South Florida arts projects Get $8 million boost

Knight Foundation contest winners to help transform arts scene and touch people across age, race and class MIAMI – Thirty-one ideas to help transform the South Florida arts scene were awarded $8 million today from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The first-year winners of the Knight Arts Partnership include sculptors, musicians, prominent institutions and recently formed galleries – all of whom will raise the standards for arts in South Florida and bring together the region’s diverse population through their work. Extras

“Nothing defines us more – or better – than our diversity. But the challenge of that diversity is to build a sense of community that is inclusive based on experiences and values we share. The arts in South Florida have the power to fuse culture, raise standards and enrich our collective life,” Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation, said. “These 31 winners represent a creative energy that can transform the local landscape.”

The winners include projects to:

  • Create a two-year, fellow residency program for up-and-coming artists to be taught by prominent international artists. Run by the University of Miami in partnership with developer Craig Robins, it will be headquartered in Miami’s Design District;
  • Advance Miami’s film industry by forming a non-profit institute to fund and advise local filmmakers;
  • Support Conductor James Judd in bringing classical music to Miami-Dade’s public schools in an intensive way, together with an annual festival featuring student and professional work.

The grants for the first year of the Arts Partnership contest range from $18,000 to $1.8 million and will touch South Floridians across age, race and class. Young, aspiring singers will be able to join a little league-type network of neighborhood choirs. Movie buffs will watch art films at an independent cinema. And jazz fans will be able to participate in a monthly jam session with professional musicians, and also attend a Haitian/Creole jazz series with artists from around the globe.

Knight Foundation asked the community at large for its best ideas, and received 1,643 applications.

“That’s a testament to this community’s creativity and enthusiasm for the arts,” said Lorenzo Lebrija, Knight’s Miami-Dade and Broward County program director.

Some of the projects, including a collaboration between the Miami City Ballet and the Cleveland Orchestra, will create beautiful works for the public to enjoy. Others, like the University of Miami’s project, will enhance the infrastructure artists need to thrive in South Florida.

“The University of Miami is proud to be a part of this exciting collaboration with the Knight Foundation and our alumnus Craig Robins,” said University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala. “The Knight Foundation’s dramatic investment in South Florida arts forges a new model for contemporary art education that is interdisciplinary and global, and one that capitalizes on Miami’s growing prominence in the international arts world.” The contest is just one part of the five-year, $40 million Knights Arts Partnership. The first phase, announced in February, 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.

Knight’s grant announcement adds to the momentum building in the South Florida arts scene, with signature performance spaces like the Knight Concert Hall and acclaimed events including Art Basel Miami Beach and the Miami International Book Fair and International Film Festival. The community which a quarter century ago had just 100 arts organizations now boasts more than 1,200.

The Knight Arts Partnership, which is a matching grant program, will accept applications next year for the second round of its community grants challenge. To find out more, or sign up for e-mail updates, visit

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation invests in journalism excellence worldwide and in the vitality of U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects with the potential to create transformational change. For more, visit 2008 KAC Miami Winners

