45 winning ideas to share $2.24 million in 2016 Knight Arts Challenge Detroit – Knight Foundation

45 winning ideas to share $2.24 million in 2016 Knight Arts Challenge Detroit

DETROIT – Nov. 3, 2016 – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has named 45 winning ideas in the 2016 Knight Arts Challenge, a communitywide initiative funding the best ideas for engaging and enriching Detroit through the arts. This year’s grantees, which will share more than $2.24 million, were announced Thursday night at an awards celebration at The Fillmore Detroit.

Emerging from nearly 1,000 submissions, the winning ideas propose a broad range of projects – with ideas to transform public spaces, including the front of the Michigan Bell Telephone building with new light art and video works, to create a new musical based on a local artist’s journey, and to create a position for a Detroit youth poet laureate. The list includes international collaborations, in addition to bringing art to neighborhoods and engaging the local community in the creative process.

“Whether you are in Downtown, Grandmont Rosedale, Southwest Detroit or Brightmoor, we want you to be able to engage with, delight in and be challenged by art. Knight Arts Challenge winners help accomplish that by taking their ambition and ideas, combined with the fuel of Knight funding, to bring art to people and make this an even more vibrant community,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation.

Included in the winning ideas are seven local cultural organizations receiving support for projects that explore the origins and impact of Detroit’s 1967 civil unrest. In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the event, Knight Foundation is supporting artists and cultural organizations that are enriching the dialogue surrounding the causes and legacy of this defining event.

The Knight Arts Challenge, now in its fourth year in Detroit, is open to anyone. Applicants must follow only three rules: 1) The idea must be about the arts; 2) The project must take place in or benefit Detroit; 3) The grant recipient must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.

“Over the last four years, Knight Arts Challenge winners have elevated the role of creatives in writing the next chapter of the city’s history,” said Katy Locker, Detroit program director for Knight Foundation. “The challenge has empowered a community with the drive to create change by establishing a point of entry for artists to access the resources needed to make their ideas a reality.”

The challenge is part of a $29 million investment in the Detroit arts that Knight Foundation first announced in the fall of 2012. Knight Foundation’s commitment includes support for the six years of the challenge, through 2018, and $10.25 million to some of the region’s premiere cultural institutions, including the Arab American National Museum, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theatre and the Sphinx Organization.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.

Knight Arts Challenge Winning Ideas
12-and-Under Super Cool Poetry Open Mic and Workshop
Applicant: 12-and-Under Super Cool Poetry Open Mic
Award: $15,000
To create a youth-driven open mic series, hosted by a 10-year-old poet, at prominent cultural institutions in Detroit

Dangerous Times, Dangerous Responses
Applicant: Alicia Diaz
Award: $79,359
To examine Detroit’s role as a sanctuary for Central American refugees in the 1980s through a multimedia exhibition

Detroit Three – ARTS.BLACK
Applicant: ARTS.BLACK
Award: $15,000
To document and magnify the city’s arts scene with an online journal of critical discourse shared from the black perspective

The Other Hand
Applicant: A Host of People
Award: $25,000
To celebrate difference with a new experimental play and performance series exploring the in-between spaces of those who hold multiple identities of race, culture, gender and sexuality

JazzSpace Detroit: A Photographic Journey
Applicant: Barbara Barefield
Award: $20,000
To share Detroit’s musical heritage by creating a permanent, accessible archive of Barefield’s jazz photos, music posters and art, to update her 1979 book “JazzSpace Detroit,” and present a concert and exhibit representing 40 years of jazz and creative musicians

Beautifully Wrapped and the Head Wrap Expo
Applicant: Beautifully Wrapped
Award: $45,000
To explore themes of identity, fashion and cultural assimilation through “Beautifully Wrapped,” an interfaith, traveling exhibit on the art of head wrapping among Sikh Indians, Rastafarians, the Amish, Muslims and others

AfroFuture Past: Dance, Fashion and the Diaspora
Applicant: Bree Gant
Award: $8,000
To explore the intersection of African cultural traditions in Detroit’s art scene today with AfroFuturePast, which includes zines, short dance films and community events

Save Yourself
Applicant: Britney Stoney
Award: $10,000
To share an artist’s creative journey by touring an original musical about following your dreams

The CAN Art Wind Turbine Project
Applicant: CAN Art Handworks
Award: $50,000
To engage Detroiters in a sustainability project in a playful manner by having artist Carl Nielbock create wind turbine sculptures in Eastern Market that power cellphone charging stations and help irrigate urban crops

