Now in its second year, the community-wide challenge funds the best ideas for engaging and enriching Philadelphia through the arts.
Emerging from more than 1,260 submissions, the 2012 winners represent a wide range of Philadelphia’s creative thinkers, including artists Erica Hawthorne and Sean Stoops, small organizations like the Bearded Ladies Cabaret and the Little Berlin collective, and established institutions with innovative ideas.
“The cities that succeed, that offer the greatest quality of life, view every single person as a creative being,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation’s vice president for arts. “We hope the Knight Arts Challenge and its winners provide an added spark that inspires the community to build a better future together.”
This year’s winners will:
Bring art into Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, through pop-up Latin jazz performances, “Site and Sound” gardens in Nicetown-Tioga and a campaign that will bring locally produced art to public advertising spaces near the place where the piece was produced.
Transform communities through public art installations, such as a new steam- and water-inspired work in Dilworth Plaza, a permanent light installation at a Quaker meeting house and rotating, site-specific public art for the community and daily commuters at The Porch at 30th Street Station.
Use the assets of larger organizations to benefit emerging artists, including a new black-box theater residency program at the Kimmel Center, an incubator for creative businesses at the University of the Arts and a teaching corps of tech-saavy art teachers at The Hacktory.
A full list of winners can be found here.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter declared April 23 Knight Arts Challenge Day in recognition of the initiative’s impact and its support for a broad spectrum of the creative community.
To date, 71 ideas have been awarded $5.4 million. A third round of the Knight Arts Challenge will open in the fall.
“We asked the community for their best ideas – and received an overwhelming response, showing the strength of this city’s creative community,” said Donna Frisby-Greenwood, Philadelphia program director for Knight Foundation.
The Knight Arts Challenge Philadelphia is open to anyone with a great idea for the arts. The challenge has just three rules: 1) The idea must be about the arts, 2) the project must take place in or benefit Philadelphia and 3) the grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.
The Knight Arts Challenge began in 2008 in Miami, where the initiative is now in its fifth year. Philadelphia is the second city to which Knight has offered this program.
For more on Knight Foundation’s arts initiative and to view a full list of Knight Arts Challenge winners, visit www.KnightArts.org. Connect on the Knight Arts Challenge Facebook page here and via @KnightArts on Twitter.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org
Knight Arts Challenge Philadelphia 2012 Winners
For more detailed project descriptions & video, visit knightarts.org.
Performing Arts Will Diversify Old City’s First Fridays
Project: Arden Festival Fridays
Recipient: Arden Theatre Company
To diversify artistic offerings by presenting multidisciplinary performances alongside gallery events during Old City’s monthly First Fridays
“Pop-Up” Performances Bring Latin Jazz to Philly Neighborhoods
Project: AMLA Flash Jazz Mobile
Recipient: Artists and Musicians of Latin America
To cultivate new audiences for Latin jazz by presenting “pop-up” performances by local artists using a portable stage
Stories of Urban Youth Come to Life in “Hip H’Opera”
Project: Hip H’Opera
Recipient: Art Sanctuary
To celebrate two art forms that use the human voice to tell profound stories by creating a “Hip H’Opera” using the stories of urban life.
Communities Experience Art in Unexpected Places
Project: Neighborhood Spotlight Series
Recipient: Asian Arts Initiative
To provide everyday artistic experiences by creating site-specific works for nontraditional places like restaurants, storefronts and public plazas
Late-Night Cabarets Explore Social Issues with Sparkle on the Avenue of the Arts
Project: Bearded Ladies Cabaret Revolution
Recipient: Bearded Ladies Cabaret
To attract new audiences to theater – using the medium to explore social issues with sparkle – through a series of original, late-night cabarets.
New Form of Symphonic Pops Concert Celebrates World Music
Project: Black Pearl Pops!
Recipient: Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra
To showcase diverse cultures by transforming a symphonic “pops” concert into a celebration of world music.
College Students Gain New Access to the City’s Arts Scene
Project: Campus Philly’s Passport to the Arts
Recipient: Campus Philly
To foster a lifelong appreciation of the arts by offering free or discounted admission to venues and performances for college students.
Workshop Gives Voice to Unheard Stories of the Lao-American Community
Project: Laos in the House: Voices from Four Decades of the Lao Diaspora
Recipient: Catzie Vilayphonh
To promote storytelling within the Lao-American community through a writing, performance and filmmaking workshop.
Public Art Transforms Dilworth Plaza and Thriving Center City
Project: New Public Art at Dilworth Plaza
Recipient: Center City District
To help transform historic Dilworth Plaza by commissioning internationally recognized sculptor Janet Echelman to create an artwork inspired by the site’s historic association with water and steam.
Art Installation Open to All Inspires Dialogue on Art and Spirituality
Project: In the Light: A Skyspace by James Turrell
Recipient: Chestnut Hill Friends Meetinghouse Project
To offer visitors a contemplative art space by incorporating the work of internationally acclaimed light artist James Turrell into a new facility.
Residents Transform Vacant Lots Into Visual and Sound Gardens
Project: Site and Sound Gardens
Recipient: COSACOSA art at large
To transform abandoned spaces into “sacred” art parks for the community by engaging residents to create visual and sound gardens in the Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood.
Local Artists Get Support From Mini Grant Program
Project: Small-But-Mighty Arts Grant
Recipient: Erica Hawthorne
To give a boost to local artists by creating a mini grant program to help finance their art making with awards ranging from $50 to $1,000.
Mobile Studio Brings Community Art to New Neighborhoods
Project: ColorWheels: Delivering Creativity to Your Community
Recipient: Fleisher Art Memorial
To engage the community in hands-on art making by expanding the reach of a mobile studio where participants create projects inspired by their neighborhoods.
