New Knight on the Horizon

Performing Arts Grant Applications Open

The Knight Foundation has invested millions in South Florida arts including supporting the the Miami City Ballet. (photo by Gene Schiavone)


The Knight Foundation has invested millions in South Florida arts including supporting the the Miami City Ballet. (photo by Gene Schiavone)

Irene Sperber

The Knight Foundation has been a premier supporter in regional arts, creating a platform for the new, the innovative, the stimulating experiences bubbling up from South Florida and beyond. Their positive influence on Miami’s climb up the cultural ladder cannot be over stated.

Performing artists listen up: Your day is coming through the Knight Foundation’s latest grant opportunity in dance, theater and music. Dubbed "Knight New Work Miami," applicants have until the August 31 deadline to get their proposal logged onto this shiny new grant offering. So put down that culturally empty caloric summer reading, turn off the wasteful social media time sucker and get out there.

The Knight Foundation relates their mission most accurately: “..... 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.”

Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.(Kierkegaard).

Helpful facts on Knight New Work Miami:

  1. The Knight Foundation is offering a number of info sessions. The next one is a webinar. on Monday, Aug. 13, from 1 to 2 p.m.  Or send questions
  2. New Work Miami is investing $500,000 in the performing arts, encompassing “choreographers, playwrights and composers, with strong connections to Miami as well as local performing arts organizations”
  3. The work will debut in Miami and applications must reflect a Miami- Dade connection.
New World Symphony and its WALLCAST gets support from Knight Foundation. (photo by Rui Dias-Aidos).


New World Symphony and its WALLCAST gets support from Knight Foundation. (photo by Rui Dias-Aidos).

They are looking for innovation, risk. Toss that safety net to the curb and let your true wildly individual nature fly out of the nest and into our community. Surprise us. Inspire us. Keep us turned on, turned up and tuned into life’s possibilities. No matter where you are in the success spectrum, Knight Foundation grants can expose the excitement hidden in the soul of our regional art world. This grant may well be the world’s largest award for supporting performing arts. Show the world that South Florida doesn’t just import great talents, but build them from the ground up, give them light and water and watch them explode in supersaturated technicolor.

Knight New Work Miami grant information and
For more information:

I connected with Victoria Rogers, VP Arts (with the Knight Foundation since 2015) for a more in depth insight.

Irene Sperber: What would be the most successful individual(s) boosted by a Knight Foundation grant to date. Which artist(s) is the KF most proud to have supported?

Victoria Rogers: “Ten years ago, in the first year of the Knight Arts Challenge, we funded several projects that have become Miami institutions, each lead by truly innovative, creative people. I think about O, Cinema, which was the brainchild of Kareem Tabsch and Vivian Martell, and has become a haven for indie cinema in Miami. That same year, Conductor James Judd came to us with an idea to offer music lessons to children who couldn’t afford them. The Miami Music Project now has orchestras in Little Haiti, Little Havana, Miami Springs and Liberty City, a summer camp and a training program for local musicians to learn how to become instructors.”

“Since then, other artists have come forward to pitch, and then grow their ideas. More recently, they include Jacamo Bairos and Sam Hyken of Nu Deco Ensemble who this year through Knight funding commissioned and premiered an outstanding multi-media work by Kishi Bashi. Borscht Film Festival has grown from New World grads getting friends together to put on a film festival to an organization that regularly wins Sundance awards and commissions new works. Also, just last year, photographer Johanne Rahamn won for her Black Florida project, where she tells the story of black life in neighborhoods around the state. She recently had an exhibition at the Deering Estate, and there’s much more to come.”

IS: What group or organization(s) has benefited most from the KF support?

VR: “In the last decade, Knight Foundation has invested more than $125 million in the arts in South Florida supporting anchor organizations including the Perez Art Museum Miami, Institute of Contemporary Art, the Arsht Center, the Miami City Ballet and the New World Symphony; we’ve also supported more than 350 community art projects through the Knight Arts Challenge. At Knight, we fund organizations both small and large. We make significant, long-term, multi-year investments through a two-pronged approach, bumpered by geography, which increases our impact. Knight funds the larger institutions that provide programming day in and day out to help them better engage the public in innovative ways, as well as more grass root efforts of artist collectives and emerging groups so that everyone has a chance to make their idea a reality. Our purpose with the Knight Arts Challenge was, and is, to make art general in Miami - so that the arts are seen, felt and heard in neighborhoods around the city.”

(Rogers expounded on that thought sharing that The Light Box at Goldman (Wynwood) started by Miami Light Project is an arts anchor for that neighborhood, offering a multitude of programming and presenting local, national and international artists. “Delou African in Little Haiti, the South Florida Center for Percussive Arts in West Dade, Miami Gardens’ Jazz in the gardens. We’ve had winners in all corners of the county” Rogers said.

IS: Does Miami differ from the other cities where KF maintains offices?

VR: “Knight Foundation’s arts program invests in eight cities across the country. Each is unique. In Miami, we were able to make a large-scale investment in the arts at a moment of critical growth. What other city has launched several art museums, a major science museum, a performing arts center and a new home for a symphony in a decade? The quality of the arts here, the growth in recent years and the diversity of offerings that authentically reflect Miami are all what make Miami special.”

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