DETROIT – Nov. 7, 2018 – Emerging from neighborhoods throughout Detroit, 25 ideas were named winners of Knight Arts Challenge Detroit on Wednesday. A community-wide initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the challenge funds the best ideas for engaging and enriching the city through the arts.
Reflecting the quality and range of creative ideas in the city, the winning projects will, for example, bring together curators from three top arts institutions for an ambitious public art and performance series, and create a virtual reality installation at a local grocery store. The winners, receiving a total of $1.46 million, seek to:
- Share Detroit stories – including through a festival of new, 10-minute plays that speak to the city and its history.
- Enliven public spaces – with a new sculptural and light installation in the Core City neighborhood, and a transformative public garden on Belle Isle by the landscape designer of New York City’s High Line.
- Explore the identities and experiences of Arab Americans in Detroit – through photography, sound installations and dance.
Knight Foundation celebrated the winning ideas at an awards event at the Fillmore Detroit Wednesday night. They join more than 250 past winners recognized since the challenge launched in 2013.
“Artists and arts organizations have completely changed Detroit’s landscape, and Knight Arts Challenge winners are leading the way,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation. “They are telling Detroit’s stories, helping to frame the world around us and writing Detroit’s next chapter.”
Knight Foundation funds the arts because of their ability to inspire communities and connect people to each other and to their city. Knight Arts Challenge is just one way that Knight Foundation invests in the arts. Last month, Knight Foundation announced a new $20 million investment in Detroit’s arts community, which will enable some of the city’s anchor arts institutions to reimagine their relationships with the community through innovation and experimentation, and allow smaller organizations to build their own capacity. The new funding, bringing Knight’s investment in the arts here to $52 million since 2012, will also support the continuation of Knight Arts Challenge Detroit.
Knight Arts Challenge 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.
“Great ideas for the arts can come from anywhere. We see it in the winners of Knight Arts Challenge, who are driven by skill and powered by a passion for their craft and our community,” said Katy Locker, Detroit program director for Knight Foundation.
The winners of this year’s challenge are:
Arab American National Museum
Arab American Arts and Cultural Festival
To celebrate Arab-American culture with a summer festival in East Dearborn featuring artists, makers, musicians and traditional food
CAN Art Handworks/Carlos Nielbock
Detroit Gallery of Metals
To establish a gallery exploring the role of metals in Detroit and abroad – from iron elements of the Industrial Revolution to ornamental metalworks from the city’s historic architecture – in order to encourage interest in the metal arts that built the city and the world
Collective Sweat Detroit
Collective Sweat Detroit
To advance the rigor and relevance of dance in Detroit through a choreographic residency program, and by expanding weekly classes for professional artists
Core City Beautification Fund/Prince Concepts
Public Art Commission
To commission local artists to create two sculptural and light-based installations for a new public park in the Core City neighborhood
Cranbrook Art Museum
To bring together three Detroit curators and institutions – Taylor Renee Aldridge (ARTS.BLACK), Laura Mott (Cranbrook Art Museum), and Ryan Myers-Johnson (Sidewalk Festival) – in an epic public art, conversation and performance series focused on themes of material ingenuity, resourcefulness and resistance
Detroit Artists Market
Fly | Drown
To commission performance artist Jennifer Harge to draw on personal, collective and ancestral memory to create an immersive exhibition centering on intimacy, domesticity and resilience through the creation of black space
Detroit Public Theatre
48Hours in… ™Detroit
To produce – in collaboration with Harlem9 – "48Hours in... ™Detroit" a festival of new 10-minute plays by native and current Detroit artists who will reimagine stories that speak to the rich history of the city
Detroit Writers’ Guild
The All Access Cafe of Detroit
To create an all-access cafe at Detroit Public Library that brings together differently abled artists and audiences for literary readings and musical performances, where people can share conversation, connection and common ground through the arts
Project SAVE: The Delray Neighborhood Preservation Plan
To create a record of the people, businesses and landmarks of the disappearing Delray neighborhood through a community-driven exhibition and online archive
To showcase the power of dance as a lens through which to explore celebration and resistance in Southwest Detroit with partners Motor City Street Dance Academy, Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel, and Compas, that will subsequently be filmed and projected onto buildings by artist Sacramento Knoxx
Jazz from Detroit
To create a festival of salon-style interviews and performances, produced in partnership with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, that celebrates Detroit jazz musicians, and demonstrates that the city’s remarkable jazz heritage remains a living tradition
Marshalle Montgomery Favors
The Fearless Tribe of Fanatic Filmmakers
To uplift the stories of Detroit’s black independent filmmakers and showcase their work by hosting screenings, panels and workshops in unconventional venues
Zombie Frequencies of the Palestinian Diaspora
To explore the context for several waves of Palestinian emigration in recent years with a new performance work of sound and dance
To commemorate the closing of the I-375 freeway in Eastern Market with performances and installations that celebrate the history of the people and neighborhoods that preceded its construction
Michigan State University Community Music School-Detroit
Women of Jazz
To share the rich legacy and contributions of women in jazz through public performances and a week-long symposium featuring bassist and scholar Marion Hayden, to empower and inform the next generation of young musicians
NKSK Events + Productions/Njia Kai
The Temple of John Coltrane
To celebrate the legacy of pioneering musician and composer John Coltrane with a two-day event in a gallery setting featuring live performances of Coltrane’s work by professional and emerging Detroit musicians, dancers, spoken word and visual artists
Norwest Gallery of Art
Norwest Gallery of Art
To provide affordable arts programming for people living in Detroit’s Northwest side by expanding offerings at this community-based gallery, including live performances, cinema, trainings and hands-on arts workshops
Oudolf Garden Detroit
Piet Oudolf Garden on Belle Isle
To bring to life a transformative public garden on Belle Isle designed by Piet Oudolf, visionary designer of the High Line in New York City
To bring more art into community spaces by providing emerging visual artists with studios in public libraries, where they will offer classes, talks and exhibits, engage in public art projects, and mentor art students
To present a theatrical musical event exploring friendship and experiences as women of different skin colors, with Shara Nova and Helga Davis wearing a sculptural dress for two created by Annica Cuppetelli
Power (Up!) The Press Fest
To grow and celebrate Detroit’s rich community of printmakers, bookbinders, poets and papermakers with a festival of print media in all its variety
The Hinterlands Present: Assemblage Contemporary Performance Series
To advance the conversation around cutting-edge contemporary performance in Detroit by presenting a series of internationally-recognized theater and dance artists from across the U.S.
University of Michigan-Dearborn
Halal Metropolis: Exploring Muslim Visibility in Detroit
To create a series of exhibitions by Osman Khan, Razi Jafri and Sally Howell that explore aspects of Muslim visibility in Metro Detroit, both reality-based as well as perceptions shaped by other factors, to support and deepen community connections
Wayne State University
Between Two Worlds: The Arab American Experience in Detroit
To commission Farah Al Qasimi, internationally renowned fine art photographer, to explore the experience of Arab Americans in Detroit through a series of photographs created during her arts residency in the city
Digital Arts Programming at New Local Grocery Store
To bring virtual reality and digital art into everyday spaces by presenting installations inside a new grocery store, including events where 3D printed musical instruments and edible desserts are produced
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 kf.org.
Peter Van Dyke, Van Dyke Horn Public Relations, [email protected]
Images available upon request
Image (top): Detroit Artists Market, a 2018 Knight Arts Challenge Detroit Winner, will commission performance artist Jennifer Harge (pictured) to create an immersive exhibition centering on intimacy, domesticity and resilience through the creation of black space. Image courtesy of Detroit Artists Market.