Teo Castellanos.
Teo Castellanos.

Knight Foundation Awards $2.72 Million to O Cinema, Miami Rail, GableStage and More

Last night, while many Miamians were busy planning out their Art Basel event itineraries, an entirely separate arts organization unveiled its plans to help further expand culture in South Florida.

The Knight Foundation announced the winners of this year's Knight Arts Challenge last night, including 49 winners taking home a total of $2.72 million.

See also: Knight Arts Challenge Miami People's Choice Award: Miami Arts Groups Vying for $20K

The winning projects span from Palm Beach to Key West, but most are centrally located right here in Miami. In a statement, the foundation explained that the winners fall into three categories: those that will "push the limits of art and technology," "celebrate the offbeat in South Florida," and "bring art into neighborhoods" like Overtown and Miramar.

Among the Miami winners are O Cinema, which plans to add a second auditorium for smaller, more specialized screenings; the Museum of Contemporary Art, which will launch a film festival dedicated to Nigerian cinema; the Miami Book Fair International, which will create a pop-up "Swamp" lounge to promote Florida authors at its annual event; and GableStage, which will begin staging its productions at local middle and high schools.

See also: Knight Arts Challenge Finalist MOCA Hopes to Celebrate "Nollywood"

The Bass Museum will expand its outdoor offerings to include concerts and other live performances, while Miami's Indie Film Club will expand its Filmgate film festival. University of Wynwood's project to popularize Miami poet David Justice was also a winner.

See also: Knight Arts Challenge Finalist University of Wynwood Plans Tribute to Miami Poet Donald Justice

Teo Castellanos D-Projects was the winner of the Knight Arts Challenge People's Choice Award, earning him $20,000. Castellanos was also one of the 49 winners of the regular Knight Arts Challenge grants, earning another $25,000. The grant will fund a one-act play created by Castellanos and Tarell Alvin McCraney, who won a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship earlier this year.

See also: Tarell Alvin McCraney, Karen Russell Win MacArthur Fellowships, Are Now Officially Geniuses

Looks like Miami arts lovers have plenty to look forward to.

Read on to see the full list of all 49 winners.

ArtCenter/South Florida


To provide opportunities for Miami's artistic talent and to attract new creatives to the city by strengthening the center's residency programs

Awesome New Republic


To bring together the city's musicians, dancers and filmmakers to produce a multimedia theatrical work that explores South Florida's evolution from swampland to modern metropolis

The Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida


To provide a platform for recognized and emerging spoken word artists during a monthly series that will eventually be presented at Overtown's historic Lyric Theater when it reopens in 2014

Cannonball Miami


To provide local artists with opportunities for growth through a new educational program that explores experimental thinking in art production and education

Circ X and The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater


To create Greater Miami's only resident cabaret at the Jackie Gleason Theater by converting the greenroom into a permanent space for regular performances

Community Arts Program


To introduce more young Miamians to jazz by creating an after-school jazz institute that provides leading-edge training in America's great art form

Florida International University College of Architecture + Arts


To develop the next generation of creatives by launching a summer career discovery program for high school students centered on art and design

Friends of the Bass Museum


To make provocative artworks accessible to the public by expanding the museum's outdoor public exhibitions to include concerts, performances and other programming



To engage South Florida's GLBTQ youth through the arts by growing the annual Out in the Tropics Performing Arts Festival to include educational workshops in high schools and community centers



To promote an appreciation for theater by presenting one of GableStage's productions to local high schools and middle schools, with a study guide and post-performance discussion

Hattie Mae Williams


To explore the past and present of the historic Venetian Pool and the Miami Marine Stadium by creating a site-specific dance performance

Indie Film Club Miami


To develop the local film scene by expanding Filmgate, the recently launched interactive film festival, which focuses on cross-platform storytelling, interactive screenings and more

Ivan Toth Depeña


To promote innovation in the local arts community by creating a series of multimedia, augmented-reality public art projects that exist in both the physical and virtual worlds

Key West Council on the Arts


To spur interest in classical music across generations by creating a monthlong series that includes family concerts and educational lectures

Mapou Cultural Center


To promote Haitian culture and literature by creating a Haitian-American book fair in Little Haiti

Meals That Heal


To provide an innovative funding source for the arts by organizing pop-up dinners at arts venues where participants vote on a creative project to support

meme - media experi mental ensemble


To explore the fusion of art, music and technology by presenting a multimedia opera written by a southern Florida professor

