Earlier this month the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation granted nearly $2.3 million in awards to 34 winners of its 2012 Knight Arts Challenge Miami.
The awards range from $10,000 for the Pablo Malco Foundation’s Hip-Hop Symphony, which aims to marry the rhythms of hip-hop and dance with the instrumentation of classical, to ArtWorks’ $225,000 grant for a project to help high school students in Overtown, Wynwood, Little Haiti and Liberty City pursue the arts via paid art internships and apprenticeships.
And South Miami-Dade could soon see a new space for community theater with a residency opportunity for artists at Palmetto Bay’s Deering Estate, thanks to a $35,000 grant to the Deering Estate Foundation. Mary Petit, executive director of the Deering Foundation and Jennifer Tisthammer, Deering’s director, see many possibilities for providing community theater in the region, which she said lacks community theaters beyond a Black Box room at the new South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay.
Grants, which must be matched by the recipients, were given to individuals, organizations or others in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties in disciplines such as film, dance, theater, music, visual art and storytelling.
Winning a grant is a considerable boost, not only financially, but psychologically, in helping fledgling, as well as veteran, organizations thrive in today’s tough economic climate.
“There’s a sense of affirmation and recognition for such a young arts project, an official imprimatur in South Florida that you’re a Knight Challenge winner and that you arrived,” said Robert Rosenberg, director for the Coral Gables Art Cinema’s Cinemateque project which landed a $150,000 grant.
“Feels to me like a really big boost, a huge acknowledgment of what a great show we have,” agreed Andrea Askowitz, co-creator of the popular Lip Service reading series which has a $50,000 grant to help spread more stories.
Meet some of the winners:
Expanding a Nonprofit Film Arts Center
Project: Coral Gables Art Cinema
Recipient: Coral Gables Cinemateque
The Coral Gables Art Cinema, built out of a parking garage on Aragon Avenue two years ago, has quickly become one of South Florida’s premiere art houses. Along with a handful of other stand-alone art movie theaters, the venue, a joint venture between the city of Coral Gables, which owns the building, and the Coral Gables Cinemateque, a nonprofit film arts organization founded by Steven Krams, proves that not every screen in town needs to feature Hollywood’s biggest hits.
Robert Rosenberg, director of the two-story theater — which features an art gallery and beer and wine concessions to go along with its stadium-sized screen and its enveloping surround sound — has lofty ambitions to match his surroundings.
“We’re going to focus this grant on two different projects we’ll be doing. The first will be the South Florida Children’s Film Festival in April. We’ve been planning to do this, but this is jumpstarting it.”
The three-day annual event will feature family programming in partnership with the New York International Children’s Film Festival.
“Hopefully, with this national profile this festival will bring families to films with alternative programming. The other piece is a series of initiatives designed to enhance the production of feature films in South Florida,” he says.