Knight Arts Challenge, seeking best ideas for the South Florida arts, opens for applications Jan. 27

MIAMI – Beginning Jan. 27, South Floridians can apply for the Knight Arts Challenge, which funds the best ideas for bringing South Florida together through the arts. The deadline for the contest, a project of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is Feb. 24.

As a way to recruit ideas from South Florida’s many neighborhoods, Knight Foundation will host a series of Community Q&A sessions from Marathon to Fort Lauderdale. The events, taking place Feb. 3-11, will offer tips on preparing applications, information on the challenge timelines, and a chance to talk to past winners on what gave their submissions an edge. The schedule is below.

“In recent years, we’ve seen a growing number of great ideas from our many neighborhoods—ideas that are bringing the arts into people’s everyday lives,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation’s vice president for arts. “We want to help ensure that there is art wherever you go in South Florida.”

The challenge is open to everyone: artists and artist collectives of all types, businesses, established arts institutions, and any individual who has a great idea for the arts. The initial application, which will be available at consists of just two questions and is deliberately designed to be simple to encourage nontraditional applicants.

There are only three rules for the challenge:
1) The idea must be about the arts.
2) The project must take place in or benefit South Florida
3) The grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment (within a year).

“This contest is about ideas—big ideas, innovative ideas, authentically Miami ideas,” Scholl said.

Knight has received more than 7,500 ideas from the South Florida community since launching the challenge in 2008. In total, 193 projects have received almost $22.1 million in funding.

Since 2006, Knight Foundation has invested $86 million in South Florida’s cultural community. Those funds have launched a new media program that includes the signature “Wallcasts” at the acclaimed New World Symphony campus, helped present Ibero-American films at the Miami International Film Festival, and will bring every Miami-Dade third grader to the new Pérez Art Museum Miami, among other projects.  The approach is two-pronged: Knight Foundation aims to help open up institutions to more South Floridians with large grants, while the Arts Challenge ensures that smaller, grassroots efforts fuel and refresh the arts scene.

Community Q&As:

  • Monday, Feb. 3, 7 p.m.:  YoungArts, Jewel Box
    2100 Biscayne Blvd., free parking under the YoungArts building
  • Tuesday, Feb. 4, 7 p.m.: South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center,
    Black Box Theater, 10950 SW 211th St., Miami
  • Wednesday, Feb. 5, 7 p.m.: African Heritage Cultural Arts Center
    6161 NW 22nd Ave., Miami
  • Thursday, Feb. 6, 7 p.m.: Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University
    One East Las Olas Blvd.
  • Monday, Feb. 10, 1 p.m.: Marathon Government Center
    2798 Overseas Hwy. (Mile Marker 48), Marathon
  • Tuesday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m., Frost Art Museum at Florida International University
    10975 SW 17th St., Miami (free parking in the Blue Garage)

The Community Q&As will be cohosted by: Bas Fisher Invitational, Cannonball, Miami Light Project, Sweat Records, WPBT2, Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs, ArtSouth, M Ensemble, Black Archives History and Research Foundation, Opa-locka Community Development Corp., Little Haiti Cultural Center, Miramar Cultural Trust, Broward Cultural Council, Art & Culture Center of Hollywood, Florida Keys Council of the Arts, and Florida International University’s music, art, art history and creative writing departments.

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


Anusha Alikhan, director of communications, (305) 908-2677, [email protected]

Lisa Palley, (305) 642-3132, [email protected]