Articles by Dennis Scholl

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    Announcing 43 winners in the Philadelphia Knight Arts Challenge

    April 29, 2013 by Dennis Scholl

    Announcing 43 winners in the Philadelphia Knight Arts Challenge

     

    Photo credit: Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra

    Tonight, I’m at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, excited to announce the 43 winners of the Knight Arts Challenge Philadelphia.

    RELATED LINK 

    "Celebrating the 2013 Philly Knight Arts Challenge Winners" - A Storify

    This year, we were once again delightfully surprised by Philadelphia’s creative minds. I think you’ll see why.

    In the winners, there are several interesting trends, including ideas that will:

    • Make art more participatory - including a performance of Shakespeare's Henry IV where the audience will take part in an enormous battle;
    • Explore cross-genre mashups – with projects that will combine technology and design, voice and architecture and food and visual art. To me, this is one of the most exciting areas. As our world and attention spans become increasingly fragmented, combining genres is an interesting way to engage audiences on a multiple of levels.
    • Weave art into neighborhoods – with pop-up dance performances and musical events in the city’s Latino neighborhood;

    And always important for a city of Philadelphia’s creative caliber, several projects will

    • Develop the next generation of cultural thinkers with a student monologue series, after school music composition classes and more.

    The full list is below, along with information on the people and groups behind them.

    As you may know, this is the final year of our three-year Challenge in Philadelphia.  And over that time, we’ve seen more than 4,000 ideas come at us, with 187 challenge finalists and eventually 114 winners.

    What you’ve given us is incredible, and in the coming months we’re going to take what we’ve seen and learned and figure out a way to take more Philadelphia ideas to the next level through our community-arts grant making program.

    We continue to be deeply committed to the arts in Philadelphia, and we’ll have some great news on more investments in the fall. Stay tuned.

    Here are today’s winners – can’t wait to see how they develop.

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    Knight Foundation Awards Infuse Local Arts Scene with $3.7 Million

    November 30, 2009 by Dennis Scholl

    NEWS RELEASE | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEKnight Foundation Awards Infuse Local Arts Scene with $3.7 MillionMiami City Ballet Regains Live Orchestra; Wynwood Gets Arts Incubator; Indie Record Store Expands Community Programming MIAMI (Nov. 30, 2009) Emerging from 1,562 applications, 20 winners today received $3.7 million in the 2009 Knight Arts Challenge,...
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    The Metropolitan Museum of Art at TED: "All art was once contemporary"

    October 13, 2012 by Dennis Scholl

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art at TED: "All art was once contemporary"
    By Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation/VP Arts Tom Campbell, the newish director of the Metropolitan is not your father's museum director. Watch him crack up the crowd in this TED talk. We need more legacy institutions to choose this kind of leadership - go Tom go. Thomas...
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    Placemaking Revolution: the powerful role of ephemera and the arts in our cities

    October 17, 2012 by Dennis Scholl

    Placemaking Revolution: the powerful role of ephemera and the arts in our cities
    Carol Coletta and I were recently invited to speak by the Loeb Fellows to an audience at the Harvard Graduate School of Design on the subject of " creative placemaking" and it's role in revitalizing communities. Carol is the CEO of the Knight-funded program ArtPlace, which works with artists to...
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    See This Film

    July 13, 2010 by Dennis Scholl

    See This Film
    Davis Guggenheim, Oscar winning director of global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth has set his sights on his next topic - the sad state of K-12 education in America. Waiting for Superman opens Sept 24, but Dennis Scholl, Knight’s vice president of the arts and Miami program director, recently had...
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    A closer look at CriticCar Detroit, crowd-sourced critics in action

    December 10, 2012 by Dennis Scholl

    A closer look at CriticCar Detroit, crowd-sourced critics in action
    During my recent visit to Detroit to announce $19.25 million in arts grants from Knight Foundation, I had a moment to visit with Jennifer Conlin. Jennifer won the Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism contest for her crowd-sourced critics concept CriticCar Detroit. She has put together a short video of the idea...
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    Examining the future of arts journalism

    May 4, 2011 by Dennis Scholl

    Cross-posted from Knightarts.org

    On Wednesday, April 13 I was invited to be a panelist at a Christie’s panel discussion titled “A Second Look at the Future of Arts Journalism.” The auction house convened a pretty august group, including Lindsey Pollack, editor in chief of Art in America, a 98-year-old magazine and one of the big three in contemporary art and Eric Gibson, editor of the Wall Street Journal’s Leisure & Arts page, which has been become a must-read with for all things cultural with the infusion of Rupert Murdock's money. The panel was led by Sree Sreenivasan, dean of student affairs & digital media professor at the Columbia Journalism School

    The room was filled with some of the leading arts journalists in the world, including Blake Gopnik of Newsweek; Kelly Crow of the WSJ; freelancer Lee Rosenbaum, also know by her blog handle CultureGrrl; and Phoebe Hoban, author of the recently published and beautifully written biography Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty.

