Arts / Economics / Funding / Investing / Knight Arts Challenge

Knight Arts Challenge awards $2M+ to 43 projects

The winners, which beat out 1,200 applicants, included two tech-focused projects: $75,000 to Drexel University's ExCITe Center for a live concert series using "audio-driven media technologies," and $100,000 to Breadboard for a civic prototyping lab in partnership with The Hacktory and NextFab.

At the Knight Arts Challenge winners ceremony. Photo by Susan Beard for the Knight Foundation.

The Knight Foundation awarded more than $2 million to 43 arts projects as part of  the final year of its Knight Arts Challenge in Philadelphia.

The winners, which beat out 1,200 applicants, included two tech-focused projects: $75,000 to Drexel University‘s ExCITe Center for a live concert series using “audio-driven media technologies” and $100,000 to Breadboard for a civic prototyping lab in partnership with The Hacktory and NextFab.

Muralist David Guinn also won $9,000 to create temporary wall-painting installations in Center City. Guinn presented at the recent Ignite Philly 11.

Below, a full list of winners, as provided by the Knight Foundation. 

A Month of Music Celebrates Philadelphia’s Jazz Heritage
Recipient: Ars Nova Workshop
Award: $50,000

To honor Philadelphia’s rich jazz legacy by producing a month-long festival in venues across the city during Jazz History Month

Resource for Art Lesson Plans Expands Young Minds
Recipient: Art Sphere
Award: $20,000

To enrich Philadelphia’s youth by providing free access to arts education resources and hands-on instruction to organizations with limited resources.

Artists Get Career Support Through Professional Development Programs
Recipient: Artists U
Award: $14,000

To increase professional development opportunities for local performance artists by expanding a pilot project that allows artists to seek targeted advice and counsel

Institute Cultivates New Skills in Emerging Arts Leaders
Recipient: Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia
Award: $100,000

To strengthen the next generation by establishing an institute where emerging arts leaders can gain a deeper understanding of management and leadership

Training Program Fosters Next Generation of Philadelphia Dance Instructors
Recipient: BalletX
Award: $25,000

To further the careers of young dancers by both teaching them the art of dance instruction and having them instruct in local schools

Local Artists Bring a New Spin to Bike Rack Design
Recipient: Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
Award: $50,000

To create more public art and enliven city streets by hosting a competition for artists to design new bike racks

Amateur Musicians Deepen Their Connections to Classical Music
Recipient: Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra
Award: $50,000

To deepen amateur musicians’ engagement with classical music by offering adults opportunities to perform alongside the orchestra’s professionals

Diverse Film Festival Supports Independent Black Filmmakers
Recipient: BlackStar Film Festival
Award: $50,000

To support global black cinema through a film festival that will also feature a short screenplay contest

New Art and Technology Space Encourages Collaboration, Innovation
Recipient: Breadboard at the University City Science Center
Award: $100,000

To bring the city’s art and tech communities together through a new alliance and facility that will provide hands-on programming, plus a civic prototyping lab addressing community issues

Multi-Gallery Exhibit Unifies City’s Artist-Run Collectives
Recipient: CITYWIDE
Award: $13,000

To promote collaboration in the visual arts by enabling more than 20 collectives to produce a multivenue, one-month exhibit

Major Choral Event Empowers Girls Through Music
Recipient: Pennsylvania Girlchoir, member-choir of Commonwealth Youthchoirs
Award: $15,000

To empower girls through music by launching a large-scale choral event for seventh- to 12th-grade girls, featuring female conductors and composers

Live Dance Takes Spotlight in Public Pop-Up Performances
Recipient: Dance/USA Philadelphia
Award: $20,000

To raise the visibility of live dance by creating a pop-up studio in a highly visible public space where passers-by can witness the usually private rehearsal process

Temporary Outdoor Wall Installations Spark Dialogue
Recipient: David Guinn
Award: $9,000
To engage Philadelphians with art by bringing artist-created temporary outdoor wall-painting installations to Center City

Chamber Ensemble Brings Classical Music to Latino Communities

Recipient: Dolce Suono Ensemble
Award: $25,000

To bring more music to Philadelphia’s Latino communities by working with organizations to develop a new outreach initiative bridging classical and Latin music

Technology-Enhanced Live Music Provides a Feast for the Senses
Recipient: Drexel ExCITe Center
Award: $75,000

To engage and develop new audiences for music with a series of live concerts enhanced with audio-driven media technologies

Center City Jazz Festival Expands to Reach New Audiences
Recipient: Ernest Stuart
Award: $15,000

To increase audiences for jazz by expanding the Center City Jazz Festival to include additional events and venues

Utopic Floating Structure on the Delaware Suggests Bold Environmental Future

Recipient: FringeArts
Award: $50,000

To ignite imaginations around the future of environmental conservation by creating a large and visually stunning art installation along the Delaware River complete with solar panels, gardens and more

Choreographers Mount Living Installations in Two Well-Known Public Spaces

Recipient: Inta
Award: $50,000

To bring bold, highly theatrical performances by dancer/choreographers Eiko & Koma to two unique public outdoor spaces, the Reading Viaduct and PAFA’s Lenfest Plaza

Audience Members Become Performers in New African Dance Work
Recipient: Kùlú Mèlé African Dance & Drum Ensemble
Award: $20,000

To invite audiences to participate in master classes, rehearse and perform a new work blending traditional African dance with hip-hop, funk and soul

Theatrical Performance Brings Together Two South Philly Neighborhoods
Recipient: Lee Ann Etzold
Award: $25,000
To foster a greater sense of community between two geographically close but culturally diverse neighborhoods by producing a theatrical performance written and performed by its residents

