Performance by Detroit Afrikan Funkestra. Photo via the Knight Foundation.

Do you have an idea to make the city better through arts and culture? This might be for you.

The 2017 Knight Arts Challenge Detroit will open for submissions on March 29, offering a share of $3 million to the best ideas for the arts.

This is the fifth year in Detroit and the challenge has helped brought 222 ideas to life by awarding $9.46 million in matching grants.

The challenge is part of a two-pronged funding strategy that includes a $29 million commitment to the arts in Detroit.

The Knight Foundation funds large arts institutions that provide programming day in and day out, to help them better engage audiences, and it also aims to support new ideas through the Knight Arts Challenge so that “everyone has a shot at making their ideas a reality.”

“Few things can bring people together like the arts,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation. “They help tell our stories, create empathy, and connect us to our cities and to each other. We look forward to hearing what Detroit artists and organizations believe are the best arts ideas to move the city forward.”

The application is straightforward in that it only takes 150 words to fill out the initial application, which will be available at knightarts.org from March 29 through April 28.

There are only three rules for submissions:
1) The idea must be about the arts.
2) The project must take place in or benefit Detroit.
3) The grant recipients must find money to match Knight’s commitment.

Applicants can get more in-depth information on the challenge, and tips for applying, by attending information events the week of March 27. They include two Community Conversations, where former winners and Knight staff will offer insights and take questions, and Office Hours, where applicants can meet one-on-one with Knight Foundation to get feedback on their ideas.

The Community Conversations will be held:

  • 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, March 27 at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), 4454 Woodward Ave. Previous winners Shannon Cason of Homemade Stories and Kristi Faulkner of Kristi Faulkner Dance will be speaking. Refreshments will be provided.
  • 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, March 31 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E Warren Ave. Previous winners Rhonda Greene of Heritage Works and Lynne Avadenka of Signal-Return will be speaking. A light lunch will be provided.

Applicants who want to attend these events can register online.

15-minute office hours sessions are by online appointment only at:

  • 9 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 28: Coffee & (___), 14409 E. Jefferson Ave.
  • 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 29 at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), 4454 Woodward Ave.
  • 9 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 30 at Good Cakes and Bakes, 19363 Livernois Ave.
  • 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, March 31 at Detroit Institute of Arts, Kresge Court, 5200 Woodward Ave.

Participants can register now at detroitartsinfo.eventbrite.com.

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