As communities reopen, the arts can show us the way forward. Here’s how we’re supporting that momentum. – Knight Foundation

As communities reopen, the arts can show us the way forward. Here’s how we’re supporting that momentum.

On July 1, 2021, Knight Foundation will launch the 2021 Knight Arts Challenge. The open call will support the best ideas for the arts and is open to artists and arts organizations in Akron, Detroit and Miami. Learn more about the Knight Arts Challenge here. Knight’s Adam Ganuza shares more below.

When we celebrated the winners of the last Knight Arts Challenge in 2019, little did anyone know that in a few months the world would forever change. Almost overnight, the arts and cultural life in our cities ground to a halt as the COVID-19 pandemic rendered long-standing practices in the arts unsafe. Now, some 16 months of immense disruption later, our cities are reopening and, thankfully, life is returning to some sense of normalcy. 

Knight believes that artists will play an important role in helping show communities the way forward and, so, we are proud to announce the return of the Knight Arts Challenge, our largest open call for great ideas in the arts in Miami, Detroit and Akron. 

Knight funds the arts under the premise that they have a unique power to connect people to place and to each other. As we begin our collective reemergence, the shared experiences and understanding that the arts provide are essential to bringing us back together. The antidote to discord is community. A counterweight to disenchantment is the hope that great art can provide. 

Artists and arts organizations in our cities have adapted during the pandemic. Whether through online programs or outdoor performances, they have displayed incredible creativity amidst hardships. With this year’s Knight Arts Challenge, we aim to encourage the continuation of that innovative spirit. We want to elevate artists and arts organizations as cities reopen, and encourage them to embrace new forms of expression that mirror ways audiences are engaging with art.

It all begins with a simple question: What is your best idea for the arts in your city? Artists, collectives and organizations are invited to respond with a 150-word description of their idea. That’s it.  

Anyone can apply. And no arts idea is off the table. 

We want to hear from you. 

The Knight Arts Challenge first round application period opens at 12:00 am ET July 1 and will run through July 31. For complete details on the challenge and how to apply, visit

Adam Ganuza is a program officer for Knight’s arts program.