Five South Florida arts organizations vie for Knight Foundation’s People’s Choice Award


Cast your vote

Watch the nominees’ videos at and vote for your choice by texting the individual’s number to 22333 by Friday.

For Indie Film Club text ARTS1

For Mapou Cultural Center text ARTS2

For Motivational Edge text ARTS3

For Puppet Network text ARTS4

For Teo Castellanos text ARTS5

Everyone’s a critic. Now you can be heard.

The public will determine which of five small South Florida arts organizations will receive $20,000 in a new awards program sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. There are no restrictions on the money, which can be spent as wished.

“We wanted to give non-artists an opportunity to participate in the Knight Arts Challenge,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation. “It’s an easy way to get engaged in our growing cultural community and champion an art project you really care about.”

The Knight Foundation Challenge People’s Choice Award spotlights up-and-coming people and organizations from within South Florida’s growing cultural arts scene. Visitors who log on to can view the five nominees’ videos and cast a vote by text.

“In Miami, there are artists everywhere, in each neighborhood, who are working to make this city a year-round art extravaganza,” said Scholl. “We wanted to shine the spotlight on these emerging organizations — from Fort Lauderdale to Allapattah and Little Haiti — and help them take their work to the next level.”

The nominees are:

•  Indie Film Club: a small collective of local filmmakers who want to expand an interactive film festival dedicated to cross-platform storytelling.

•  Mapou Cultural Center: A bookstore in Little Haiti that wants to expand its Haitian-Caribbean book fair by inviting more authors from Haiti, the United States and Europe.

•  Motivational Edge: an arts program for disadvantaged youth in Miami’s Allapattah neighborhood where students engage in creative writing and lyrical expression.

•  Puppet Network: A Broward-based organization that wants to engage more South Floridians in its Mexican Day of the Dead celebration, which includes a puppet parade, mask workshops and family-designed altars to loved ones.

•  Teo Castellanos: the multi-hyphenate actor, writer, director ( NE 2nd Avenue) and founder of D-Projects dance/theater company is producing a solo show based on the history of his brothers in Puerto Rico.

The five were chosen from the 66 Knight Arts Challenge finalists the foundation announced in the summer, Scholl said.

“We looked for up-and-coming arts groups with a range of ideas and genres that reflect our diverse community.”

Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.

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