West Philadelphia Lots Become Artistic Skate Parks
Project: Skateable City
Recipient: Franklin’s Paine Skatepark Fund
To help transform West Philadelphia neighborhoods by turning blacktop lots into art-laden skate parks.
Free Theater Festival Showcases Diversity On Stage
Project: Philly Urban Theatre Festival
Recipient: GoKash Productions
To promote original plays through a free theater festival dedicated to multicultural themes.
Late-Night Museum Happenings Encourage New Audiences
Project: Midnight Madness
Recipient: Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation
To engage younger audiences in the visual arts through a series of simultaneous late-night happenings at three of Philadelphia’s premier art museums.
Cutting-Edge Performing Arts Gain New Visibility Through Residency Program
Project: Underground Residencies at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Recipient: Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
To engage new audiences in the performing arts by creating a residency program in the Kimmel Center’s black-box theater for innovative and emerging art groups.
Visual and Performing Arts Fill an East Kensington Lot
Project: Little Berlin Fairgrounds
Recipient: Little Berlin
To help transform the East Kensington neighborhood by turning an empty lot into an event space for musicians, art fairs and children’s workshop.
Outdoor Summer Film Series Showcases Local Artists and Filmmakers
Project: Urban Drive-In with DIY Food Culture
Recipient: The Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design
To introduce the work of local visual artists and filmmakers to a wider audience by establishing an outdoor independent film series on the Parkway.
Weekly Drumming Lessons Inspire Local Youth
Project: Drum Line
To empower and inspire Philadelphia’s youth through their participation in an indoor percussion ensemble by providing weekly drumming lessons and performing opportunities.
Gospel Choirs, Composers and Jazz Ensembles Celebrate Dr. King
Project: New Music Celebrations of the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Recipient: Orchestra 2001
To celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Orchestra 2001 will present a concert featuring a new concerto based on the civil rights leader’s life.
Design Center Provides New Resources to Theater and Visual Artists
Project: Philadelphia Theatrical Design Center
Recipient: Partners for Sacred Places
To expand the capacity of the city’s theater community by providing a new space for theater designers and visual artists at a repurposed local church.
Free Digital Cameras Give Access to Communities for Photography Exhibition
Project: Bring to Light: Philadelphia Recipient: Philadelphia Photo Arts Center Award: $35,000 To encourage broader audience participation in the city’s visual arts by expanding Philly Photo Day, where everyone is invited to take a picture on the same day for an exhibition.
Architecture Seen in a New Light with 3D Video Art Events
Project: Animated Architecture: 3D Video Mapping Projections on Historic Sites
Recipient: Sean Stoops
To support an innovative form of 3D digital animation by creating site-specific video art events screened on local buildings.
Plays in Nontraditional Spaces Bring Adventure to Audiences
Project: Outside The (Black) Box
Recipient: Swim Pony Performing Arts
To weave the arts into the community by presenting original, contemporary plays in nontraditional spaces, including Eastern State Penitentiary and the Academy of Natural Sciences.
Multidisciplinary Festival Features Black Male Artists
Project: Henry “Box” Brown - The Escape Artist
Recipient: The Brothers Network
To introduce diverse audiences to the performing arts by creating a multidisciplinary festival that features black men as thinkers, artists, choreographers, dancers, composers and more.
Locally Produced Art Populates Neighborhood Public Spaces
Project: Made in Philly Recipient: The Center for Emerging Visual Artists Award: $25,000 To bring visual art to a wider audience by placing locally produced art in public advertising spaces in the same neighborhood where the piece was produced.
Ceramic Mug “Assault” Explores Relevance of Handmade Things
Project: Guerilla Mug Assault
Recipient: The Clay Studio
To explore the relevance of handmade ceramic objects in the 21st century by providing a handmade mug to people leaving coffee shops and encouraging them to post about their experiences on the Web.
Choral Works for Nontraditional Spaces to Be Commissioned
Project: Performances at the Icebox
Recipient: The Crossing
To introduce a wider audience to contemporary choral music by establishing a series of new works designed specifically for a nontraditional venue – the recently restored Crane Arts’ Icebox.
Sculptural Installation Explores Visual Art and Theater
Project: Daniel Arsham: Performative Architecture
Recipient: The Fabric Workshop and Museum
To create a sculptural intervention by artist Daniel Arsham within The Fabric Workshop and Museum that will include a live performance to explore the boundaries between museum and theatrical spaces.
Teaching Program Fosters New Knowledge for Use of Technology in the Arts
Project: Corps of Interactive Artist Teachers
Recipient: The Hacktory
To promote the use of technology in the arts by developing an intensive tech/art curriculum for local artists who will share their knowledge with Philadelphia students.
Creative Incubator Supports Emerging Creative Businesses
Project: Creative Incubator
Recipient: The University of the Arts
To promote economic stability for the city’s cultural community by offering support to emerging creative businesses with pre-seed funding, mentorship programs and workshops.
Citywide Scavenger Hunts Introduce Teens to Art and Adventure
Project: ARTward Bound: a creative orienteering adventure
Recipient: The Village of Arts and Humanities
To develop young people’s awareness of the city’s vibrant cultural scene through interactive scavenger hunts led by local artists.
Master Class Series Provides Advanced Training for Local Actors
Project: Creating a Common Artistic Voice
Recipient: The Wilma Theater
To enhance training for local actors by creating a series of master classes.
Public Art Enlivens The Porch at 30th Street Station
Project: A Permanent Place for Temporary Art in University City
Recipient: University City District
To establish a new outlet for public art that showcases temporary installations at The Porch at 30th Street Station