    The discussion was far ranging, but landed quickly on the search for the elusive business model that would allow arts journalists to make a living wage.  Doug McClennan's oft quoted statistic of the number of arts journalists in America dropping 50% from 5,000 to 2,500 in the last five years put the issue in perspective.

    I whispered about a yet to be formally announced Knight initiative in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts called the Arts Journalism Challenge. The challenge will launch in July in the eight Knight resident cities of Akron, Charlotte, Detroit, Macon, Miami, Philadelphia, Saint Paul and San Jose. Together with the NEA, Knight Foundation will be seeking ideas for how to increase community arts coverage in those eight cities. Knight and the NEA will send out an RFP, select the best ideas and fund the development of an action plan for each of them. The best plans will receive up to two years of funding to be launched with the goal to create a series of sustainable models to increase the level of community arts coverage. The eight knight cities are acting as a beta, with the possibility of a national launch in 2012.

    The crowd at Christie’s was quite interested and the Twitter traffic was significant. The panel was live streamed and you can take a look at the discussion here. I want to thank Mary Trudel of Trudel Macpherson for all her efforts in putting the panel together and including me.  And additional thanks to Toby Usnik at Christie’s for sharing feedback on Knight initiatives like Random Acts of Culture and the Knight Arts Challenge.

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    Detroit shows its creative side in the Knight Arts Challenge - more than 1,400 times

    April 24, 2013 by Dennis Scholl

    Detroit shows its creative side in the Knight Arts Challenge - more than 1,400 times
    Photo credit: Detroit Institute of Arts When we launched the Knight Arts Challenge in Detroit, we knew we loved the creativity of the city’s cultural community, the quality of work, the way artists are helping to shape the city's future block by block. That’s why we...
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    ArtPlace provides funding opportunity for creative placemaking projects

    November 5, 2013 by Dennis Scholl

    ArtPlace provides funding opportunity for creative placemaking projects
    Up and down a six-mile stretch in St. Paul, traffic engineers are busy putting together a light rail line that will connect the Twin Cities. It’s a massive infrastructure project. But instead of suffering with an elongated construction site, a group of artists got together to turn the corridor into...
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    Robert Bush named President of the Arts & Science Council

    March 17, 2014 by Dennis Scholl

    Robert Bush named President of the Arts & Science Council
    Robert Bush Breaking news - our good friend and colleague Robert Bush was JUST named the head of the Arts & Science Council, an organization he joined in 2000. We are thrilled by the decision of the board and congratulate him. Click here to read the...
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    The five best - and worst - moments from 1,000 Random Acts of Culture™

    September 14, 2012 by Dennis Scholl

    For the past two years two years, we’ve been hiding baritones in shoe departments, and rolling xylophones down supermarket aisles, surprising people across the country with Random Acts of Culture™.

    It all started as an experiment. With audiences for traditional performances declining, at Knight Foundation we were looking for a way to remind people of how important the classical arts are to their lives.

    About the same time, a friend sent me a video from a market in Seville, Spain, where a guy selling ham behind a counter bursts into an aria at the top of his lungs. The audience was captivated as six people came out of the crowd to join him. I must have played it a thousand times as I thought, we need to recreate moments like these across the U.S.  by bringing classical performers into people’s everyday lives.

    At first, we weren’t exactly sure how to go about it, to make sure it was more of a bold surprise than the pleasant background music you expect at the mall on a given Saturday.

    With a little trepidation, we did our first one by putting a quartet in the middle of Miami’s County Hall. When we saw a man walking by, waving his hands as if playing the conductor, we knew we were on to something.

    Since then, we’ve learned a lot through trial – and a few errors. As we celebrate our benchmark 1,000th performance, we wanted to share the best and worst moments of Knight Foundation’s Random Acts of Culture™ program.

    Best: The Messiah goes viral: The biggest hit was pulling off a surprise performance in Philadelphia at a Macy’s. Each Saturday, people gather there to hear the world’s largest pipe organ. But they didn’t expect more than 600 choristers to start singing Handel’s Messiah. There were goosebumps and tears. The video went viral, with now close to 8 million views on YouTube, and thousands of comments like this one: “Sheer delight, I wanted to forget my broken hip and dance.”

    Worst: Copy cat creates havoc: After that Philadelphia performance was viewed around the world, we were inundated with calls from people wanting to do Random Acts in their communities. Copy cats sprung up everywhere. In Sacramento, Calif., a group tried to pull off a rendition of Handel’s Messiah at the mall food court. When throngs of people showed up, and concerns grew that the floor would collapse, someone called the fire marshal and the mall was evacuated.

