the-black-archives_web.jpgMIAMI – As a way to recruit ideas from South Florida’s many neighborhoods, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will host a series of Community Q&A sessions from Marathon to Fort Lauderdale about the Knights Arts Challenge.

Through Feb. 11, interested “artists” can get 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 Knight Arts Challenge funds the best ideas for bringing South Florida together through the arts. The deadline for the contest is Feb. 24.  “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, businesses, established arts institutions and any individual who has a great idea for the arts. The initial application, is available at, consists of just two questions.

There are 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. 

Community Q&As, locations and times:

• 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.


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PHOTO COURTESY OF knight foundation
WINNER: With $50,000 challenge funding, the Black Archives will move its Expressions Spoken Word program to the restored Lyric Theater, which is scheduled to re-open to present its new program, Lyric Live, Friday, Feb. 7, at 7:30 p.m., 819 NW Second Ave.