Immersive Opera Experience Begins in the Balkans
Recipient: Opera Philadelphia
Award: $100,000

To offer a more immersive opera experience by launching a series of 50-minute operas, the first of which, about a Serbian wedding, will be followed by an authentic Balkan wedding feast

Festival Celebrates Contemporary Flamenco Pioneers
Recipient: Pasion y Arte Flamenco
Award: $35,000

To celebrate the contributions of Flamenco dance by producing a two-week festival including an educational symposium and performances by groundbreaking Flamenco artists

Newly-Restored Theater Hosts Local Film Screenings
Recipient: Philadelphia Film Society
Award: $150,000

To provide students and local filmmakers the opportunity to share their cinematic work on the big screen by holding monthly community screenings at the Theater at the Roxy

After-School Programs Let Students Take Center Stage
Recipient: Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s Performing Arts Office
Award: $5,000

To offer after-school art programming for children by placing art teachers in each of the eight city districts to give instruction in singing, acting and dancing

Exhibitions Zoom In on New Approaches to Photography
Recipient: Philadelphia Photo Arts Center
Award: $100,000

To cultivate new audiences for contemporary photography by organizing innovative exhibitions featuring digitally printed photographic murals, nontraditional approaches to portraiture and auxiliary programming

New Theatrical Work Investigates School-to-Prison Pipeline
Recipient: Philadelphia Theatre Company

Award: $100,000

To engage Philadelphia in a dialogue about young people being shuttled from school into the criminal justice system by supporting a two-year residency of actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith.

Monologue Festival Puts a Spotlight on Student Voices

Recipient: Philadelphia Young Playwrights
Award: $20,000

To help students gain a deeper understanding of how to leverage theater for social change by expanding a festival, in collaboration with InterAct Theatre Company, featuring professional productions of high school students’ monologues.

Indie Rockers and Indie Theatermakers Collaborate on Hybrid Opera Performance

Recipient: Pig Iron Theatre Company, with Dr. Dog
Award: $60,000

To merge two indie-arts genres by translating the music of rock band Dr. Dog into a theatrical spectacle.

After-School Music Program Cultivates Children’s Creative Skills
Recipient: Play On, Philly!
Award: $150,000

To cultivate students’ music skills by coordinating a multifaceted creative initiative that will teach music production and technology, composition, jazz and more.

Pop-Up Performance Art Enriches Reading Terminal Market
Recipient: Reading Terminal Market
Award: $60,000

To weave the arts into people’s everyday lives by curating a formalized performing arts series at Reading Terminal Market

Participatory Shakespeare Performance Encourages Unique Audience Interactions
Recipient: Shakespeare in Clark Park
Award: $35,000

To engage audiences in new ways with an interactive event around Shakespeare’s Henry IV, enabling attendees to participate in a battle scene

Seasonal Pop-Up Series Builds on Neighborhood Traditions
Recipient: South Street Headhouse District
Award: $15,000

To bring cultural vibrancy to the South Street neighborhood by organizing a series of pop-up and street events featuring music, theater and visual arts

Indian Music Gets Creative Makeover with Nontraditional Concert Series
Recipient: Sruti, The India Music and Dance Society
Award: $15,000

To celebrate Indian music and introduce it to a young and urban audience by offering a concert series with rotating ensembles of professional musicians

Philadelphia DJs Amplify Visual Art in Immersive Exhibition
Recipient: Stacey Wilson
Award: $20,000

To explore the connection between music and art by offering an aural experience for patrons that pairs individual works of visual art with a unique music mix

Event Series Combine Arts Forms for Truly Multimedia Experience
Recipient: Swim Pony Performing Arts
Award: $40,000

To push the boundaries for audiences by curating a series of cross-disciplinary events that feature unexpected collaborations

Communities Come Together Through Latino Arts

Recipient: Taller Puertorriqueño
Award: $60,000

To engage more audiences in the city’s Latino arts scene by organizing gallery exhibits, including mixed-media installations and music performances

Local Poets Get New Opportunities Through Poetry Slams and Workshops
Recipient: The Philly Pigeon
Award: $13,000

To bring poetry to a wider audience and support the development of more performance poets by expanding The Pigeon Presents: The Philadelphia Poetry Slam.

Musicians Explore Sound in Local Architectural Treasure
Recipient: The Rotunda
Award: $7,000

To challenge musicians to turn a 100-year-old Beaux Arts sanctuary into a musical instrument using their voices and other sound experiments

Public Art Serves the Environment and Educates Public
Recipient: The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
Award: $20,000

To address the city’s environmental issues by hosting artists who will collaborate with scientists to create public environmental artworks and educational programs

Social Practice Artist Residencies Reflect on North Philadelphia Communities

Recipient: The Village of Arts and Humanities
Award: $150,000

To offer a home to emerging and mid-career artists seeking an urban environment by creating a year-long artist residency program

Artists and Restaurateurs Collaborate on Cutting-Edge Projects

Recipient: Theresa Rose
Award: $25,000

To create connections between neighborhood restaurateurs and artists by commissioning dinners featuring art projects from across neighborhoods

University Students Celebrate Beloved African American Artist
Recipient: Tyler School of Art, Temple University
Award: $8,000

To celebrate one of the community’s most beloved African-American artists, Charles Searles, by inviting art students from three universities to collaborate on paired exhibitions and events inspired by the artist’s legacy

Radio Series Spotlights Classical and Jazz Artists

Recipient: WRTI
Award: $50,000

To share the talents of established and emerging musicians with the community by recording, then broadcasting, individual and ensemble performances from a state-of-the-art studio

Companies: Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia / Breadboard / ExCITe Center / Knight Foundation / NextFab / The Hacktory

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