Knight Arts Challenge, offering a share of up to $1.3 million, is now open for applications

ST. PAUL – March 29, 2017 – The 2017 Knight Arts Challenge is open for submissions, offering a share of up to $1.3 million to the best ideas for engaging and enriching St. Paul through the arts. The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. April 28.

“The Knight Arts Challenge is an open opportunity for people to name their artistic dreams,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation. “We want to hear what local artists, organizations and businesses believe are the best ideas to inspire, engage and advance St. Paul.”

Knight Foundation funds the arts because of their ability to inspire communities and connect people to each other and to their city. The challenge is part of a two-pronged strategy that supports established arts institutions to help them better engage the public and funds grassroots initiatives of individual artists and organizations so that everyone has a chance to make their idea a reality.

The challenge application is user-friendly to encourage individual artists and organizations that may never have applied for a grant. Many do apply: 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.

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 St. Paul.
3) The grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.

Now in its fourth year in St. Paul, the challenge has awarded $3.5 million to date, bringing dozens of arts ideas to life. They include a theatrical extravaganza at the St. Paul Saints ballpark, a performance melding the musical and culinary arts, a light show on the steam plume of the landmark downtown power plant, a traveling flash mob of flamenco singers, a poetry slam for top spoken-word artists, and a new competition for screenwriters.

“St. Paul has seized this opportunity to bring projects to life that make our city an even more vibrant place to live. I’m looking forward to being part of what comes about in 2017,” said Jai Winston, St. Paul program director for Knight Foundation.

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

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]

Kathy Graves, Parenteau Graves, 612-242-3184; [email protected]