Man, no one loves to give away massive amounts of cash like the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Last night, the foundation held its annual Knight Challenge Grant award ceremony, dropping a $2.9 million jackpot on 31 local South Florida arts organizations, including the Bas Fisher Invitational, Coral Morphologic, and the Little Haiti Cultural Center.
Run by regular Crossfade contributor Matt Preira and his longtime business partner Dana Bassett, Roofless scored a $20,000 grant for a project entitled "Worthy Spectacles and Obsolete Mediums," which basically translates to "launch[ing] seasonal catalogs and a publishing house, and continu[ing] to curate it signature events."
Earlier this morning, we spoke with a still-stunned Preira about this huge honor. "Dude, we are stoked," he says, adding, "It was almost unreal. The Knight ceremony has this Willy Wonka air about it. You, like, walk into this room and there are these people with infinite resources for the arts.
"At one point, there was a five- or six-piece horn section scattered throughout the audience. One by one, they stood up and started to play together. It was quite whimsical. You just wanted to break off a piece and take a bite like it was chocolate."
And the official Roofless Records acceptance speech? "I had one all written out. And I didn't even get to deliver it," Preira jokes. "Actually, I posted a long list of thanks on Facebook. That would've been my big speech.
"Every single thing that Roofless does is collaborative. So it's our ideas and we won this grant. But a lot of people won this grant with us."
Roofless Records' Official (Sorta) Acceptance Speech and List of Thanks
Roofless Records is proud (and floored) to announce we are winners of the 2011 Knight Arts Challenge. We feel so incredibly honored to be in such cutting-edge, forward-thinking, and innovative company ... THE GREATEST THANKS to The Knight Foundation for believing in our project. 2012 is going to be an incredible year.
Roofless Records would not exist without Frank "Rat Bastard" Falestra, Todd Lynne/Cephia's Treat Records, Nelson Hallonquist/West Palm Beotch Records, Skeleton Warrior, Pharaoh Faucett, The Fas'ners, Sean Pajot, Lolo/Jsin/Emile/Sean @ Sweat Records, the end/SPRING BREAK, Bleeding Palm, The Curious Hair, The President, Kenny Millions, Fezito Chancy: Boy Wonder, The Heat Lightning, The Snooze Theater, Uncle Sam's, Brian Butler, Augurari, Ricardo Guerrero, Beached Miami, Carlos Rigau and General Practice, Yesterday & Today Records, Coral Morphologic, O Cinema, Borscht Film Festival, Newton/Breathmint Records, ZRadio, FUN, Radio-Active Records, William Penn, Fernando Perdomo, Baby Dave, Stead & Kayla, WFMU, Slashpine/KLVBHAUS 3D, Drugged Conscience Records, New College of Florida, Neil Young, and Mr. C.
Of course, in order to begin collecting its Knight funds, Roofless must match the foundation's total grant amount. "We have to drum up $20,000," Preira explains. "And we're going to get that done through various fundraising efforts."
The Roofless cash drive officially kicks off on the last day of 2011. "We're gonna throw a really big New Year's Eve party at General Practice," the Roofless boss tells Crossfade.
"There are still a million things to figure out. But we're getting a ton of help, because one of the amazing things about the Knight Foundation is the resources they offer to the people they're funding.
"Like, they have grant-writing classes! They have an accountant that I meet with once a week," he laughs. "Any question you have, they've got someone on hand with an answer. It's really an incredible organization.
"Roofless is so totally thankful," Preira says. "We are broke! And the Knight Foundation has given us exactly the kind of access and lubrication that we need to accomplish our craziest dreams."
See knightfoundation.org for a full list of the 2011 Knight Arts Challenge winners.