Knight Foundation Announces Investment in the Digital Future of the Arts in Detroit – Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation Announces Investment in the Digital Future of the Arts in Detroit

Photo courtesy of Akoaki for the Cultural Center Planning Initiative

DETROIT, MI— The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is announcing a $23 million investment in the digital future of the arts in Detroit. The investment includes multi-year grants to 10 Detroit arts organizations as well as three fellowship, commissioning and technical capacity-building programs. This investment, the fourth since 2005, will bring Knight’s overall commitment to Detroit’s arts sector to $50.75 million. 

In an effort to support Detroit’s ability to harness the arts as key to its future, Knight Foundation is making multi-year investments to 10 grantees whose work represents a broad spectrum of artistic genres. Each grant recipient has used technology to accelerate their ability to connect people to place and to each other. Knight aims to propel that momentum and catalyze their use of technology in the creation, dissemination and experience of art.

“Art institutions have a unique role in telling our stories, reflecting our cultures and helping us understand the world around us,” said Victoria J. Rogers, vice president of arts at Knight Foundation. “In Detroit, the effective application of technology, among both long-standing and emerging artists and art organizations, will be particularly salient. We are proud to support organizations and artists who are ensuring Detroit remains a vibrant and creative center of informed and engaged communities.” 

The grantees are: 

Several grantees are utilizing the funds to launch new initiatives rooted in technology:

  • BULK Space will create the BULK Media Lab, a mobile media laboratory with portable tools and resources available to artists, in Detroit’s North End.
  • CultureSource will increase the technical capacity and understanding of Detroit’s arts leaders through the creation and operation of the CultureSource R&D lab, which will provide cross-disciplinary cohorts of arts leaders in Detroit with training and technical resources.
  • Michigan Central—a 30-acre innovation district located in Detroit’s Corktown Neighborhood that will feature world-class art—is developing an Art & Technology program.
  • Midtown Detroit Inc. will expand the public’s access to free and secure WiFi available at its Cultural Center and will design and pilot a new outdoor performance space on the Detroit Institute of Arts’ campus.
  • Motown Museum will create a “Digital Jukebox,” which will make key archival content and physical materials available online and on-site.
  • Sphinx Organization will foster increased participation of BIPOC performing artists in classical music by expanding the digital reach of Sphinx LEAD and SphinxConnect, the largest convening dedicated to diversity and inclusion in classical music.

Arab-American National Museum, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Opera will use the funds for strategic planning, digital content creation, marketing and investment in tech-related personnel—all aiding in the expansion and accessibility of the organizations’ digital presences. 

An additional $3.5 million will go to fellowship, commissioning and capacity-building programs that will support individual artists and arts organizations employing technology to transform their work. These programs will launch in 2023 and 2024.

Media Contact: Rebecca Dinar, [email protected], Director/Communications


About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. They invest in journalism, in the arts and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Their goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which they believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit