Articles by

Nicole Chipi

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    Today, we’re excited to share the finalists of the 2015 Knight Arts Challenge St. Paul—61 ideas culled from 450-plus submissions from neighborhoods across St. Paul, Minn. The list below is packed with exciting ideas that reflect the new St. Paul, a diverse and collaborative city. We also see a few trends: ideas that will remix the classics with a St. Paul spin, ideas that re-envision public transit spaces as a platform for the arts and projects that seek to use the arts to address important community issues.     We will announce the winners on Oct. 6 after a panel of local artists and arts advocates review the finalists’ detailed proposals. Winners will share in $1.5 million. Thanks to everyone who submitted an idea, and we look forward to celebrating with the winners in the fall. Nicole Chipi is interim arts program officer for Knight Foundation.
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    Today, we’re excited to share the finalists of the 2015 Detroit Knight Arts Challenge - 70 ideas culled from 1,000-plus submissions from neighborhoods across Detroit. The list below is packed with exciting ideas from the city’s cultural community, and a few trends. This year, we saw projects focused on capturing and preserving Detroit’s historical and artistic legacy, reclaiming spaces for local artists to create new work and exchange ideas, and to release made-in Detroit musical recordings that celebrate the cities unique sound – from 70s gospel music reissues to Bengali songbooks. We will announce the winners on Oct. 27, once the finalists’ detailed proposals are reviewed by a panel of local artists and arts advocates. Thanks to everyone who submitted an idea, and we look forward to celebrating with the winners in the fall. 2015 Finalists 826michigan: Fostering a love of writing in youth at a pretend “robot factory” where Detroit students help humanize the bots by creating stories for them to tell Ali Lapetina: Helping students share the world they live in by repurposing a vacant structure into a large-scale camera obscura for gathering portraits and landscapes of the Brightmoor community Alicia Diaz: Exploring Detroit’s history as an important way station for both 19th century slaves and 20th century survivors of Central America’s civil wars through, “Tales of Two Underground Railroads,” a series of digital installations and spoken word performances along their paths Alise Alousi: Sharing the stories of Iraqi women refugees in Detroit through "1001 Days-Iraqi Women's Stories," a series of writing, drawing and photography workshops that culminate in an exhibit
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    There’s something very powerful about seeing an iconic work of art in person. If you’ve ever watched people looking at art in a museum, you know this is true. For a moment, the viewer is completely immersed in the work. That’s what makes visiting a museum so memorable. But what would happen if you bring those pieces out of the museum and took them into the streets? That’s what the Detroit Institute of Arts asked in 2010 when it first launched Inside|Out. The program brings ornately-framed, high-quality reproductions of masterworks from the museums iconic collection into the streets and parks of Detroit. To date, the DIA has installed more than 800 Inside|Out reproductions in 100 neighborhoods in and around Detroit. Six years later, there is still a waiting list for the program.
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    Zoetic Stage (above). Photo by Justin Namon. Today, we’re excited to share the finalists in the Knight Arts Challenge, 73 ideas culled from 1,000 plus submissions from as far north as West Palm Beach and as far south as Key West. The list below is packed with great ideas for our cultural community, and a few trends. This year, we saw asks for more artist residencies; a desire to use the arts to address issues facing South Florida, from climate change to our evolving relations with Cuba; and once again the push by neighborhoods including Doral, Sweetwater, Overtown and Kendall, to ensure their neighbors are involved in Miami’s cultural transformation. We will announce the winners on Nov. 30, once the finalists’ detailed proposals are reviewed by a panel of local artists and arts advocates. Thanks to everyone who submitted an idea. If you’re inspired by the list below and would like to submit your idea to the next Knight Arts Challenge, it will reopen in early 2016.
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    In just a few days, film creators and purveyors from across the eight Knight resident communities will be in Park City, Utah, to showcase their work, connect with artists from around the world, and discover new voices in independent cinema. We’re excited this year that Knight Foundation grantees will be well represented at the festival, with multiple entries from Miami’s own Borscht Corp. screening, including “The Sun Like a Big Dark Animal” by animation collective Bleeding Palm and “Papa Machete” by Jonathan David Kane and Jason Fitzroy Jeffers. Independent cinemas, screening organizations and festivals from across Knight communities will be in Park City as well, scouting new films to bring back to eager audiences at home. Among them will be the Michigan Theater, Filmadelphia, the Nightlight, Coral Gables Art Cinema and O Cinema, which recently opened its third South Florida location.
