John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Announces $23 Million in South Florida Arts Funding

$9 million will go toward continuing the 5-year-old Knight Arts Challenge

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced $23 million in new funding for the arts in South Florida on Monday.

The gifts include $14 million in support for leading cultural institutions such as the Miami City Ballet and the Wolfsonian-FIU, which will receive $5 million each.

Miami’s “winter symphony,” the Cleveland Orchestra, will get $2 million, the foundation said in a press release. A million dollars will be devoted to arts education, and the Borscht Film Festival and the Miami International Film Festival will receive $500,000 each.

The Knight Foundation’s new funding also includes $9 million to continue the Knight Arts Challenge, a contest that works to enhance the local arts scene. A total of 6,601 ideas have been put forward for challenge funding over the past five years, with the best receiving grants. The contest seeks out “nontraditional” recipients, with more than half of the ideas coming from people, businesses or organizations that don’t have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, according to the Knight Foundation.

With the new funding, the Knight Foundation has invested $86 million in South Florida’s cultural community in six years. It recently announced $19.25 million in funding for Detroit’s arts scene.

“The arts not only inspire and challenge, they help create the shared experiences that connect people to one another and the places they live,” said the organization’s president, Alberto Ibargüen. “The success of our earlier initiative in Miami has encouraged us to expand to Philadelphia and Detroit and, now, to take it to the next level in Miami.”

Thirty-four Knight Arts Challenge winners received a total of $2.28 million in funding just on Monday.

The awards included $40,000 for the 6th Street Dance Studio’s TruSchool, a free hip-hop program for young people in Little Havana and Overtown, and $150,000 for a programming expansion at the Coral Gables Art Cinema.

The Palm Beach collaborative Arts Garage won the Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award, which comes with a $20,000 prize.

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