57 Finalists named in Knight Arts Challenge Miami

Knight Announces “People’s Choice Award” for a chance at an additional $20,000

MIAMI, May 22 – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced the 57 finalists in the Knight Arts Challenge Miami, an annual contest that aims to bring South Florida together through the arts.

A diverse group, the finalists are predominantly individual artists and small artist-led organizations spanning from Homestead to Hialeah and north to Palm Beach County. A full list is below and at KnightArts.org. Winners will be announced in December.

“This year’s finalists have proved that South Florida’s creativity is limitless,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation’s vice president/arts.

For the first time, the public will have a say in who receives funding, with a new People’s Choice Award. In the fall, the public will be invited to vote via text message for one of several up-and-coming cultural organizations. The winner will receive $20,000 in support.

“Much of this community’s exciting art is happening at the ground level. The People’s Choice Award will help bring attention to emerging groups while engaging the public in innovative arts ideas,” said Matt Haggman, Miami program director for Knight Foundation. 

This is the fifth year of the Knight Arts Challenge, which offers $20 million over five years in matching grant money to the best ideas that help weave the arts into the community. Applicants must follow only three rules: 1) the idea must be about the arts, 2) the project must benefit or take place in South Florida and 3) the grant recipient must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.

Previous Knight Arts Challenge winners include M Ensemble, for creating a mentorship program for African-American playwrights, Teatro Avante, to strengthen an international Hispanic theater festival, Inkub8, for a residency program for performing artists, and the Little Haiti Cultural Center, to promote traditional Haitian crafts.

6th Street Dance Studio/WholeProject

To broaden and support the TruSchool Hiphop program for kids by incorporating new forms of dance, writing and cultural events.

Actors’ Playhouse Productions

To culturally enrich Miami-Dade Schools ninth grade students by making 3,000 seats available to the Tony winning musical In the Heights, coupled with a rap-writing contest

Ann Kelly

To enhance the capacity of Miami’s local theater community by establishing a cooperative scene shop where artists can collaboratively build sets, store props and share expensive tools

Art and Culture Center of Hollywood

To share the work of dynamic, national visual artists by hosting an ongoing lecture series

Arts for Learning/Miami

To provide opportunities for high-school students to pursue their interests in the arts while also learning essential work skills by offering six-week paid summer art internships and apprenticeships

Bass Museum of Art
To use the arts as a catalyst to promote creative thinking by expanding the popular [email protected] program, which helps bring the classroom to life for young students

Borscht Corporation

To increase Miami’s leadership role in the indie film community by expanding the Borscht Film Festival to help it become the epicenter of regional filmmaking

Brazz Dance Theater

To build Miami’s reputation as an emerging center for contemporary dance by creating new works, helping dancers develop professionally and launching a Brazilian dance festival

Centro Cultural Español de Cooperación Iberoamericana Miami

To bring Spanish theater into the community by offering a series of exciting yet short plays to small audiences in a unique venue – a 150-square foot shipping container

Classical South Florida

To showcase local students’ classical music abilities and talent by having high-schoolers compete to perform live on Classical South Florida Radio

Coral Gables Cinemateque

To bring high quality, unique and culturally diverse films to the community by increasing programming and educational outreach at the theater

Coral Morphologic

To put Miami on the map as an eco-arts-tourism-destination by creating an underwater sculpture park installation featuring works by local artists

Creative City Collaborative DBA Arts Garage

To facilitate an exchange of art and ideas by presenting contemporary musical performances, films and visual art exhibitions at a Palm Beach collaborative

Cultural Foundation of Broward

To connect local cultural projects to donors by bringing to Broward County power2give.org, which allows cultural organizations to crowd-source funding for specific projects

Cuqui Beguiristain

To help brand Miami’s Bird Road Art District, an industrial turned artistic neighborhood, by creating a series of conceptual pieces and murals that will serve as both an outdoor exhibit and an art marker to interpret the area

Dance NOW! Miami

To help bring under-resourced dance productions to the performance stage by providing a venue and marketing help for choreographers and dancers to engage with new audiences

Deering Estate Foundation

To bring a meaningful cultural dialogue between artists and audiences by supporting a performing art series and a residency opportunity that includes  lectures and master classes at the estate

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

To bring together nature and art by strengthening Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s music program under conductor Teddy Abrams

Florida Grand Opera

To engage new audiences in the opera by simulcasting free performances outside at the New World Center in Miami Beach

Frank Falestra

To encourage South Florida musicians to produce innovative compositions by giving them the opportunity to perform and network with modern composers at an experimental music event

FUNDarte, Inc.

