and international musicians together by presenting The Trip Metal Fest, a festival featuring electronic music in all its forms

“Strange Beautiful Music” Concert Expands Recipient: New Music Detroit Award: $15,000 To spotlight challenging new music from the late 20th century through today during “Strange Beautiful Music,” a daylong marathon concert

Impact of Women in Hip-Hop Explored, Reimagined Recipient: Piper Carter Award: $40,000 To explore the role and impact of women in hip-hop through a gathering of leading figures in Detroit’s digital media, art, dance and performance communities

Ponyride Expands Artist-in-Residence Program Recipient: Ponyride Award: $20,000 To further Detroit as a center for art and design by expanding a visiting artist-in-residence program dedicated to producing art in and for Detroit

Families Wanted for New “Momm & Popp” Artist Residency Program Recipient: Popps Packing Award: $23,000 To support the expansion of Popps Packing’s unique artist residency program, which caters to national and international artists with children, providing a holistic space in which artists with families can create

Banglatown Block Party Celebrates Role of Arts in Neighborhoods Recipient: Power House Productions Award: $250,000 To celebrate the role of art in developing and inspiring neighborhoods through a series of programs leading up to a community-wide block party in Banglatown

Blues Jam Session to Find Permanent Home Recipient: RecoveryPark Award: $40,000 To support a new home for John’s Carpet House, a weekly blues jam session founded by drummer John Estes

“Whithervanes” Reflect Fear in News Stories Recipient: rootoftwo Award: $30,000 To explore how fear is used in contemporary media by creating do-it-yourself kits for making dynamic sculptures to reflect the prevalence of fear-related keywords in news stories

African Culture Explored in Four-Day Conference Recipient: Rowe Niodior African Dance Company Award: $20,000 To create community through a four-day festival exploring how West and Central African groups use music and dance to celebrate their culture

Sidewalk Festival Expands to New Locations Recipient: Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts Award: $35,000 To expand an outdoor celebration of performance and installation art to neighborhoods across the city

Performance Series Looks at Detroit’s Radical Past Recipient: The Hinterlands Award: $30,000 To explore Detroit’s 20th century history of radical art and politics through The Radicalization Process, a yearlong performance series built on interviews, artifacts and historic footage

Creative Incubator Coming to Grand River Recipient: The N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art Award: $60,000 To strengthen creative businesses by creating Quarter Pop on Grand River, an arts incubator that provides access to new skills and storefront spaces

Series Uses Hip-Hop to Spark Conversations Recipient: The Raiz Up Award: $25,000 To use hip-hop to spark conversations about the city’s cultural heritage and social issues through Paint my Roots, or Pinta mis Raices, a series of concerts, workshops and collaborative murals

Detroit’s Historic Signs to be Preserved Recipient: Gratiot & Riopelle Award: $5,000 To preserve Detroit’s historic signs by documenting the typography around the city via photography and making them into useable, digital typefaces for local business and letterpress use

Commissioning Program Cultivates New Works Recipient: Trinosophes Award: $10,000 To create a commissioning program that will fund new works in music and the visual arts and award a prize to an artist for their contribution to Detroit’s culture

Maker Space Coming to Brightmoor Recipient: Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan Award: $100,000 To expand Brightmoor’s community of makers by repurposing a building into the Brightmoor Maker Space where neighbors can share and develop creative skills

Pop-Up Storytelling Installations Tell Neighborhood Narratives Recipient: WDET Award: $60,000 To bring the stories of Detroit’s ethnic communities to life by partnering with artists and galleries on pop-up installations featuring photography and audio storytelling

Art Book Series Explores Detroit Artists Recipient: What Pipeline Award; $15,000 To expand the narrative of the city’s creative talent by publishing a series of art books on Detroit-based artists

“Write a House” Program Offers Homes to Authors Recipient: Write a House Award: $100,000 To bring new vitality to the literary arts in Detroit by expanding Write a House, which awards renovated homes to writers based on the quality of their work

Art-Filled Plaza Coming to Southwest Detroit Recipient: Young Nation Award: $75,000 To create a neighborhood gathering place by engaging local artists, youth and residents in Southwest Detroit in designing and building an art-filled public plaza

Summer Hip Hop Program Expands Recipient: YoYo School of Hip Hop Award: $40,000 To use hip-hop to teach students about technology, physical fitness, career goals and communication skills through a summer camp