    Best: Afro-Cuban meets Beethoven: To celebrate the 1,000th Random Act, we’ve been putting on large-scale performances in four cities, including Miami. There, we knew we wanted an iconic venue, so we chose the palm treed pedestrian mall of Lincoln Road. Conductor Sam Hyken, in partnership with the Arsht Center, adapted Beethoven’s Ode to Joy into several formats, starting with jazz, then gospel. When the drums heated up into an Afro-Cuban version, the crowd ate it up. Heyken made this 19th century piece music feel like a hometown favorite.

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    How Knight Arts helps build community by binding people to place

    September 28, 2012 by Dennis Scholl

    Knight Foundation believes the arts help build community by binding people to place and to each other. Done with excellence, the arts inspire and connect people.

    Our grantmaking strategy in the arts has four initiatives:

    • Creative Placemaking
    • Making Art General
    • Institutional Reform
    • Spurring Innovation

    The strategy is carried across Knight’s eight resident communities but is implemented in varying landscapes. Here’s a snapshot of the arts sector in each:

    • Akron: Akron has a history of developing established arts institutions however, the organizations have struggled financially. The City of Akron has played a significant role in supporting culture, specifically in developing summer programming as well as increasing programs in neighborhoods such as downtown. Recently, the city has faced financial challenges which put many of its arts programs at risk of budgetary cuts. Despite the financial challenges, Akron hosts a significant dance program at the University of Akron as well as dance programming through the city. Akron is also home to an excellent modern art collection, at the Akron Art Museum
    • Detroit: Detroit’s arts institutions are beginning to show signs of bloom after a long decline. Despite the economic challenges, or perhaps because of opportunities derived from those challenges, individual artists and small arts groups have thrived. Detroit is also home to several longstanding arts institutions that have remained resilient and innovative through the many changes faced in the last half a century. These artists and arts institutions are building a strong network, seeking to reestablish Detroit through sustainable communities rooted in creative solutions.
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    Announcing new arts funding, projects to enrich South Florida

    December 2, 2012 by Dennis Scholl

    We’re excited to share big news for the South Florida arts community: Knight Foundation is committing $23 million in new funding for arts and culture.

    Part of a two-pronged strategy, the funding will go to some of the region’s leading arts institutions, and to fund more grassroots projects by continuing the Knight Arts Challenge through 2015.

    Related Link

    "34 ideas win Knight Arts Challenge Miami" by Dennis Scholl KnightArts.org

    "Making art general: @knightfdn celebrates the local cultural community" on Storify

    Everywhere you go in South Florida, we want you to have an encounter with art. As Knight Foundation President Alberto  Ibargüen told the Miami Herald: "The point of all of this, as I never tire of saying, is we want to make art general in Miami. To do that, you want to support arts institutions that day in and day out offer opportunities for people in Miami to see and feel and participate and engage art... and then at the same time engaging anybody in Miami who has an idea.”

    The institutions receiving funding are:

    We began to invest deeply in the arts in 2008, just as the arts scene was beginning to take shape. We’re increasing funding now to help take the cultural community to the next level.

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    34 ideas win Knight Arts Challenge Miami

    December 3, 2012 by Dennis Scholl

    34 ideas win Knight Arts Challenge Miami

    After months of poring through more than 1,100 applications, we’re excited to finally share the 34 winners of the Knight Arts Challenge Miami.

    This year, we’ve seen some interesting trends. First, the winners will help spread the art deep into South Florida’s communities, whether through Miami Dade College’s new art center in Hialeah, an Opa-locka festival, or a collaborative in Delray Beach. Also, several are bringing art to unexpected places, with theater in shipping containers and music at the airport and more.

    RELATED LINKS

    "Making art general: @knightfdn celebrates the local cultural community" on Storify

    "Knight Foundation announces 34 winners of Knight Arts Challenge" in The Miami Herald

    "John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Announces $23 Million in South Florida Arics Finding" on NBCMiami.com

    "Knight Arts Challenge Winners 2012 Winners: Sweat Records to Hip-Hop Symphony" in the Huffington Post

    "Unexpected Art: Knight Foundation Announces Winners of 34 Grants" on WLRN

    We’re also excited that close to half are from small organizations or individuals - the kind of grassroots, entrepreneurial projects that are very Miami. (Hip Hop Symphony, anyone?) Together, they’re helping to make art ubiquitous in Miami.

    Earlier this week, we also announced $23 million in new Knight funding - including to continue the Knight Arts Challenge through 2015 and fund projects at some of the region’s leading institutions. The support is part of our two-pronged approach to fund the organizations that provide artistic excellence everyday and the smaller projects that make our arts scene unique. We decided to increase local support after a study found that challenge funding was fueling the local arts scene.

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    Darkness Before Dawn at the Freedom Tower

    June 8, 2010 by Dennis Scholl

    Darkness Before Dawn at the Freedom Tower
    In order to understand light, it is said, we must also understand its opposite. In art, that can be translated literally as well as metaphorically. Although artworks have often been viewed as objects that bring beauty into life,...