As Art Basel has grown into the biggest art fair in the world, Miami has become known as an international hub of the visual arts, on par with cultural nerve centers around the globe. In recent years, the Magic City has also begun to earn its due recognition for being home to a rich and burgeoning performing arts scene.
Today the Knight Foundation announced a new grant the nonprofit hopes will help that scene grow even further. Knight New Work Miami offers a total of $500,000 to Miami artists — both those who live here and those with a strong connection to the city — to create works that will debut in Miami and continue to build upon the city's cultural landscape.
"I think it’s just a phenomenal opportunity for us to look at and to enable institutions and artists to commission groundbreaking, innovative new work and to really showcase Miami as a place where great art is born," says Victoria Rogers, vice president of arts at the Knight Foundation.
The foundation is no stranger to patronage of the arts. Helping entities ranging from Miami City Ballet to the Borscht Film Festival to the Knight Theater in downtown Miami, the organization has had a huge hand in the development of Miami artists and the city's cultural bona fides. To date, the nonprofit has contributed more than $125 million to the arts in South Florida.
But this program actually marks a new chapter for the Knight Foundation in its long legacy of funding the arts.
"This is the first time that we’ve really had a focus on the creation of new work," says Rogers, who also says they hope to see the first projects debuting in Miami during the 2020-21 season, from September through May.
The fact that Knight New Work Miami is aimed at the performing arts and that the projects must be new works is especially significant. Miami is genuinely full of talented playwrights, actors, composers, musicians, choreographers, and dancers. It is hoped this initiative will give many of them a reason to stay and perhaps even spur some who've moved elsewhere to return.
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The initiative is geared toward all artists, from emerging to established. Whether you're an unknown musician with a bold idea that you want to bring to the stage or a renowned choreographer wanting to tell a story you believe has been left untold, Knight New Work Miami is here for all of the city's creatives in the performing arts.
The deadline for applications is August 31, and the winners will be announced during Art Basel Miami Beach in early December.
"I’m excited about the idea," Rogers says. "I’m excited about the submittals we’re going to see and really being able to look at just how incredibly creative our community is."
Knight Foundation public information session. 6 p.m. Monday, June 25, at the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, 404 NW 26th St., Miami; kf.org/newworkmiami. Admission is free.