Wire-Car Auto Workers Association of Detroit (WAWAD)
Applicant: Wire-Car Auto Workers Association of Detroit (WAWAD)
Award: $7,300
To promote wire-car culture through an interactive website that serves as a resource for wire-car makers and enthusiasts, and to create a mobile parking structure to showcase models by association members

Jazz Violin “The Detroit Way”
Applicant: Detroit Youth Volume
Award: $51,623
To inspire the young classical violinists training with this group to become jazz musicians by employing local jazz artists as teachers

DLECTRICITY Commissions Artist Rashaad Newsome
Applicant: Midtown Detroit
Award: $75,000
To strengthen DLECTRICITY by bringing multidisciplinary artist Rashaad Newsome to debut a new video installation that explores Detroit’s history, and to lead a processional performance that opens the festival

Black Bottom Street View
Applicant: Emily Kutil
Award: $15,000
To connect Detroit residents with the Burton Historic Collection’s photographs of the former Black Bottom neighborhood through a website that maps the images and serves as a platform for neighborhood histories

Applicant: Essay’d
Award: $30,000
To promote critical discourse on the the arts in Detroit through a series of activities, including peer-reviewed, career-survey essays on Detroit artists, public workshops that broaden the scope and skill set for written criticism, and artist talks that raise awareness of Detroit’s thriving art scene

Final Girls
Applicant: Final Girls
Award: $7,500
To support female filmmakers in Detroit through a filmmaking collective that will host workshops, screenings and master classes

The Stitching Hour
Applicant: Fringe Society
Award; $10,500
To explore the wonder of traditional textile production by having fiber and textile artists take over storefront windows on the Avenue of Fashion and turn them into studios for spinning, dyeing and weaving fabrics

How Ma Bell Got Her Groove Back: Detroit for Real
Applicant: Focus: HOPE
Award: $164,750
To turn the historic Michigan Bell Telephone building into a canvas for Detroit stories by projecting on it new works of light art, video and photographs

Prisoner’s Song
Applicants: Greg Baise, Gelsey Bell, Erik Ruin
Award: $6,000
To explore the experience of the incarcerated and prison life in America through a multimedia performance presented at four neighborhood venues

A Laureate Leads Us
Applicant: InsideOut Literary Arts Project
Award: $25,000
To identify and celebrate new young poets through an annual writing contest that will select the next Detroit Youth Poet Laureate

Social Sound Synthesizers
Applicant: Jeff Sturges
Award: $25,000
To transform the act of learning to play music by creating new sound synthesizers that are inexpensive and easy to use, and invite collaborative play

The Taste of Displacement
Applicant: Jehan Mullin
Award: $15,000
To bring the multimedia artist, Dena Al-Adeeb, and her interactive art project, “The Taste of Displacement,” to Detroit where she will develop a site-specific piece that explores local Arab-American experiences through video and performance art.

Not In My House: A Performance Celebrating LGBT Identity
Applicant: Kristi Faulkner Dance
Award: $30,000
To explore themes of identity and gender with an original performance work created with LGBT youth from the Ruth Ellis Center

Mapping Cart
Applicant: Lawrence Technological University Detroit Studio
Award: $10,000
To reconstruct Detroit’s historic West End in maps by creating a tapestry of paintings, drawings, pictures and infographics of the neighborhood created by the community using a mobile mapping cart

Detroit Industry
Applicant: New Music Detroit
Award: $36,300
To build community around one of Detroit’s artistic treasures – Diego Rivera’s frescoes at the Detroit Institute of Arts – by commissioning a major new chamber music work inspired by them and in honor of their 85th anniversary

Detroit See Me
Applicant: Nichole Christian
Award: $6,000
To saturate the city with the faces of resilient and hopeful Detroit youth through a traveling exhibit and limited edition photo book

Great Art! Great Park!
Applicant: North Rosedale Park Civic Association
Award: $76,000
To continue the transformation of this neighborhood’s 7-acre park by working with local artists to create installations along the 5-mile walkway that borders it

Noir Design Parti: African-American Architects in Detroit
Applicants: Saundra Little and Karen Burton
Award: $34,775
To document the professional journeys and creative works of Detroit’s black architects through a series of videos, photographs, maps and tours.

