Knight Arts Challenge Miami – celebrating its 10th anniversary – is now open for applications

MIAMI – March 29, 2017 – The 2017 Knight Arts Challenge Miami is open for applications, offering a share of up to $2.5 million for the best ideas for the arts. Now celebrating its 10th year, the challenge funds innovative arts projects that bring the community together through the arts.

A project of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the challenge has received more than 11,000 applications and awarded more than 300 winners a total of nearly $30 million. The challenge aims to make art general in Miami, so that quality cultural experiences are seen, felt and heard everywhere in the city.

“The arts inspire us, challenge us and connect us to one another and to Miami, which is critical to a city as diverse as ours,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation. “Together through the challenge and through the arts community, we are helping to build a stronger, more vibrant Miami.”

Over the past decade, the challenge has helped raise the artistic quality in the city, providing organizations and individual artists the time, resources and infrastructure they need for quality work. In addition, the challenge has helped spur innovation and risk-taking, with 80 percent of projects encouraging or creating innovative arts programming.

“The Knight Arts Challenge launched at a key moment for Greater Miami – when we were re-setting civic goals in a time of overall economic downturn. Knight Foundation unequivocally declared that the arts are a community priority and provided the encouragement, resources and visibility for artists and arts organizations at this critical juncture,” said Michael Spring, senior advisor to Miami-Dade County’s mayor and director of the department of cultural affairs. “The results have been transformative – new ideas, imaginative strategies and broadly-realized attention for the way that the arts positively change lives and neighborhoods and contribute directly to economic vitality.”

Many challenge projects have grown from ideas into community institutions, including the independent O Cinema, now operating in three locations, the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, a hub for the arts in Wynwood, and Miami Music Project, which offers quality music instruction to low-income students in four neighborhoods. Because of the success of the challenge in Miami, Knight Foundation has expanded it to four other communities nationally.

“We know that great art has great impact. However, as a foundation, we don’t have all the answers about what kind of artistic experiences our community is after.  Our local arts organizations and individual artists do. With the challenge, we have given them free reign to let their imaginations and talents soar to new heights. In our 10th year, we hope to see even more high-quality projects that push boundaries and conventions enabling us to encounter our world through the eyes of an artist,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation.

The challenge is part of a two-pronged strategy that includes funding arts organizations to help them better engage the community and supporting grassroots initiatives of individual artists and organizations, so that everyone has a chance to make their idea a reality.

The application, available now through 11:59 p.m. April 28, 2017, is user-friendly to encourage individual artists and organizations that may never have applied for a grant. All it takes to apply is a compelling arts idea and 150 words. The application is available at

There are only three rules for submissions
1) The idea must be about the arts.
2) The project must take place in or benefit South Florida, from Palm Beach to the Keys.
3) The grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.

Knight Foundation held a series of information events around South Florida earlier this month. Four sessions remain, including Community Conversations in Key West and West Palm Beach and Office Hours in Miami’s Arts and Entertainment District. See the schedule at

Challenge finalists will be announced this summer, winners in December.

For Knight Arts Challenge updates, follow #knightarts and @knightfdn on Twitter and Instagram, and Knight Foundation on Facebook.

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


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

Lisa Palley, Palley Promotes; 305-642-3132; [email protected]