Knight Foundation Awards Infuse Local Arts Scene with $3.7 Million

Miami 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, a community-wide contest by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to find the best ideas for the South Florida arts. More.

NEWS RELEASE | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Knight Foundation Awards Infuse Local Arts Scene with $3.7 Million

Miami 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, a community-wide contest by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to find the best ideas for the South Florida arts. The winners’ projects include:

  • Putting an orchestra back in the pit during Miami City Ballet’s 2010-2013 seasons;  
  • Creating an incubator for arts groups in Wynwood by opening a communal office, performance and gallery space at The LightBox at Goldman Warehouse; 
  • Launching an online site for selling locally-produced music and expanding community programming at Sweat Records, a store and center for independent music in Little Haiti.  

Knight Foundation created the five-year annual contest in 2008 to help bring the South Florida community together through the arts. 

“When art hits home, it needs no explanation. Art can move the individual and, when it’s a shared experience, can make the whole community better than it was, together,”  Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation, said.  “We don’t prescribe what kind of art we will support.  We want artists in South Florida to tell us what moves them and by supporting them, we think we move the soul of the community.”

The 2009 winners include individual artists, small nonprofits, and some of the region’s largest and most venerable arts institutions.

The projects will help increase exposure to contemporary art through exhibits at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens; deepen appreciation for locally-produced classical, opera, gospel and steel band music with new outreach programs and performances; and create a new draw for Miami Beach’s Art Deco district by converting the Wolfsonian/FIU’s museum’s exterior facades into public exhibition spaces by projecting on them images of the collection and new works. (A complete list of winners follows.)

“These projects will help artists provide more opportunities for South Floridians to connect and build a sense of community,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation’s Miami program director. 

The contest is part of Knight Foundation’s five-year, $40 million Knight Arts initiative, conceived to add to the impact of the arts on South Florida’s community. The first phase, announced in 2008, included $20 million in leadership endowments for the Miami Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the New World Symphony.

The endowments fund an art education program at Miami Art Museum in partnership with Miami-Dade schools that will welcome 40,000 students a year; a series of exhibitions by emerging artists at the Museum of Contemporary Art; and a new media program at New World Symphony that allows performers and audiences to share real-time experiences with other artists around the world through digital technology.

The Knight Arts Challenge will accept applications next year for the third round of its community grants contest. Because it is a matching grant program, winners must find funding to complement Knight Foundation’s investment. To find out more, or sign up for e-mail updates, visit

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 community engagement and lead to transformational change. For more, visit


Media Contact: Marc Fest, 305-908-2677; [email protected]

Knight Arts Challenge 2009 Winners


BankAtlantic Foundation

Award: $100,000

Summary: BankAtlantic Foundation will expose more students to the arts by expanding a program that partners arts nonprofits with schools. To do that, BankAtlantic managers from more than 30 locations across South Florida will team up with a local organization and an elementary school. Together, they will organize field trips or in-class presentations by visual and performing artists.

Applicant: Founded in 1994, the BankAtlantic Foundation’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in the Florida communities served by BankAtlantic. Working together to carry out the mission, the BankAtlantic Foundation and BankAtlantic associates give their time, talent, and resources to help children and families in need, provide arts and cultural exposure to the broader community, support education and a wide scope of nonprofit organizations and charitable causes in support of our community. For information, visit


Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival

Award: $70,000

Summary: The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival will celebrate global cultures and foster dialogue in South Florida through a free film and community discussion series called Around the World in 80 Nights. Local groups whose country or ethnicity is represented on screen will introduce the film, facilitate a Q & A period and, whenever possible, enlighten the audience about their local community and customs.

Applicant: Now entering its 25th year The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival is the world’s longest and Florida’s biggest film festival. While the festival runs 21 days Oct. 22 – Nov. 11, 2010, there are also year-round screenings at a variety of venues. The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival is truly a vacation from ordinary film. Visit


Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Award: $200,000

Summary: The Coral Gables garden will expose new audiences to contemporary art by exhibiting large-scale outdoor sculpture among its expansive trees and foliage. Guests will have the opportunity to take in the beauty of the garden and learn about fruit and vegetable gardens, tropical plants, native species and conservation while enjoying the artists’ works.