To strengthen the local performing arts by providing seed funding for new works for local companies and artists

General Practice

To promote experimental, cross-disciplinary art by strengthening an artist-run gallery where performance, visual art and music are presented beneath one roof

Indie Film Club Miami

To build and strengthen Miami’s film community by hosting workshops and guerilla-like screenings and by promoting filmmakers’ work locally and nationally

Jon Korn

To provide an engaging after-school option for kids by bringing a national model to Miami that turns storefronts into free creative writing centers funded by the sale of local artistic goods

LAB Miami

To bolster innovation in the arts by bringing together creative professionals and techies for a three-day art hackathon, where they will develop apps and websites that answer one question: how do we enhance the delivery of local art to users?

Lip Service

To give a voice to more Miami stories by coaching underrepresented members of the community to present a spoken-word performance about their experiences

Logic Art Miami

To help local artists show their work nationally and abroad by defraying shipping and crating costs that typically discourage exhibitions outside South Florida

Miami Children’s Museum

To create a landmark at the gateway of Miami and Miami Beach by installing an educational light sculpture on the entrance wall of the Miami Children’s Museum

Miami Dade College

To celebrate and preserve the arts and culture of Hialeah – Florida’s fifth largest city – by supporting the opening of the Hialeah Cultural Center

Miami International Airport

To engage and connect audiences to global and local rhythms by presenting performances of world music to travelers at Miami International Airport

Miami Light Project

To support emerging artists by creating an artist-in-residence program as part of the annual Here & Now Festival, which commissions and presents local works

Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs

To celebrate native talent by presenting a Bring it Home Miami series at the South Dade Cultural Center featuring artists from South Florida who have developed national and international reputations

Milo Fox

To celebrate the art of puppetry by restoring a 1930s-era marionette theater and presenting performances to underserved children in parks, schools and theaters

The Miami Symphony Orchestra

To help develop South Florida’s musical voice and infuse the symphonic repertoire with new energy by commissioning works through a composer-in-residence program

[NAME] publications

To promote innovation in the arts by producing books that feature local artists who work across disciplines

Nancy St. Leger

To introduce new audiences to Haitian dance by creating a professional folkloric ensemble

O Cinema

To build a sense of community in Wynwood by presenting an outdoor, family-friendly film series that seeks to bring residents together with the people who visit and work in the neighborhood

Opa-locka Community Development Corporation

To celebrate the art of the African diaspora by producing a multidisciplinary juried arts festival to coincide with a major public art installation in Opa-locka

Open Lab

To foster the local film scene and build community among filmmakers by creating a monthly gathering where producers screen their films in a variety of locations

Pablo Malco Foundation

To celebrate South Florida’s vast cultural traditions in a Hip Hop Symphony that combines dance and music in a show for all ages

Paula Kolek & Neil de la Flor

To promote Miami as a center for LGBT literature by creating a Reading Queer series for writers who create hybrid, genre-bending works

Performing Arts Center Trust

To provide more exposure for emerging artists by expanding the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Miami Made festival to include all artistic genres

Pinecrest Gardens

To give local groups the chance to perform in a historic amphitheater by creating the Arts in the Gardens series at Pinecrest Gardens

Ranjana Warier

To promote cross-cultural understanding by showcasing Indian Classical dances through adaptations of western fairy tales

Sweat Records

To help make Miami a musical destination by providing a stipend for touring acts to provide free or affordable concerts for an all-ages crowd

The Artisan Lounge

To strengthen Miami’s visual arts community by creating more low-cost studio and exhibition space for working artists

The Betsy Hotel

To brand South Florida as a muse for authors by expanding a new writer-in-residence program on Miami Beach to include community outreach events

The Black Archives, History and Research Foundation of South Florida

To cultivate spoken poetry by providing studio space at the historic Lyric Theater and an annual festival for artists who create pieces that highlight life in Overtown


To experiment with engaging audiences through presenting cutting-edge, thematic, multidisciplinary projects inspired by local ideas, people and issues

Miami Children’s Initiative

To share local history through the arts by creating the Liberty City Renaissance, a year-round series featuring local African-American artists and culture

Miami Classical Guitar Society

To expose new audiences to classical guitar by launching an educational outreach program to community centers and schools, culminating in an international competition and festival

The PlayGround Theatre

To help nurture small performing arts groups by providing them with a small, well-equipped black box theater at discounted rates

The Project [theatre]

To strengthen Miami’s alternative theater scene by providing funding to develop a new theater company dedicated to innovating and redefining the theatrical experience

The Rhythm Foundation

To introduce new audiences to Haitian music by expanding the successful, one-year-old Big Night in Little Haiti concert and art series

Thought Loom

To position South Florida as a hub for dance by pairing South Florida-based choreographers with national and international dance artists for seasonal performances

Urgent, Inc.

To engage and inspire young artists by having them create murals in Overtown’s historic Dorsey Park commemorate it as the home of South Florida’s Negro League baseball team

Viernes Culturales/Cultural Fridays

To accelerate the transformation of Little Havana’s arts district by expanding the scope and programming of the popular monthly cultural festival, Viernes Culturales

For more information, visit www.knightarts.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.



Andrew Sherry, Vice President/Communications, 305-908-2677, [email protected]