Ugo Rondinone’s Miami Mountain at The Bass in Miami. Photo: Zachary Balder.

Knight Foundation Awards $37 Million to Miami Arts Organizations

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced that it will invest $37 million in new funding to twenty-two Miami arts organizations, expanding its commitment to the cultural sector in South Florida. As part of its campaign to champion local arts institutions, it will also ensure the return of the Knight Arts Challenge initiative, which will help realize art projects across the city. The program will start up again in 2019 and will alternate with the Knight New Work initiative, which will commission new works of art.

The foundation has established new grants to “anchor” institutions such as the Pérez Art Museum Miami and the Miami City Ballet, which will both receive $3 million; to promote new “cutting-edge” projects such as Borscht Film’s proposal to cultivate new independent filmmakers in Miami; and to restore cultural staples in the city, such as the Coconut Grove Playhouse, a historic theater that was built in 1926 and shuttered in 2006.

“Art and culture bind people to place and to each other,” said Knight Foundation president Alberto Ibargüen. “A dozen years ago, we saw an arts community that could be leveraged to make art general in Miami. One hundred and sixty-five million dollars over a decade says we’re serious about this. The latest $37 million says we’re delighted with the impact and are shifting focus more toward the middle-level arts organizations and with a much greater emphasis on the creation of art in the city.”

The five winners of the inaugural Knight New Work initiative will share $500,000 to create and perform original, groundbreaking works of theater, dance, and music in Miami. The awardees are Danzas del Silencio, a collaboration between the Grammy-nominated ensemble Seraphic Fire and the guitarist Alvaro Bermudez; DECO: Danzon of Eclectic Cultural Origin, a nontraditional ballet; F/Punk Junkies, a dance theater experience that aims to disrupt traditional ways of both creating and experiencing art; G7: 2070, an immersive theatrical summit; and The Edwidge Danticat Project: Create Dangerously, a theatrical dramatization of novelist and Little Haiti resident Edwidge Danticat’s Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work.

The list of the twenty-two organizations receiving grants are as follows:

Arsht Performing Arts Center
ArtCenter/South Florida
Bass Museum
Borscht Film
DASH/New World School of the Arts
Florida International University
Friends of the Underline
Frost School of Music 
Institute of Contemporary Art 
Locust Projects Inc.
Miami City Ballet
Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs
Miami International Film Festival
Miami Light Project
Miami Music Project
Miami New Drama
New World Symphony
O Cinema
O, Miami at the Betsy
Pérez Art Museum Miami
Rubell Family Collection Contemporary Arts Foundation 
Visual Art Residency Programs