Applicant: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is dedicated to exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants. It is one of the premier research and education-based gardens in the world and a recognized international leader in conservation. Fairchild houses the National Palm and Cycad Collections as recognized by the American Public Gardens Association (APGA); an education program reaching nearly 60,000 school children per year; hosts popular events like the International Mango, Orchid and Chocolate Festivals, the Ramble, concerts, affiliated plant society shows and sales and more; partners with communities and schools to establish edible gardens, and, is a not-for-profit organization relying on the support of its 45,000 members and benefactors. Visit


: Florida Grand Opera

Award: $200,000

Summary: “Opera FREE-FOR-ALL” aims to identify and cultivate a new audience for opera by holding a drawing for free tickets to a 2010 performance of Carmen. Some 2,200 tickets will be given away to the public through a chance-giveaway. Those entries not receiving free tickets will get a code entitling them to purchase a ticket to a different performance of Carmen at a discount.

Applicant: Florida Grand Opera, celebrating its 69th anniversary season of continuous performances, stands as the oldest performing arts organization in Florida and the seventh oldest opera company in America. Florida Grand Opera is one of the resident companies of The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, where it presents its Miami performances in the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House. Fort Lauderdale performances of each production are given at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Today, Florida Grand Opera serves the seventh largest opera audience in the country. Visit


Friends of the Bass Museum

Award: $240,000

Summary: [email protected] aims to promote imaginative thinking among early elementary school children through a curriculum-based art program. Developed by the Bass Museum of Art in conjunction with Stanford University’s acclaimed (Institute of Design), IDEA fuses art with Design Thinking, a creative process focused on building ideas by withholding judgments (i.e., there is no right or wrong). This method of problem-solving eliminates fear of failure and encourages brainstorming and prototyping. Miami-Dade teachers, who will be trained at the museum, will employ the curriculum at school and then invite students to the Bass’ Free Family Sundays where there will be coordinated activities.

Applicant: The mission of the Bass Museum of Art is to collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret the visual arts for the residents and visitors of the City of Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County and Southeast Florida. The museum achieves its purpose by developing and mounting exhibitions from its permanent collection and presenting loan exhibitions from local, national and international collections. In 2009-10, the vision of the museum is to create relationships between art from the past and contemporary art. Its education and outreach programs strive to broaden communication with diverse audiences while deepening the art experience of school children and visitors. Visit


: Girls’ Club

Award: $10,000

Summary: This grant will nurture the career of Miami artist Frances Trombly by supporting an exhibit at Girls’ Club, an alternative gallery space dedicated to contemporary female artists. Girls’ Club will commission Trombly to create an exhibit of hand-woven canvasses entitled “Paintings.” An accompanying limited edition artist’s book will be produced with hand-woven pages and a text commissioned by a recognized arts writer. The exhibit will provide Trombly the opportunity to realize an ambitious project, while increasing Girls’ Club’s stature and the awareness of cultural offerings in Fort Lauderdale.

Applicant: Founded in 2006 by Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz, Girls’ Club is a 501(C)3 foundation and alternative space exhibiting contemporary art by women. Cutting edge works in diverse media are presented in exhibitions free and open to the public for a full year. Girls’ Club is located in a dynamic building designed by Margi Nothard of Glavovic Studio in Fort Lauderdale. Girls’ Club’s mission is to educate the public, nurture the careers of female artists and to serve as a resource for art students, scholars, curators and practicing artists. A special commitment is made to expose the work of local artists to a broader national and international audience. Girls’ Club is committed to inspiring individuals and raising the level of cultural offerings in Broward County. Visit


The LightBox at Goldman Warehouse

Award: $400,000

Summary: This grant will help create an arts incubator in the Wynwood Arts District by funding The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse. The space will house offices for multiple performing arts organizations; separate rehearsal, performance and recording studios; a visual arts gallery and a lounge/café within its 12,000 square feet. Spearheaded by Tony Goldman and Miami Light Project, this project aims to reduce costs across the board for several nonprofit arts organizations, encourage further artistic collaboration between organizations and artists and serve as a catalyst for growth and development in Wynwood by offering year round performance and cultural programming.


