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Terence Blanchard of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Courtesy Photo
Terence Blanchard of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Courtesy Photo

A total of 58 artists working different mediums have been selected to receive $2.48 million in grants from the John S. and John L. Knight Foundation as part of the Knight Arts Challenge.

The Foundation highlighted three distinct areas in which grantees were chosen as part of the Knight Arts Challenge. They were enabling Detroiters to tell their own stories and preserve local history, Strengthening the local dance community, and reimagining community spaces.

Awardees were from across the city and some in the region. The three rules to apply were simple: the idea must be about the arts, the project must take place in or benefit Detroit, and the grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.

“I am continually impressed by the range of arts groups in the city, by seeing some of the older organizations expand in new and exciting ways, and by the passion of the newer groups as they carve a niche in Detroit’s arts scene,” said Katy Locker, Detroit program director for Knight Foundation. “Together, they embody all that’s good about Detroit’s cultural legacy and continue to build on that to create an even brighter future.”

This special challenge is in its second of three years and is funded to the tune of $9 million.

“For the second time, Detroit has shown the depth of the city’s creative community, and exceeded our expectations with their ideas,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president of arts for Knight Foundation.  “We are thrilled by the quality and engagement opportunities presented by of this year’s Knight Arts Challenge winners.”

In the past, projects like repurposing wood from vacant homes into guitars by Mark Wallace, Cinetopia, the international film festival that expanded to become Detroit’s signature film festival, and DLECTRICITY, a two-night outdoor “nuit blanche” festival have won Challenge grants.

There is an additional $10.25 million that is targeted to a variety of Detroit area cultural institutions such as the Arab American National Museum, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit School of Arts, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theatre and the Sphinx Organization.

Some of the largest award winners this year included:

A project supporting a block party and series of events to “develop and inspire” Banglatown in Hamtramck. ($250,000)

Supporting the work of performance artist Nick Cave at Cranbrook and “spectacles around the city” ($150,000)

A new building and programming for Dabls MBAD African Bead Museum ($100,000)

The expansion of the Detroit Dance City Festival ($100,000)

Paying Homage To Detroit’s Post-Motown Sound through “Dancing Through The Night,” a techno-poety performance ($100,000)

A creative campus for artists in the North End is going to be transformed from abandoned to an outdoor theatre and “cultural hub.” ($100,000)

In Brightmoor there will be a repurposing of a building into a Makerspace to support a community of makers by the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan ($100,000)

The “Write A House” Program that’s offering a house to writers which awards renovated houses to writers based on the quality of their work ($100,000)

For a complete list, visit their website here.