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Knight Foundation increases investment in Miami's arts groups

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has upped its stake in Miami-Dade’s arts community, announcing a $37-million investment. The funding includes both institutions and artists and brings Knight’s total arts-related grants in Miami-Dade to $165 million since 2005.

“We take calculated risks,” says Victoria Rogers, Knight’s vice president for arts. “In a decade, Miami built new concert halls, an opera house, an art museum, a science museum and dozens of art galleries. Right now, this critical mass is occurring here in Miami, and we wanted to continue the investment to really capitalize on an opportunity.”

According to a report commissioned by the Knight Foundation and produced by the Tourist Development Council, the giving has paid off. Between 2005 and 2015, spending by Miami arts organizations grew 168%, and between 2004 and 2015, attendance at arts events increased 27% while the population increased by 18%. Between 2011 and 2016, the number of jobs in creative fields grew by 21%.

In its most recent round of investment, Knight gave $500,000 to fund the creation, promotion and marketing of five new performing arts pieces through the newly created Knight New Work Miami, an open competition for proposals. The non-profit’s investment will keep the Knight New Work Miami competition running every other year, alternating with the newly reinstated Knight Arts Challenge Miami, which funds new visual or performing works by individual artists.

The rest of the $37 million will help 22 arts organizations with everything from implementing technology to commissioning new works.

Knight’s report notes that more than half of Miami’s arts organizations have fewer than two months of capital available. “We look not only at vibrancy, but sustainability,” Rogers says. “What you want to be sure of is that you have an arts ecosystem that can support innovation. You can’t innovate if you don’t have a strong core for an institution.

 

Read more in our March issue.

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