South Floridians can voice their choice and vote on one of the five arts organizations vying for the first Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award.
The winner will receive $20,000 to work on a project to broaden the region’s cultural map.
“It’s a vehicle that gives flight to new ideas,” said Matt Haggman, Miami program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. “If someone has a new arts idea, they apply to the Knight Arts Foundation and they can get money to give flight to their idea. It helps accelerate creativity and gives opportunity to artists across our city to be able to act on their ideas.”
Four of the five organizations – 6th Street Dance Studio, FUNDarte, LAB Miami and Urgent, Inc. – are in the city of Miami. Arts Garage is in Delray Beach in Palm Beach County.
Each of the nominees has a video posted at KnightArts.org/peopleschoice. Voters can send a text message to the number on the website to choose their favorite. Votes can be cast through Oct. 22. Winners will be announced Dec. 3.
6th Street Dance Studio
Nestled in Little Havana, the 6th Street Dance Studio provides space for performing artists for class study, workshops, rehearsals and performance.
If the studio wins the grant, it would “broaden and support the TruSchool hip-hop program for kids by incorporating new forms of dance, writing and cultural events,” according to the video posted at KnightArts.org
Even though the money will be useful for the dance studio, founder Brigid Baker said she will not wait for the money to accomplish the studio’s goals.
“I don’t wait for money, I build things on volunteer basis until I can pay for it,” said Baker, who has been dancing for 43 years. “I set it up, and I figure out how to pay for it later. I don’t have debts here.”
The studio has expanded to the Overtown area. Should the studio be awarded the grant, Baker wants to set up a bus system to shuttle students between Little Havana and Overtown.
“Most of the children have so much trouble getting here,” Baker said.
The money will also help pay teachers and to expand the program for more students.
“The studio is open 24 hours a day. Everyone in the neighborhood knows who we are. It’s essential to me that we know the parents and the neighbors, too,” she said. “There’s no getting around the community for me.”
Text 1 to 305-767-2200 to vote for the 6th Street Dance Studio.
Arts Garage Executive Director Alyona Ushe believes the venue she works at has a certain charm.
Created in November 2010, the Arts Garage came about after Delray Beach converted the lower level of a city parking garage into a cozy space to host cultural and arts events.
“The venue itself is very special, it has pulse or heartbeat of its own,” Ushe said. “It’s this intimate gem that you get to feel legendary artists up close and personal and up and coming artists without seeing the difference between the two.”
Eventually she will help move the current space to the future location, a 10,000 square-foot venue.
“The idea is to bring all the art disciplines together and bring creative juices together under one roof and one stage,” Ushe said. “We want to feature legendary artists and give them a voice. We want to become a place where artists come create, and for this to become a destination for artists and their patrons.”