Founded in 1989, Miami Light Project is a not-for-profit cultural organization which presents live performances by innovative dance, music and theater artists from around the world; supports the development of new work by South Florida-based artists; and offers educational programs for students of every age. Since its inception, Miami Light Project has reached a diverse cross-section of communities throughout Miami-Dade County with an extensive outreach effort that includes partnerships with other arts organizations, universities and social service agencies. Miami Light Project is a cultural forum to explore some of the issues that define contemporary society. Visit

For more than 40 years, Goldman Properties has recognized the value in depressed urban areas, created a vision of their future and rejuvenated them, transforming declining historical and arts districts into thriving global destinations. Utilizing this approach, Tony Goldman was a driving force behind the transformation of the Upper West side, the Wall Street Financial District and Soho in lower Manhattan, Center City in Downtown Philadelphia and the Art Deco District in Miami Beach. He is now applying his vision, experience and expertise to the evolving Wynwood Arts District in Miami. Visit


: Hannah Kahn Poetry Foundation

Award: $15,000

Summary: In order to increase appreciation for the literary arts in South Florida, the Hannah Kahn Poetry Foundation will launch an author reading series. At these events, the audience will have a chance to hear from and interact with some of the world’s best-known contemporary poets.

Applicant: The Hannah Kahn Poetry Foundation, Inc. was born with goals to be true to the highest standards of poetry, ethical standards and moral values exemplified by the late poet Hannah Kahn, a resident of Miami for almost 50 years. Kahn wrote more than 400 poems, and saw many of them published in two of her own books, Eve’s Daughter, and Time, Wait; anthologies and national magazines. She was poetry editor for the Miami Herald for 16 years, and winner of the International sonnet competition of the Poetry Society of Great Britain and America, as well as other national and international awards. Following her death in 1988, a group of her former students and colleagues established the Hannah Kahn Poetry Foundation, which sponsors poetry readings, scholarships, contests and worthwhile causes. Visit


Kathleen Hudspeth

Award: $150,000

Summary: Turn-Based Press will promote a culture of printmaking by creating a communal print shop serving the arts community. The organization will offer expertise in addition to tools and materials to artists for the production and investigation of print and book arts. Equipment may include an etching press, letterpress, screen-printing equipment and bookbinding related items.

Applicant: Miami native Kathleen Hudspeth has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Miami in Printmaking. Her work has been in numerous local and national venues, including the Fredric Snitzer Gallery, the Bass Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Washington, D.C. Her critical writings have been published in Art Papers, The Sun Post, and her (now defunct) blog, The Next Few Hours. She has been a visiting critic and lecturer at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, and a volunteer docent for eight years at the Miami Art Museum. Hudspeth has been interested in starting a community print shop since 1995. Aware of the complexities of such an endeavor, Hudspeth deferred her dream in favor of garnering more experience in both art and business. This past spring, approaching her upcoming graduation from the University of Miami, Hudspeth finally felt the time was right to begin to realize this long-term goal.


Locust Projects, Inc.

Award: $100,000

Summary: “Locust Projects: Out of the Box” is a new initiative that will increase exposure to contemporary art by commissioning site-specific, public artworks. Created by a different artist each year, the work will be exhibited on a high profile billboard in Miami-Dade. The experimental project aims to challenge the billboard as a tool for commercial advertising while giving artists an opportunity to reconsider their own artistic practice.

Applicant: Locust Projects is an alternative, not for profit exhibition space dedicated to providing contemporary visual artists the freedom to experiment with new ideas without the pressures of gallery sales or limitations of conventional exhibition spaces. Artists are encouraged to create site-specific installations as an extension of their representative work and Locust Projects offers them a vibrant Miami experience to develop their ideas and methods. Locust Projects is committed to offering an approachable and inviting venue for the Miami and international art community to experience the work and meet the artist. Visit


Miami City Ballet, Inc.

Award: $900,000

Summary: This grant will showcase Miami City Ballet and the region’s cultural significance by providing orchestral accompaniment during the 2010-13 repertory seasons. The ballet canceled its orchestral agreement mid-season last year because of a lack of funding. Returning the orchestra to the pit, beginning with the milestone 25th anniversary season, will help the Ballet maintain its national reputation, enhance performances and create 45 jobs for musicians.

