Congrats to Knight Arts Challenge Finalists

Last fall, over 1,300 artists and arts organizations applied for $150,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. (Check our Q&A with Miami Program Director Dennis Scholl.) Today the 56 finalists were announced, and by November, the Knight Foundation Trustees will select the winners.

As far as we can tell, winning the Knight Arts Challenge is the only way to make art happen in this city. And that's alarming considering that the five-year, $20 million patronage project will have its last year in Miami next year. The year 2012 might just be the end of the world after all -- at least for 305 arts and culture. Who will step up and fund our projects? In the meantime, read on for some of this year's finalists we're rooting for and see the full list here.

The challenge has just three rules: The idea must be about art, must

take place in or benefit Miami, and winners must find funds

(within a year) to match Knight Foundation's grant. Here are some the

projects will think hold promise:

[NAME] Publications vows to dedicated a year of art books to Miami's

female artists. And as we saw compiling our list of 100 Creatives, there

are dozens of worthy subjects.

Bas Fisher Invitational wants to expand the Weird Miami bus tours, where

artists program guided jaunts through local eccentricities. Read our

recaps of last year's tours here.

Coral Morphologic wants to bring a video aquarium to Museum Park.

Friends of Gusman and Sweat Records envision a battle of the bands at the fancy downtown Olympia Theater.

Lucila Garcia de Onrubia wants to feature Miami art on parking meter

receipts (cool, as long as we can agree up front - NO BRITTO).

Lastly Miami's film, poetry, dance, and music scenes are jamming, but

theater? Snoozeville. This weekend's Cowboy Mouth, was a breath of fresh

thespian air. We support any Knights finalist looking to inject new

life into our city's theater scene:

City Theatre wants to cultivate local playwrights by uniting local writers

with national playwrights, artistic directors and industry leaders for

master classes, workshops and mentorships.

The M Ensemble Company aims to cultivate African-American via a mentorship program to develop of scripts and new play series.

GableStage wants to launch a Shakespeare Festival with Miami-native playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney.

Zoetic Stage would like to explore Miami's people and cultural identity through

"The Miami Plays," a series by South Florida playwrights launched with

the help of local actors, stage designers and artisans.

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