Miami Beach Film Society


To foster a deeper appreciation for cinema through a series of conversations on the art of filmmaking led by local and visiting film critics

Miami Book Fair International


To raise the profile of Florida authors by creating a pop-up lounge at the Book Fair that features writers whose works explore the beauty, contradictions, uniqueness and weirdness of life in the Sunshine State

Miami Contemporary Dance Company


To draw audiences to Overtown's historic Lyric Theater with a souped-up dance series taking place when the renovated theater reopens in 2014


Miami Gay Men's Chorus


To strengthen choral leadership by expanding the annual South Florida Choral Festival to include professional development workshops

Miami Music Project


To empower more children to play and appreciate classical music by expanding the project's orchestral academy to a third location, Liberty City

Miramar Cultural Trust


To provide deeper insights into arts and culture through a new series where professional artists perform and engage in a dialogue with the audience

Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA)


To expose South Florida audiences to global art centers through a film festival focused on cinema in Nigeria, home to one of the largest film industries in the world

New Theatre


To sprinkle theater throughout Miami-Dade County by expanding a one-act play festival to four locations from Hialeah to Homestead, Kendall and the beaches

New World School of the Arts


To help talented low-income students gain a competitive edge in auditions for collegiate arts programs by providing training through the Summer Theater Academy

O Cinema


To strengthen a center for independent film by upgrading equipment and adding a second auditorium to expand film offerings

Palm Beach Opera


To bring opera into the community through a series of free outdoor community concerts that include a full orchestra and chorus



To build up South Florida's design and technology-based art community through a co-op offering access to a range of equipment

Puppet Network


To engage South Florida in the Latin American tradition of Dia de los Muertos by expanding the Broward-based celebration that includes a giant puppet parade, mask workshops and family-designed altars for loved ones

Puremovement Projects


To explore the continuing global impact of hip-hop dance through a weeklong series of free classes and workshops featuring award-winning choreographer Rennie Harris and other hip-hop pioneers


Seraphic Fire


To bring the award-winning vocal ensemble to new audiences through regular masterworks concerts at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center

Shira Lee Abergel


To entertain audiences unconventionally by reimagining the medicine shows of old in a wooden wagon that travels and transforms into a theatrical playing space

6th Street Dance Studio/Whole Project


To encourage artistic growth in Miami by creating a residency program for young professional dancers and musicians


South Florida Center for Percussive Arts


To foster a sense of community among an often-disparate group of local percussionists by providing free weekly master classes taught by well-known drumming artists

Studio Enrique Martínez Celaya


To strengthen audiences for the visual arts by offering a series of lectures on the intersection of arts and ethics

Teatro Prometeo


To celebrate children's theater from around the world by launching a free international children's theater festival in South Florida during Miami Book Fair International

Teo Castellanos D-Projects


To fuse world culture, ritual and music in a uniquely Miami story through a one-act play and film produced by artists Teo Castellanos and Tarell McCraney

The Bakehouse Art Complex


To strengthen a studio art space by updating The Bakehouse's workshops and adding a foundry for casting metals

The M Ensemble Company


To inspire an appreciation for theater by having Florida Memorial University students work behind the scenes on a production

The Miami Rail


To inspire great writing by supporting a visiting-writers program where authors host lectures, roundtables and workshops

The Motivational Edge


To strengthen an arts program that enables disadvantaged youth to demonstrate their feelings through creative writing and lyrical expression

Tigertail Productions


To explore art through the perspectives of French and Miami artists during a series of site-specific and new performances that will make up FLA-FRA (Florida-France) in 2014.

University of Wynwood


To celebrate renowned poet Donald Justice through a new book and conference in his hometown of Miami, where he is virtually unknown

Upper Room Art Gallery


To preserve the traditional art form of creating dugout canoes by organizing a seasonal Paddle Up, featuring Seminole and Miccosukee canoes

Pérez Art Museum Miami


To celebrate the new waterfront home of Pérez Art Museum Miami with a monthly series of free evening public programs




To foster a community of jazz aficionados by expanding WDNA's Jazz Encounter to a video audience through live broadcasts and video archives

WPBT2/ Community Television Foundation of South Florida


To provide exposure for South Florida artists by producing profiles of 20 prominent artists under the age of 40

Zoetic Stage


To offer South Florida playwrights a platform by producing two world-premiere plays at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.

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