What’s your best idea for the arts in St. Paul?

Arts / Article

Today, Knight Foundation is opening an opportunity for everyone—and we mean everyone—in St. Paul with a great idea for the arts. The Knight Arts Challenge is officially accepting applications. Now through May 5, we will be looking for the most innovative arts ideas to share $1.5 million in funding. You can submit them here at KnightArts.org.

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The first thing you need to know about the challenge is that submitting an idea isn’t like filling out a regular grant application. This is an ideas contest. We’re looking for projects that make us think differently about the arts and this community. And we believe those ideas should come from people like you who are already shaping this city through the arts.

Applying is easy – it’s a 150-word max application. It’s open to everyone: you don’t have to be a non-profit. You can be an individual artist or even a business. We recognize that good ideas come from everywhere, and look for the challenge to draw them in.

  1. Your project needs to follow just three rules:
  2. Your idea must be about the arts.
  3. Your project must take place in or benefit St. Paul.

And if selected, you must find funding to match the Knight Foundation grant.

Remember that first rule especially when you think about your application. A panel of local readers reviews each one, and helps us ensure that winning ideas reflect the high level of artistic excellence for which this city is known.

To help answer any questions you might have, we have scheduled a series of Community Q&As the week of April 13. Arts Program Officer Tatiana Hernandez will be there, along with St. Paul Program Director Polly Talen, to give a brief presentation and to hear from you. The schedule for those meetings is below.

The challenge is just one part of an $8 million, two-pronged investment Knight Foundation is making in the St. Paul arts. Earlier this year, we invested $4.5 million in five respected institutions that have helped the city earn its reputation as a cultural capital: The Arts PartnershipPenumbra Theatre, Springboard for the ArtsSt. Paul Chamber Orchestra and TU Dance.

Knight Foundation also believes in funding arts at the grassroots – so that everyone can participate. To Knight, the arts don’t just inspire. They help build community. To get there, everyone should be invited to take part in St. Paul’s cultural community as both creator and participant. That’s where the challenge comes in.

Over the next month, we will be looking for big ideas, inspiring ideas, uniquely St. Paul ideas.

You can apply right here at KnightArts.org. Give us your best idea. We just may fund it!

  • Sunday, April 13, 2 p.m.: Dayton’s Bluff Recreation Center, 800 Conway St., St. Paul
  • Sunday, April 13, 6 p.m.: Bedlam Lowertown, 213 Fourth St. E, St. Paul
  • Monday, April 14, 6 p.m.: Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave. S, Minneapolis
  • Tuesday, April 15, 8:30 a.m.: The Dubliner, 2162 University Ave W, St. Paul
  • Tuesday, April 15, 6 p.m.: Neighborhood House, The Wellstone Center, 179 Robie St. E, St. Paul
  • Wednesday, April 16, 6 p.m.: Penumbra Theatre, 270 North Kent St., St. Paul