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    Each year, the Knight Arts Challenge helps arts organizations’ biggest ideas take flight. Along the way, the funding also allows them the time, tools and training to elevate their work, opens up their organizations to new audiences and much more. As this year’s challenge continues to accept submissions in four cities through April 28, we talked to several recent grantees about the impact of the challenge on their work.
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    One of the unique things about the Knight Arts Challenge is that it provides funding to individual artists, so that they can help make their ideas a reality. For some, it’s an opportunity to get the supplies or training they need For others, the funding and acknowledgement opens doors to new opportunities. As Knight Foundation continues to accept applications for the Knight Arts Challenge through April 28, I spoke to several recent arts grant winners about their experiences and how the Knight Foundation helped make their dream projects a reality.
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    Juanjo Mena is sure to shake up the classical music scene in South Florida when he makes his local debut on April 8 with the New World Symphony. The Basque maestro is considered by many to be the most distinguished Spanish conductor of his generation. Orchestras fight over his services, and he is considered a musician’s musician–the ultimate compliment in the classical music world.
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    While Philadelphia’s real estate market has boomed in recent years, and rapid development has become a pervasive fact of life in the city, reactions have understandably been a mixed bag. In the Fairhill neighborhood–between Germantown Avenue and Front Street north of Lehigh Avenue–the pressure has been particularly acute as the changes creep steadily northward. This area has long been heavily populated by Latino residents, particularly Puerto Ricans, but also Dominicans, Cubans, Colombians and a variety of other groups. With more than 80 percent of the population identifying as Hispanic, the Fifth Street corridor has come to be called “El Centro de Oro” (the Center of Gold) due to the deep cultural roots of Puerto Rican and Latino heritage.At the center of the community, amidst the many Puerto Rican-owned stores, restaurants and family businesses, there stands Taller Puertorriqueño, rightfully known as El Corazón Cultural del Barrio or the Cultural Heart of Latino Philadelphia. 
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    Now until April 28, Knight Foundation will be accepting applications to the Knight Arts Challenge in four cities: Miami, Detroit, St. Paul and Akron. The application is simple. Just a 150-word description of your best idea for the arts in your city. That’s it.
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    Run an image search for “poet” and you’ll get a lot of variations on white men dressed like either beatniks or old English nobles, most of them holding a page at arm’s length with wide-open mouths captured mid-elocution. The average person probably understands that this is a rather reductive stereotype, but the fact remains that poetry is frequently seen as an elitist pursuit.
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    When Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3) began the lengthy and involved process of applying for UNESCO City of Design status on behalf of Detroit—a goal that was successfully achieved at the end of 2015—they did so knowing it would help centralize the role that design plays in shaping cities, and the lives of their citizens. Their efforts were bolstered by $1 million in new funding from Knight Foundation to help engage community members in urban revitalization that leverages Detroit’s design legacy and creative industries.
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    Preceded by well-earned prestige in Europe and Latin America, the Cuban group Ars Longa recently made its Miami debut. The concert was the last stop in the group's first U.S. tour. The Baroque music ensemble, fresh from appearances in Milwaukee and New York, performed at Florida International University’s Wertheim Hall thanks to the efforts of the university and, especially, the Miami Bach Society, which has been sponsoring the annual Tropical Baroque Festival for almost two decades. Bringing Ars Longa to Miami proved a worthy undertaking. The early-music group–founded in 1994 by its current director, Teresa Paz, and Aland López–delivered an impeccable performance of original material that felt incredibly fresh for this part of the world, as well as uncovering seldom-heard treasures from a cultural legacy that merits further exploration.