Two-time winner of past Knight Arts Challenge, the Miami Light Project, shares how its helping to transform community

Arts / Article

The Miami Light Project presents live performance by innovative dance, music and theater artists from around the world and supports the development of new work by South Florida-based artists. In 2009, the project won a Knight Arts Challenge grant to create a hub for creative activity in Wynwood by opening an office, performance and gallery space for a diverse group of arts organizations. The organization also received a challenge grant in 2008 for the Miami Light Project’s Here & Now Festival which increases the development of original, locally-produced performance art. Knight interviewed Beth Boone, artistic & executive director at the Miami Light Project, to find out what winning a Knight Art Challenge grant meant to her organization and how the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse space is helping to transform the community.

Knight Foundation: You were a challenge winner both in 2008 and 2009. Since then, what has winning meant for your organization? Beth Boone: Its fair enough to say that funding from the Knight Foundation challenge grant program has single handedly helped our organization to re-invent ourselves and move into a needed, new direction.  The program is timely for our organization, for our community, and for our field at large.

KF: How is the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse space helping to transform the community – both the neighborhood where it’s situated and the cultural community? What are you able to do there that you weren’t able to do before? BB: The Light Box has ignited this neighborhood with exciting cultural activity happening every day of the week; whether rehearsals, workshops or performances.  This was previously happening only on one Saturday a month.  By having our own home – where we make and also present our work, as well as doing our administrative work – has changed us in every way imaginable.   Your own home changes everything: your programs, your  identity, your fundraising – your joy and pride in “ownership.”

KF: Looking back on the process of winning a grant, what, if anything surprised you about the process? BB: How challenging it is to implement your challenge when your challenge involves building a space!

KF: What advice would you offer applicants who want to apply but might be worried about finding additional matching funds? BB: Apply anyway! Never let your fear of fundraising stop you from applying. You will find that the community and other funders are willing to give and support a worthwhile project, especially when  you can prove you have already received initial support from such a significant funder as Knight Foundation.

Have questions about the 2012 Knight Arts Challenge Miami? Don’t miss our town hall meeting on March 14  at the Little Haiti Cultural Center. The deadline for the Knight Arts Challenge Miami is March 19. Apply now!