Knight Foundation looks for the best ideas for the arts in Detroit – Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation looks for the best ideas for the arts in Detroit

DETROIT – April 19, 2018 – What’s your best idea for the arts? The Knight Arts Challenge will ask Detroit that question once again when it opens for submissions on April 23. The challenge is offering a share of up to $3 million to artists with ideas that engage and enrich the city through the arts.

Knight Foundation will present a series of public information sessions, beginning the night of April 23, in addition to one-on-one sessions with Arts Program Officer Adam Ganuza, where applicants can get individual feedback on ideas. The full schedule is available at

A project of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the challenge is now in its sixth year in Detroit, and has awarded $11.3 million in matching grants, bringing to life 251 arts ideas since its inception in 2013.

Knight Foundation funds the arts because of their ability to inspire and strengthen communities by connecting people to each other and 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 application is user-friendly to encourage individual artists and organizations that may never have applied for a grant. Many do apply: Just half of Knight’s challenge winners nationwide are nonprofits; 32 percent have never won a grant before and half have an annual budget of less than $100,000.

All it takes to apply is a compelling arts idea and 150 words.

There are only three rules for submissions:

  1. The idea must be about the arts.
  2. The project must take place in or benefit Detroit.
  3. The grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.

“We want your big ideas, the project you wish you could do when and if you had the resources to do it,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation. “This is a dream fund. We want to provide the fuel to help artistic projects come to life.”

Since the challenge came to Detroit in 2013, grantees have made their mark on communities throughout the city, with the American Riad, a collaboration between the Ghana ThinkTank and Central Detroit Christian CDC to create a vibrant Morrocan-style community courtyard in Detroit’s North End; a virtual reality experience designed and created by the Street Cred Detroit Youth Crew and Sultan Sharrief, part of a larger project to provide technology and media production experience to young people and spark conversations about empathy and race; and the Mariachi Femenil Detroit, flipping the script on the male-dominated art form and expanding the reach of their dynamic performances to a broader audience.

“All across the city, in every neighborhood, you can feel the impact of the Knight Arts Challenge and the artists and arts group it supports,” said Katy Locker, Detroit program director for Knight Foundation. “Our entire community thrives when new ideas are brought to fruition”

Challenge finalists will be announced this summer, and winners this 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]

Peter Van Dyke, CEO, Van Dyke Horn Public Relations, 313-872-2202 [email protected]

Photo (top) courtesy of DLECTRICITY