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    I’m in Philadelphia this week, and am excited to join Vice President for Arts Dennis Scholl and Philadelphia Program Director Donna Frisby-Greenwood in announcing $780,000 in support  to 19 individual artists and arts organizations. Over the past year, we’ve been building on the success of our three-year Knight Arts Challenge – providing new funding to challenge winners that were ready to scale up or try something new. Those past winners also connected us to a few organizations we hadn’t met yet, whose work is furthering our goal of advancing cultural growth and innovation while engaging the community through the arts. When I look at the list below, what excites me most is the spirit of collaboration that shines through. At the grassroots level, for example,  The Bearded Ladies Cabaret and Opera Philadelphia are collaborating on a "Popera" that examines the legacy of Andy Warhol,  bringing  an internationally renowned opera company and an emerging experimental cabaret group together to create some of the most innovative musical theatre I’ve ever seen. While many of the awards on the list are for the work of grassroots organizations or individual artists, some of Philadelphia’s anchor cultural institutions are getting in on the spirit of collaboration as well. A project at The African-American Museum in Philadelphia, “Beyond Sustenance,” will present community meals prepared by the Center for Culinary Enterprises alongside two art exhibits on African-American cultural and culinary traditions. The museum will also collaborate with the storytelling masters at First Person Arts, which will invite community members to share their personal experiences. At Knight, we believe that when these organic connections are made, it leads to experiences that not only push an artist or organizations practice, but also make for very memorable cultural experiences for communities. It makes sense that we would see so much of this collaboration in the ‘City of Brotherly Love,’ and we look forward to seeing the innovative work it is sure to produce. Find the full list of awards below, and be sure to check out these incredible projects for yourself! - Nicole Chipi, arts program associate, Knight Foundation
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    Freeform or Death | a documentary about wfmu. Crowdfunding producer: Vann Alexandra Daly. At Knight Foundation, we believe having a proposal for an innovative arts project is just one step; you also have to get the community to buy into your idea or your organization. In fact, asking for support is an art itself. Enter “crowd-sourceress” Vann Alexandra Daly, a film producer who will share her strategies during a South Florida workshop this month. “Running a crowdfunding campaign is a struggle,” says Daly, a Miami-born Brooklynite who is a master of passing the hat. “You have to be on it every day; it’s hustling.” On Thursday, Feb. 20, Knight Arts will host Daly at the Little Haiti Cultural Center for the free workshop. A Q&A and reception will follow. Daly’s tenacity and innovative strategies have successfully funded six films in the past year, raising more than a quarter of a million dollars. Her fundraising campaigns have supported films selected at Sundance and the Tribeca Film Festival, including “Changing the Game” and “Dancing in Jaffa.” Click here to register. The Little Haiti Cultural Center is located at 212 NE 59th Terrace in Miami.  Nicole Chipi, arts program associate at Knight Foundation
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    Miami International Film Festival from Knight Foundation on Vimeo. With the foundation’s roots in journalism, Knight believes in the power of storytelling to bring communities together. Over the past few years, we’ve watched independent filmmakers in the communities where we work engage audiences across the globe. Their stories are told in voices that could only come from their corner of the world, and yet these narratives speak to audiences thousands of miles away. Therein lies the power of cinema, where a story told authentically can resonate universally. Knight supports the Miami International Film Festival for this very reason. By giving a platform to filmmakers from around the world, the festival brings Miami audiences the stories that connect them to their own community and to each other. This connection is echoed in the films nominated for the festival’s Knight Competition and Knight Documentary awards. The festival has announced a powerhouse line-up of ten films competing in the Knight Competition, which consists of dramatic works from Latin America, Spain and Portugal, as well as Latino-themed works produced in the U.S.  The list includes  “To Kill a Man” - which took home the Grand Jury Prize for Best World Drama at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The Knight Documentary Competition boasts its own compelling line-up, including the North American Premiere of “The Art Rush,” a critical look at the contemporary art market that features Miami art collectors Don and Mera Rubell. The full list is below. The 2014 festival takes place March 7-16. We hope you get a chance to see and enjoy these great films.
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    Library Acts of Culture from Knight Foundation on Vimeo A few years ago, Knight Foundation set out to bring art and culture into people’s everyday lives by presenting surprise opera and classical ballet performances at markets, parks and airports. More than 1,000 of these Random Acts of Culture took place in eight communities across the United States. The reaction each time was amazing to watch, as people grabbed their cellphones for pics and videos, some moved to tears, reminded of the emotional connection they have to the arts. Now, as we think of new ways to bring the arts to more people, Knight Foundation has turned to libraries. As libraries continue to reinvent themselves in the digital age, they have become spaces that are more about creation than collection. They are amongst the most democratic community spaces we have, used by people from every walk of life, in every age group. Spread throughout neighborhoods, we thought they were an organic way to bring the arts to all communities. All that and more makes them the perfect stage for what we’re calling Library Acts of Culture™.