Last night, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation made South Florida artists and arts groups happy to the tune of $2.28 million. The Knight Arts Challenge will fund 34 projects, bringing the total of arts projects funded since 2008 to 143 -- representing nearly $20 million in support for ideas to enhance the arts in the region the foundation calls home. Those funds are part of a larger $86 million investment the Knight Foundation has made in South Florida arts, and the foundation just announced that it will invest $23 million more to extend the Knight Arts Challenge through 2015 and support projects at seven institutions.
The 34 newly revealed grants will fund projects in the visual arts, music, dance, arts education -- and seven that focus on or include theater. The 2012 theater winners, who have to match the Knight Arts Challenge funding, are:
*Actors' Playhouse of Coral Gables, which receives $40,000 to bring 3,000 students from 8th to 12th grade to its production of the Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights; the experience includes study guides, discussions with the director and actors, and a rap-writing contest, with finalists performing at the Miracle Theatre.
*Miami's Centro Cultural Español, which receives $100,000 to produce 15-minute short plays in Spanish and English three times a year in intimately sized shipping containers.
* The Deering Estate Foundation, which will receive $35,000 to help create a playwright development program, retreats and a resident theater company at its historic facility.
*FUNDarte, which gets $100,000 for its Miami on Stage Knight New Works project, selecting three projects to fully produce and tour to two additional locations.
*Miami Theater Center in Miami Shores, which will receive $100,000 to help individuals and small performing arts groups develop work in its discounted 70-seat Sandbox space; those selected get marketing help, a commissioning fee, and rehearsal and performance space.
*The Project [theatre], which gets $25,000 toward developing larger-scale, immersive, site-specific theater experiences in Miami.
*Arts Garage in Delray Beach, which includes the Theatre at Arts Garage, won the Knight Arts Challenge People's Choice Award, receiving $20,000 to enhance its artistically eclectic programming.
For more information on the Knight Arts Challenge program in Miami, visit the foundation's web page.