Applicant: In 1985, a leading Miami arts advocate, Toby Lerner Ansin, invited Edward Villella to consult with her and several associates about founding a classical ballet company in South Florida. A year later, Miami City Ballet’s first performance began with choreography by George Balanchine. Indeed, Balanchine – for whom Villella had danced for 18 years at New York City Ballet – became the foundation of both the Company’s repertory and style. Miami City Ballet holds the largest Balanchine repertory after the New York City Ballet and has also triumphed performing masterpieces by Jerome Robbins, Marius Petipa, Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor and many others. With its international dancers, and those developed through the Company’s school, Miami City Ballet has won a tremendous national and international reputation – and in under 25 years. It annually performs at major venues in Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Naples, Florida and tours nationally. Visit


Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Award: $125,000

Summary: This grant will increase opportunities for blind and sighted artists by expanding the center’s unique music inclusion program, which helps develop marketable job skills while fostering talent. Participants will write and perform songs while mastering full production skills under the tutelage of skilled professionals. This program is a national model for inclusion and workforce development, with several former participants now employed in the mainstream music industry.

Applicant: The Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, founded in 1931, is the largest and oldest private agency serving the visually impaired in Florida and has unique training programs with a national reputation for best practices that lead to mainstream employment for the visually impaired, such as, its music production program. Other programs at the Miami Lighthouse include early intervention services for mothers of blind babies, summer camps for visually impaired children, vocational rehabilitation and job training for adults, independent living skills for seniors, low vision assessments and free eye care to needy children who have no way to get eye examinations and glasses after they fail their vision screening at their school. Visit


Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs

Award: $20,000

Summary: The Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs will launch, a one-stop, online source for free classified postings to serve the local arts community. This dedicated platform will offer listings to buy, sell, loan or donate equipment and materials needed by artists and cultural groups, ranging from computers and office equipment to theater lighting and sound equipment. Notices will be posted for job openings and for activities like workshops, classes, arts conferences and professional development opportunities. Resource sharing and collaboration are key survival strategies, especially in the current economy. is an innovative way to create a virtual marketplace for the exchange of materials, equipment, information and opportunities.

Applicant: The Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council develop cultural excellence, diversity and participation throughout Miami-Dade County by strategically creating and promoting opportunities for artists and cultural organizations, and the residents and visitors who are their audiences. The department directs the Art in Public Places program and its board, the Art in Public Places Trust, commissioning, curating, maintaining and promoting the county’s art collection. The department, the council and the trust advance, coordinate and support Miami-Dade County’s more than 1,000 not-for-profit cultural organizations as well as thousands of resident artists through: grants and technical assistance, cultural facilities development and improvement, arts education programs and more. Visit


New World Symphony

Award: $75,000

Summary: The symphony’s Sound and Sight Video Series seeks to transform the way the audience experiences live classical music by projecting video and/or images choreographed to specific pieces during performances. As a part of this series, this grant will fund a visually enhanced work that will be premiered during the opening of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Symphony campus.

Applicant: The New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy (NWS), is dedicated to the artistic, professional and personal development of outstanding young musicians. Its fellowship program provides top graduates of music programs in the United States the opportunity to enhance their music education with the finest professional training. After an intensive three-year program of performance and training, NWS Fellows emerge from the experience prepared for professional positions in orchestras and ensembles around the world. In the 21 years since its founding, more than 730 alumni have gone on to make a difference in the music profession worldwide. In the hopes of joining this program, over 1,000 musicians compete for about 35 available fellowships each year. Visit


The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County

Award: $200,000

Summary: With this grant, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County will broaden local appreciation for gospel music by continuing its Free Gospel Sundays program for a third and fourth year. The series celebrates the gospel tradition with concerts open to the public in the Knight Concert Hall. Performers include local gospel soloists and choirs and nationally recognized headlining artists.

Applicant: As a focal point of greater Miami-Dade’s diverse cultural life, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County enlightens, educates and entertains the South Florida community through transformational arts and cultural experiences. The Adrienne Arsht Center is a Miami venue not only for its three resident companies (Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony), but also for many smaller South Florida arts organizations that perform in its theaters on a regular basis, as well as for the finest popular and classical performances from around the world. With state-of-the-art performance facilities in Miami for the first time, the center offers South Florida audiences the best and most diverse theater, music, and dance-with a dedication to entertain, challenge, and educate all segments of the community. Visit


: Sweat Records, Inc.

Award: $150,000

Summary: This grant will help Sweat Records, a store and community resource that offers live performances, film screenings and an art gallery, strengthen and expand its cultural offerings. Sweat Records will hold additional workshops on a variety of cultural and educational topics. In addition, Sweat Records will develop an e-commerce site showcasing music and other goods made in South Florida.

