The 2019 Knight Arts Challenge Miami

November 30, 2019

Twenty-one local leaders also recognized as Knight Arts Champions and choose artists and arts organizations for Knight support.

Miami, FL – November 30, 2019 – For the 11th year, Art Week Miami will kick off Monday with the announcement of the winners of the Knight Arts Challenge. This year, 44 artists and arts organizations will share more than $1.8 million to bring their ideas to life. During a celebration at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will also honor 21 community leaders as champions of the arts, empowering them to direct $10,000 each to local artists and arts organizations they want to support.

The Knight Arts Challenge and Knight Arts Champions reflect Knight’s belief that arts can strengthen communities. Knight also supports Miami’s burgeoning tech entrepreneurship sector and journalism nationwide to advance its mission of fostering informed and engaged communities.

“Arts and culture connect people to place and to each other. A dozen years ago, we perceived a trend and openness toward the arts in Miami and decided to accelerate and leverage it. We’ve invested $165 million since then,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president. “Knight Arts Challenge winners and Champions reflect the quality, growth and promise of our goal to make art general in Miami.”

The Knight Arts Challenge is a community-wide search to find and fund the best ideas for engaging and enriching Miami through the arts. This year’s 44 winners represent a broad variety of disciplines, including visual art, theater, music and dance. Some unifying themes emerge:

Artists’ interpretations of environmental preservation and sustainability – through a photo book with images of abandoned vehicles in the Everglades; an underwater sculpture park of artificial reefs; and a multigenerational dance performance at local climate-affected locations. Representations of South Florida’s diversity – through Miami’s first international queer tango festival; public art performances exploring the future of the Caribbean; and a celebration of Yiddish silent cinema. Histories that share the experiences of Miami pioneers, immigrants and women – through a photo series on the disappearing Santeria religion and a history exhibit of the Mikasuki-speaking people from 1540 to today Knight Arts has kicked off Art Week Miami for 12 straight years, elevating Miami artists as the art world arrives for Art Basel Miami Beach. During that time, Miami has transformed into a year-round arts town, powerful in its diversity, and earned its place on the world stage. Last year, instead of the Arts Challenge, Knight announced $37 million ​in new funding for Miami arts organizations.

The Knight Arts Challenge was open to residents from Palm Beach to Monroe counties, and applicants were asked to follow just three rules: 1) The idea must be about the arts; 2) The project must take place in or benefit South Florida; 3) The grant recipient must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.

“From large scale public art to new theatrical works, this year’s winners reflect a Miami whose artistic voice continues to mature,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president of arts at Knight Foundation. “The Knight Arts Challenge has spread its influence wider than ever before, elevating individual artists to a greater degree and offering more opportunities for the public to encounter and engage with great art. We can’t wait to see these projects come to fruition.”

The 21 Knight Arts Champions are local leaders who have played key roles in building South Florida’s rich and diverse cultural community will each direct that $10,000 be contributed to a local artist or arts organization of their choice. The full list of Knight Arts Challenge winners and Knight Arts Champions is below.

The 2019 Knight Arts Challenge Miami winners are:

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County ($30,000)
Birds of Paradise
A collaboration with Miami’s Pioneer Winter Collective to create and present the new dance-theater work, “Birds of Paradise,” which will weave a narrative shaped by all ages, ethnicities, abilities and sexual orientation as it challenges traditional views of dance

Adventure Life Productions ($15,000)
Abandoned Vehicles of the Everglades
A fine art photography book featuring a beautiful and evocative series of nighttime environmental images by Matt Stock and stories by Charles Kropke of vehicles long-abandoned in the Greater Everglades

Arca Images ($50,000)
Hotel Desiderium
The commissioning and world premiere production of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz’s new work, “Hotel Desiderium,” which explores the role of immigrants in the hospitality industry, with performances in English and translation in Spanish

Barba-Marcotulli ($18,000)
Live performances and video installations that draw on Pre-Columbian iconography, myths and legends to explore and re-present a decolonized Latinx identity in times of negative portrayal of Latino immigration

Barbara Fernandez and Javier Riera ($28,600)
A Growing Transparency
An artistic collaboration that links Javier Riera’s light projections of geometric patterns onto natural landscapes with live performed sound art curated by Barbara Fernandez

Barron Sherer ($50,000)
Moving Image Alliance
A community hub for legacy media art, offering resources to contemporary artists to cultivate their personal voices as moving image makers

Bas Fisher Invitational ($100,000)
A series of site-specific, temporary public art installations presented around Miami, in collaboration with Bridge Initiative, that illuminate environmental issues impacting South Florida

BlueLab Preservation Society ($85,000)
The ReefLine Miami Beach
An underwater sculpture park, composed of a series of artist-designed artificial reefs swimmable from Miami Beach that will illuminate Miami’s intrinsic connection with the marine environment and art

Bolivar Phil ($60,000)
Bolivar Phil orchestral series for Miami
A concert series featuring Latin American repertoire and classic universal works that celebrates Miami’s cultural heritage

