Knight Arts Challenge


What is your best idea for the arts?

The Knight Arts Challenge funds the best ideas for engaging and enriching communities through the arts. In 2017, we’re giving away a total of $7.8 million to ideas in four cities: Akron, Ohio; Detroit; Miami and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Who should apply?

Anyone can enter the Knight Arts Challenge, whether you’re a nonprofit, a business or an individual artist. There are just three rules:

  • The idea is about the arts.
  • The project takes place in or benefits one of the four communities: Akron, Ohio, Detroit, South Florida or St. Paul.
  • You find other funding to match the Knight Foundation grant.

All it takes is a 150-word application to apply. Get your ideas ready; submissions open March 29 - April 28, 2017.


Why the Knight Arts Challenge?

At Knight Foundation, we believe the arts not only inspire, they connect us to our neighbors and where we live. In short, they build community.

Our goal is to make art general in communities, so that high-quality cultural experiences can be seen, heard and felt everywhere.

The challenge is part of a two-pronged strategy: Knight funds large arts institutions that provide programming every day, to help them better engage audiences, and it supports new ideas through the Knight Arts Challenge so that everyone has a shot at making their ideas a reality. 

How can I learn more?

Knight Foundation staff will be holding Community Conversations and Office Hours, where you can hear more about the challenge and get your questions answered.

How will Knight Foundation evaluate applications this year?

One thing you’ll notice about our Knight Arts Challenge winners is all have art at the core of their project, and reflect a high level of artistic excellence.

Beyond that, we look for ideas that are authentic to their city, and reflect the voices and values of the communities they serve.

And this year, we also are looking for projects that use technology — either as a tool for an artist’s work, as a way to attract and engage audiences, or to make art more accessible. Ultimately, the best edge is to have a great arts idea.

Want to know more about our arts strategy?

Read this piece about our overall strategy by Vice President for Arts Victoria Rogers and this piece about the challenge by Arts Program Officer Adam Ganuza.

Subscribe to receive Knight arts updates for your city:

We want to be surprised by the ideas we receive, and try not to prescribe what might be a good fit for the challenge. But below are some examples of past Knight Arts Challenge winners whose work authentically represents their city. 

Congratulations to the 2016 Knight Arts Challenge winning ideas in Miami, St. Paul, Akron and Detroit.




        St. Paul