Title: Private: Art + Research Residency Program

  • Winner: The University of Miami
  • Applicant: U.M. President Donna Shalala
  • Amount: $1.8 million
  • Summary: To create a post-graduate residency program for up-and-coming artists, to be mentored by renowned international artists.*
  • Winner: Miami Music Project
  • Applicant: James Judd and Juvenal Correa-Salas
  • Amount: $1 million
  • Summary: To extend the joy of music to students in Miami-Dade schools through a year-round classical education program culminating in an annual festival with performances by youth and professional musicians
  • Winner: Miami World Cinema Center
  • Applicant: Patrick de Bokay, Sam Rega, Josh Miller
  • Amount:  $750,000
  • Summary: To assist the prosperity of the Miami’s independent film community by establishing an extensive institute for connecting, funding and advising local film makers
  • Winner: Seraphic Fire, Inc.
  • Applicant: Patric Dupré Quigley
  • Amount: $684,750
  • Summary: To use music and teamwork to stimulate under appreciated neighborhoods by building youth choirs across greater Miami
  • Winner: National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts
  • Applicant: Christina DePaul
  • Amount: $600,000
  • Summary: To develop young South Florida artists by creating a new regional competition as part of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts’ youngARTS program
  • Winner: Young At Art of Broward
  • Applicant: Mindy Shrago
  • Amount: $500,000
  • Summary: To create the first art museum specially designed for children
  • Winner: LegalArt
  • Applicant: LegalArt
  • Amount: $400,000
  • Summary: To ensure longevity for the careers of local artists through a program that will provide permanent affordable work space, housing and legal counseling
  • Winner: Living Arts Trust, Inc.
  • Applicant: Kareem Tabsch and Vivian Marthell
  • Amount: $400,000
  • Summary: To construct Miami’s first art-house cinema so that the community can experience gripping, educational and thought provoking independent films
  • Winner: Classical South Florida
  • Applicant: Doug Evans, President
  • Amount: $250,000
  • Summary:  To ensure the development of South Florida’s only classical radio station by supplying challenge funds to motivate listeners’ financial support.
  • Winner: Miami City Ballet
  • Applicant: Dan Lewis, Mike Eidson
  • Amount: $250,000
  • Summary: To support an artistic collaboration between the Cleveland Orchestra and the Miami City Ballet.
  • Winner: Miami Light Project
  • Applicant: Beth Boone
  • Amount: $200,000
  • Summary: To increase the development of original, locally produced performance art through expanding the accomplished Here & Now Festival
  • Winner: Miami Downtown Development Authority
  • Applicant: Leo Zabezhinsky
  • Amount: $150,000
  • Summary: To offer a new concert series, create a sense of community and increase entertainment offerings in Downtown Miami.
  • Winner: ArtCenter South Florida
  • Applicant: Jeremy Chestler
  • Amount: $150,000
  • Summary: To give local artists access to computers and cutting-edge software by constructing a digital arts center.
  • Winner: Bas Fisher Invitational
  • Applicant: Naomi Fisher, Jim Drain, Kathryn Marks
  • Amount: $150,000
  • Summary: To provide young, unrepresented artists with free exhibition space and events by supporting a local art gallery.
  • Winner: City of Miami Beach
  • Applicant: Gary Farmer
  • Amount: $150,000
  • Summary:  To continue providing artists and residents with a free, city-wide celebration of the arts by installing Sleepless Night as an annual Miami Beach tradition
  • Winner: Performing Arts Center Trust
  • Applicant: Larry Wilker
  • Amount: $100,000
  • Summary: To plan for an annual performing arts festival celebrating hemispheric art
  • Winner: Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
  • Applicant: Scott Schiller, executive Vice President
  • Amount: $100,000
  • Summary: To provide free, monthly gospel concerts at the Arsht Center
  • Winner: New World School of the Arts
  • Applicant: Mercedes Quiroga
  • Amount: $90,000
  • Summary: To allow student artists to exhibit their work by creating a multipurpose exposition space in Wynwood with a focus on education and community outreach and participation. at the New World School of the Arts
  • Winner: ArtFormz, LLC
  • Applicants: Alejandro Mendoza and Alette Simmons-Jimenez
  • Amount: $90,000
  • Summary: To create an outdoor exhibit of 10 giant, inflatable sculptures to be displayed in Miami’s Bayfront Park during Art Basel week
  • Winner: Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center
  • Applicant: Gepsie Metellus
  • Amount: $80,000
  • Summary: To expose the community to a major part of South Florida’s cultural background through the creation of a live Haitian jazz series
  • Winner: Philp Brooker
  • Applicant: Philp Brooker
  • Amount: $75,000
  • Summary:  To inspire pride and participation in Miami’s developing cultural scene by creating an annual poster competition based around capturing the spirit of the city
  • Winner: Village of Key Biscayne
  • Applicant: Jud Kurlancheek
  • Amount: $75,000
  • Summary: To create two new plazas designed by artist Jose Bedia on the southern part of Key Biscayne that will highlight South Florida’s environment
  • Winner: Naomi Fisher
  • Applicant: Naomi Fisher
  • Amount: $40,000
  • Summary: To promote South Florida’s inherent relationship with art and the environment through the launch of a series of performance art projects presented in outdoor spaces
  • Winner: Design and Architecture Senior High
  • Applicant: Stacey Mancuso, principal
  • Amount: $40,000
  • Summary: To convert an unused parking lot into a public art space for high school students to showcase their talent
  • Winner: Miami Lyric Opera
  • Applicant: Raffaele Cardone
  • Amount: $40,000
  • Summary: To help Miami’s alternative opera company promote and cultivate local talent while presenting quality operas.
  • Winner: Chris Chrebet
  • Applicant: Chris Chrebet
  • Amount: $30,000
  • Summary: To build South Florida’s reputation as a center for electronic music by establishing an internet-based community platform for networking and showcasing local talent
  • Winner: Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Applicant: Michael Spring, Director, Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Amount: $30,000
  • Summary: To increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of Miami-Dade’s Art in Public Places collection by creating an easily accessible digital inventory
  • Winner: NAME Publications Inc.
  • Applicant: Gean Moreno
  • Amount: $30,000
  • Summary: To increase exposure for local art and artists by developing a nonprofit publishing house for Miami-based art books
  • Winner: Florida International University
  • Applicant: Carol Damian, director
  • Amount: $25,000
  • Summary: To give permanent access to the Frost Museum’s extensive art collection through an  interactive, virtual gallery.
  • Winner: Upper Eastside Garden
  • Applicant: Peter Rozek
  • Amount: $25,000
  • Summary: To use the Upper East Side Garden and its mini-golf course to display sculptures and murals made by local artists, and initiate an educational design program for children
  • Winner: Twenty Twenty Projects
  • Applicant: Scott Murray
  • Amount: $20,000
  • Summary: To preserve the integrity of creative works by local artists during Art Basel by providing free display space without restrictions
  • Winner: Gold Coast Jazz Society
  • Applicant: Pam Dearden
  • Amount: $18,000
  • Summary: To launch free, monthly jazz ‘jam’ sessions where students of all levels can play alongside professionals.