Beatmatch Brunch with Mother Cyborg
Applicant: Seraphine Collective
Award: $15,175
To bring new voices to the electronic music scene with workshops to train and build community among female-identified DJs

The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence
Applicant: Step Afrika! USA Inc.
Award: $84,722
To share the story of the Great Migration through dance, by bringing Step Afrika!’s full-length dance piece based on artist Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series to Detroit

MAWADISIDIWAG (They Visit Each Other)
Applicant: The Aadizookaan
Award: $50,000
To share Detroit stories in the tradition of indigenous communities by using multimedia tools that travel to communities in a mobile storytelling unit

The Enemy of My Enemy
Applicant: The Hinterlands
Award: $70,000
To explore external narratives and perceptions of the United States by collaborating with artists from China, Russia and Iran to write new works about Americans and perform them in Detroit and online

Live at the Scarab Club
Applicant: The Scarab Club of Detroit
Award: $52,238
To strengthen a hub for the city’s creative community with a concert series, “Live at the Scarab Club,” that mixes music, historical narratives, visual arts and poetry

Shannon Cason’s Homemade Stories Live
Applicant: Shannon Cason
Award: $65,000
To spotlight the best national and local storytellers through a monthly event, Homemade Stories Live

Busk in the Cut
Applicants: Sidewalk Detroit and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy
Award: $154,000
To bring the Dequindre Cut alive with artists from around the world in “Busk the Cut,” an international festival of street performers, circus arts, graffiti artists and world music

What Pipeline Presents Pope.L in Detroit
Applicant: What Pipeline
Award: $30,000
To bring daring contemporary art to Detroit by inviting visual artist Pope.L for a unique exhibit and performance

Detroit Storymakers Project
Applicant: WDET
Award: $100,000
To strengthen the craft of storytelling in Detroit by developing a network of multimedia artists and empowering them to share their stories with a wider audience – on the radio, online and in public spaces

Applicant: Young Nation
Award: $37,000
To support the development of local artists by turning garages into artists’ studios in addition to holding hip-hop arts workshops and experiences that culminate in a large public art project

The Jit Exchange
Applicant: Zimbabwe Cultural Centre in Detroit
Award: $11,000
To unite dance styles from the same era, from two continents, by bringing Zimbabwean dancers to Detroit

Knight Foundation also awarded funds to seven cultural organizations whose projects explore the origins and impact of Detroit’s 1967 civil unrest. These projects surfaced through the Knight Arts Challenge and were announced earlier this year.

50 Years and One Summer
Applicant: Big City Films
Award: $100,000
To engage the community in a dialogue on race relations and the unrest of 1967, conversations that will ultimately shape a school curriculum for a new documentary series on the events of that summer

Detroit ’67 Rebellion: Inside and Out
Applicant: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Award: $125,000
To use the arts to examine the 1967 civil unrest in historical context, and broaden the conversation around the city’s future, with a series of exhibitions, performance art and a memorial fence that will gather Detroiters’ reflections

Detroit ’67: Looking Back to Move Forward
Applicant: Detroit Historical Society
Award: $200,000
To engage the community in the creation of an exhibition that spans 100 years, puts the unrest in context and uses the city’s collective history to help residents define Detroit’s future

Found Footage Detroit: Summer 1967
Applicant: Detroit Institute of Arts
Award: $30,000
To offer a raw look at the 1967 era in Detroit by presenting an immersive screening of unedited archival films and crowd-sourced home movies from the period, in partnership with the Detroit Free Press, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Walter P. Reuther Library and the Prelinger Archives

Detroit ’67
Applicant: Detroit Public Theatre
Award: $60,000
To spark meaningful dialogue in communities and schools across the city with a mobile production of a play by native Detroiter Dominique Morisseau about a brother and sister who find themselves caught up in the uprising

Applicant: The Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University
Award: $100,000
To tell the stories of the many overlooked women and girls involved in the 1967 Detroit unrest by bringing together oral history, theater, poetry and dance in a new production developed by playwright Lisa Biggs

Sonic Rebellion: Music as Resistance
Applicant: Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD)
Award: $67,000
To examine how music can be a catalyst for social change with a large-scale group exhibition that looks at the connections between Detroit’s music and visual arts scenes and its political history


Anusha Alikhan, director of communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646
[email protected]

Peter Van Dyke, CEO, Van Dyke Horn Public Relations, 313-872-2202
[email protected]