Applicant: Sweat Records was established in 2005 in order to unite and strengthen Miami’s growing independent music scene. After surviving Hurricane Wilma destroying its first location, Sweat has settled into its permanent home: a full storefront, organic coffee bar and event space next door to Churchill’s Pub in Little Haiti. Sweat supports local artists and presents over 100 diverse events every year to further enrich Miami’s cultural offerings. Visit


Teatro Avante

Award: $150,000

Summary: Teatro Avante will elevate the importance of Hispanic theater in Miami by expanding its 25th annual International Hispanic Theatre Festival in 2010. The educational component, co-sponsored by the Florida Center for the Literary Arts at Miami Dade College and Mexico’s Rodolfo Usigli Theatre Research Center, in collaboration with the Mexican Cultural Institute in Miami, will include a conference on Latin American theatre, post-performance forums, visual art and other exhibits.

Applicant: Founded in 1979, Teatro Avante is a non-profit cultural organization whose mission is to preserve the Hispanic cultural heritage through the presentation and production of theatre from around the world. The company has staged works by major Hispanic and non-Hispanic contemporary and classical playwrights and represented the United States at festivals in Latin America, Europe and Asia. In 1994, the Atlanta Olympic Committee’s Cultural Olympiads honored Teatro Avante with the Regional Arts Award, and since 1995 Teatro Avante has received four prestigious international prizes – Spain’s “FIT de Cadiz-Atahualpa del Cioppo,” “Federico García Lorca” and “Ollantay” awards and Bolivia’s “Kusillo.” Teatro Avante is a producing and presenting organization, and the award-winning International Hispanic Theatre Festival of Miami is one of its achievements. Visit


UNCF/United Negro College Fund

Award: $80,000

Summary: This grant will expand the public’s knowledge of a culturally significant musical instrument by supporting the Florida Memorial University Steel Band program through scholarships. The funds will cover a portion of tuition plus expenses involved with touring and an annual youth festival. The students will travel to the Steel Band Festival at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida and take part in Florida Memorial University’s annual Youth Steel Festival, now in its 10th year. The grant will help students gain experience in arranging, band management and production.

Applicant: UNCF is the nation’s oldest and most successful minority higher education assistance organization. UNCF’s mission is to increase minority degree attainment by reducing financial barriers to college. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship programs, mentoring and summer enrichment programs and provides financial support to its 39 member institutions. UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country, including at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens. Visit


The Wolfsonian/Florida International University Foundation

Award: $500,000

Summary: This project, entitled The Art of Illumination, will expand the Wolfsonian’s reach by converting the museum’s exterior facades into public exhibition spaces, using the latest digital technology and lighting systems. The images will range from large-scale digital reproductions of pieces in the museum’s collection to contemporary works that convey the museum’s mission to illuminate the active role of design in shaping every day life experiences. The technology will be flexible to allow for displays in a variety of formats, including images, video, film, photography and static and/or moving text – even interactive mobile technology. The project will elevate the museum as a civic landmark while contributing to Miami Beach’s reputation as a center for art and design.

Applicant: The Wolfsonian-FIU is a museum and research center that uses objects to illustrate the persuasive power of art and design, to explore what it means to be modern and to tell the story of social, historical and technological changes that have transformed our world. The collections comprise approximately 120,000 objects from the period of 1885 to 1945 – the height of the Industrial Revolution to the end of the Second World War – in a variety of media. The Wolfsonian encourages people to see objects in new ways, to learn from the past as they shape the present and influence the future. Since 1997, The Wolfsonian has been a division within Florida International University, one of the youngest, most dynamic and fastest growing urban universities in the United States. Visit


Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Award: $80,000

Summary: This grant will highlight Vizcaya’s historic and artistic importance by commissioning site-specific contemporary artworks inspired by this National Historic Landmark. The works will be on display for a minimum of two to three months. Vizcaya also will host companion educational programs for the public. The program aims to encourage new perspectives on Vizcaya’s history, spaces and collections while enhancing its role as a place for innovative artistic production.

Applicant: Vizcaya was built by American businessman James Deering, who wintered on the property from 1916-1925. Adapting European traditions in architecture, décor and garden design to the Miami subtropical environment, Vizcaya was one of the grandest American estates of its time. Today, Vizcaya includes a house filled with art and furnishings, ten acres of gardens, a hardwood forest and a group of original buildings. Vizcaya is a National Historic Landmark, owned and operated by Miami-Dade County and accredited by the American Association of Museum. Visit