Knight Foundation Launches Contest to Fund the Best Ideas for the Arts in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (Sept. 15, 2010) – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is bringing new support to the Philadelphia arts community with the announcement today of the Knight Arts Challenge Philadelphia. The foundation will launch this three-year, $9 million initiative on Oct. 5, providing new funding opportunities to the steadily rising Philadelphia arts scene.

Anyone can enter the Knight Arts Challenge Philadelphia – established arts institutions, independent artists of all types, businesses, service organizations, and any individual who has a great idea for the arts. The initial two-question application – available Oct. 5 at – is designed to be simple to encourage applicants who aren’t traditional grant seekers.

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 Philadelphia.
  3. The grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.

Building on the momentum of the arts in Philadelphia, the Knight Arts Challenge seeks out innovative projects to inspire and enrich Philadelphia’s communities.

“All residents can become more engaged in their community through a vibrant arts scene,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation’s vice president/arts. “Knight Foundation looks for innovative arts programs that have the potential to inspire new appreciation and involvement in the arts – whether the ideas come from individual artists, galleries or big institutions.”

The initial application period will run from Oct. 5-31. Scholl will work with an advisory group of Philadelphia cultural and community leaders who will review the initial applications and determine finalists, who will be announced in early 2011. The selected finalists will then submit more detailed proposals, and winners will be announced in spring of 2011.

The Knight Arts Challenge began in 2008 in Miami, where the initiative is now in its third year. Philadelphia is only the second city in which Knight is offering this program.

Grant recipients in Miami have included an independent record store, a print shop, theater and dance groups, performance and gallery spaces, festival and event organizers, museums and municipalities.

For more on Knight Foundation’s arts initiative and to view previous Miami Challenge winners, visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed and engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit

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Press Contacts:

  • Marc Fest, Vice President of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677; [email protected]