Knight Arts Challenge Miami offering a share of up to $2 million will open for applications

Accepting ideas from artists and art organizations of all genres from June 24 - July 26

Image: A performance of Siudy Flamenco Dance Theater. Credit: Gesi Schilling

MIAMI – June 4, 2019 – The 2019 Knight Arts Challenge Miami will open for applications on June 24, offering a share of up to $2 million for ideas that connect people to place and each other through the arts. The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. ET on July 26.

A project of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the challenge is now in its eleventh year in Miami, and has awarded $32 million, supporting 384 arts ideas since its inception in 2008.

Knight Foundation funds great art because it builds community, bringing people together in a literal sense—gathering audiences at events and exhibitions—and in a figurative sense, wherein we gain shared understanding. The Knight Arts Challenge welcomes ideas from across diverse communities and in every genre. Winners receive financial support, as well as public exposure and professional skill-building.

“The Knight Arts Challenge is part of the evolution of Miami as a center for great art and culture. We look forward to adding new voices and ideas to the mix as we help to bring art to life throughout South Florida,” said Victoria Rogers, Knight Foundation vice president for arts.

Applicants can get more detailed information on the challenge, and tips for applying, by attending informational events with Knight staff around South Florida. They include community conversations, where Knight staff will offer insights and take questions, plus office hours, where applicants can meet one-on-one with Knight Arts Director Priya Sircar and Program Officer Adam Ganuza to receive feedback on their ideas. Applicants can register online for kick-off events here. Check for updates.

The application is user-friendly to encourage participation from individual artists, collaboratives and organizations that may never have applied for a grant. Just half of challenge winners are nonprofits; 32 percent have never won a grant before and half have a budget of less than $100,000. 

While Knight is not prescriptive in its approach, we look for high-quality arts projects that demonstrate novelty and perspectives that are authentic to each community. All it takes to apply is a great arts idea and 150 words. Visit for more application details.

There are only three rules for submissions:

  1. The idea must be for an arts project. 
  2. The project must take place in South Florida, from Palm Beach to the Keys.
  3. You must find other funding to match Knight Foundation’s grant.

“Miami’s appetite for ideas and innovation is inherent in our community of artists. Advancing their projects through initiatives like the Knight Arts Challenge is important to keeping and attracting talent to the city and making Miami an even more vibrant place to live,” said Raul Moas, Miami program director for Knight Foundation.

Since 2008, arts ideas that represent the broad variety of disciplines and practitioners working in the city have been realized through the challenge. These include: On the Hook, a project that tells the stories of the Key West liveaboard community, boat dwellers who anchor in the shallows off Key West; BlackFlorida, which documents black community life through photography and innovative media platforms; and Make Music Miami by Buskerfest, a celebration of international Make Music Day that includes performances and activities in public spaces throughout the city augmented by interactive technology.

In addition, many challenge projects have grown from ideas into community institutions, including the independent O Cinema, which recently received major funding from Knight to establish a permanent location in the city; the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, a hub for the arts in Wynwood; and Miami Music Project, which offers high-quality music instruction to low-income students in four neighborhoods. 

In December 2018, Knight Foundation announced a $37 million investment to further strengthen the arts in Miami, including a recommitment to the Knight Arts Challenge. Since 2005, Knight Foundation has invested $165 million in the arts in Miami. 

Miami is one of three cities where Knight invests that is hosting a Knight Arts Challenge this year; others include Akron and Detroit. 

Finalists will be announced this summer, and winners in the fall.

For updates, follow #knightarts and @knightfdn on Twitter, Instagram and 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, communications director, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646, [email protected]

Lisa Mozloom, MNetwork, 305-571-1455, [email protected]