Carla Forte ($20,000)
A dance-video art installation focused on and inspired by Latin American women in South Florida who have felt oppressed by their social circumstances

Charo Oquet ($35,000)
A multimedia exhibition created by artist Charo Oquet, students and community members of Allapattah that will take place at Edge Zones and explore concepts of Dominican sacred spaces and spiritual encounters using art, fashion and design

Edison Peñafiel ($6,000)
Land Escape Paintings
A collection of large-scale compositions focused on migrants’ physical and emotional struggles through their journeys

EXILE Books ($50,000)
EXILE Four Zine Fête
A quarterly series of thematic zine fairs with workshops, demonstrations, activations and publications that increase the visibility and engagement of artists’ publications throughout South Florida

Florida International University Foundation, Inc. ($70,000)
Alegría de la guitarra Latina
A world-class guitar festival, Miami International GuitART Festival, featuring internationally renowned musicians, that showcases Latin American music through concerts, lectures and workshops

Fringe Projects ($100,000)
A two-year thematic program and biennial-style exhibition of public art interventions and performances that explore the question, “What might a Caribbean future look like?”

FUNDarte, Inc. ($75,000)
Welcome to El Barrio & to the Main Stage
A program that pairs newly-arrived immigrant artists with established local artists and arts organizations to create new works

IlluminArts, Inc. ($45,000)
Turn of the Screw: A new, site-specific, multimedia community collaboration
IlluminArts, in conjunction with Nu Deco Ensemble and the National YoungArts Foundation, will present a new production of Benjamin Britten’s chamber opera, “The Turn of the Screw,” inspired by and performed at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

The Institute of Queer Ecology ($35,000)
The Institute of Queer Ecology: A New Organism for Miami
Contemporary art exhibitions, publications and performances that prompt intergenerational dialogue around biodiversity and environmental degradation from a queer perspective

IS Projects ($15,000)
Existent Books
A semi-annual residency and publishing initiative that brings South Florida-based artists to public-access printmaking studio IS Projects to experience fine art printmaking and create a limited edition artist book in collaboration with a master printer

Katja Esson ($75,000)
Liberty City VR – From Roosevelt’s New Deal to the Miami Riots
An immersive virtual reality experience that takes users through the sights, sounds, triumphs and tragedies of Miami’s legendary Liberty City

Kayla Castellon ($6,000)
Show and Talk
An evening of movement-based works-in-progress showings followed by a facilitated feedback discussion engaging audience, performer and choreographer

Lauren Shapiro ($12,500)
Molding the Future
A visual arts program that offers students a dynamic educational pathway to encourage environmental stewardship through ceramic arts, culminating in a site-specific artwork at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Mark Hedden ($20,000)
South of Southernmost
A photo narrative work that explores and tells the story of Ballast Key, an island 8 miles west of Key West and south of the famous Southernmost Point

Miami Jewish Film Festival (25,000)
Cinema of Forgotten Dreams: Yiddish Cinema Between Two Worlds
Commissioning local musicians to create original film scores that will be performed live as part of a film series that celebrates Yiddish silent cinema by bringing forgotten films and the culture they depict to new audiences

Miami Light Project, Inc. ($25,000)
ScreenDance Miami Festival
An annual festival including feature-length films, curated collections of short films, media installations, panels and workshops that supports dancers, choreographers and filmmakers who are forging a bold new art discipline, dance on film

Miami Lyric Opera, Inc. ($45,000)
Young Artist Program
Expansion of an acclaimed Young Artist Program at Miami Lyric Opera that cultivates the talent of bright, young artists in South Florida, through additional artists and performance

Michael Marrero ($15,000)
Orisha: The Lost Saints
A photo series exploring the disappearing Santeria religion from the Florida Keys through large format portraits of local practitioners recast as the saints they worship

MUCE Educates ($35,000)
A collective of multidisciplinary artists housed under one roof who present cultural offerings, exhibits and festivals at the MUCE campus

Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami ($75,000)
Under the Electric Tree
restoration of Mark Handforth’s public sculpture, Electric Tree, that will transform North Miami’s Griffing Park into a landmark venue with a major public artwork and all-ages programming

NWD Projects ($28,000)
Endangered Ecological Timescapes
A physical exploration of age and youth by multigenerational performers through dance and video taken at climate-affected South Florida locations

Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU ($48,250)
Place and Purpose: Art Transformation in Coconut Grove
A comprehensive exhibition that reflects Coconut Grove’s visual arts community from 1963-89 and examines the purpose of place by exploring themes and lessons that resonate with Miami’s visual arts scene today

Patsy West (60,000)
The Mikasuki People: An Exhibition
A major exhibition at the HistoryMiami Museum presenting a history of the Mikasuki-speaking people from 1540 to today through art and artifacts

Portia Dunkley ($58,000)
Music of the Unsung America: Celebrating African American Composers in the Shadows of History
A two-day concert-lecture series by a choral and orchestra ensemble of musicians of color that highlights the work of African American composers

Radiator Comics LLC ($20,000)
Radiator Comics Studio
A community art center dedicated to supporting local cartoonists, elevating the profiles of comics in South Florida, and educating new and emerging comics-makers in the region through programming, space and publications

Silvia Ros ($18,000)
An online architectural photography exhibition and guide documenting South Florida’s post-war Brutalist concrete architecture, as well as significant contemporary concrete architecture

South Florida Center for Percussive Arts, Inc. (SFCPA) ($50,000)
West Kendall Community Performance Series
The inaugural West Kendall Community Performance Series will engage the public with events by a variety of artists in the comfortable, intimate environment of the SFCPA

Sterling Rook ($15,000)
The Miami Rope Bridges
A fiber-art installation of a rope bridge made from recycled fabrics in the style of a 500-year-old tradition from indigenous Peruvian rope bridge-builders, created collaboratively through a series of participatory fiber-art workshops and presentations that build community among the creators

Susan Caraballo ($70,000)
#ARTiculatingClimate: Art Actions for Change
A series of art projects, workshops and informational sessions that will enhance Miamians’ understanding of climate change

Sweat Records ($75,000)
Sweat Records: Manifesting Community 15 Years On
An expansion of the record store’s all-ages event programing, an archive of the store’s history, and a block party that engages the community

Tango Out ($20,000)
CONEXION – Miami’s First International Queer Tango Festival
A five-day event, inspired by the International QueerTango Festivals around the globe, featuring social dance, performances and workshops by leading international queer tango artists

Tropic Bound ($50,000)
Tropic Bound: South Florida’s First Fine Art Book Fair
A fine art book fair and symposium celebrating contemporary artists’ books and connecting them to new audiences across South Florida, the Caribbean, Latin America and beyond

University of Miami’s Cuban Heritage Collection ($50,000)
El efecto Mariel: Before, During, and After (1979-1989)
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Mariel Boatlift of 1980, the Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami Libraries is organizing a yearlong series of programs and a major exhibition at the Lowe Art Museum that takes an interdisciplinary approach to re-contextualizing the events that led to that historic moment and its relevance today

Wild Beast Collective ($20,000)
Fågelbo Residency goes International with a Collaboration in Sweden
n international exchange program between South Florida and Halland, Sweden, that links artists from the subtropics and the subarctic

Women Photographers International Archive ($50,000)
Women Photographers International Congress

An inaugural, two-day symposium to convene professionals from around the globe who represent the hidden, modern and contemporary history of women photographers

Also on Monday, Knight will honor the 2019 Knight Arts Champions for their dedication to the local arts scene. The Champions include prominent Miami leaders, as well as emerging voices in the arts. Among them are producer Emilio Estefan; philanthropist Rose Ellen Greene; and Commissioner Co-Founder Dejha Carrington. Each champion was given $10,000 to contribute to a local artist or arts organization of their choice.

The 2019 Knight Arts Champions and their recipients include:

Aja Monet, poet, educator, organizer
Recipient: Voices: Poetry for the People

Andrew Martin & Steve Welsh, president and vice president, Miami Stagecraft, Inc.
Recipient: The GableStage Theatre Company

Arnold Mittelman, president/producing artistic director, National Jewish Theater Foundation
Recipient: Holocaust Impact Theater

Brook A Dorsch, founder, Emerson Dorsch
Recipient: Robert Chambers, artist & Felecia Chizuko Carlisle, artist

Cathy Leff, acting director, Bakehouse Art Complex
Recipient: BLCK Family

Dejha Carrington, co-founder, Commissioner; VP of external relations and communications, National YoungArts Foundation
Recipient: Loni Johnson- visual arts national selection panelist and visual arts co-director, National YoungArts Foundation

Emilio Estefan, producer, director, entrepreneur and author
Recipient: MISO (Music Autism Project, Miso Children Summer Camp, Miso Children Voices & Ensemble) and South Florida Youth Symphony

Kathryn Mikesell, co-founder and executive director,The Fountainhead Residency and Studios
Recipient: New World School of the Arts High School – Visual Arts Department

María Elena Ortiz, associate curator, Pérez Art Museum Miami
Recipient: The Mujerista

Mario Ernesto Sanchez, producing artistic director, Teatro Avante
Recipient: Conecta: Miami Arts

Mitchell “Micky” Wolfson, Jr., collector, author, patron, publisher and generator of culture, The Wolfsonian-FIU
Recipient: Bakehouse Art Complex

Nikisha Williams, chief operations officer, Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC)
Recipient: Art Prevails Project

Ray Ellen Yarkin, philanthropist, collector and co-chair, Institute of Contemporary Art Board
Recipient: Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami

Rose Ellen Greene, philanthropist
Recipient: New World Symphony College Track Program

Tom Virgin, artist, Extra Virgin Press
Recipient: Marie Vickles, educator and curator

Tomm El-Saieh, artist
Recipient: Diego Singh, artist



November 12, 2021

Exhibition, News

December 2, 2020

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