By Dan Wing
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A ceremony was held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Monday night to celebrate the 2013 winners of the Knight Arts Challenge.
The challenge put out to the community by the Knight Foundation of Philadelphia is to give them the best idea for new art projects. The winners are then given a share of more than two million dollars in funds to make their idea a reality.
Knight Foundation of Philadelphia vice president Dennis Scholl says the challenge is very non-descript on purpose, so that the community will let the foundation know what it wants to see, hear, or experience.
“We have gotten everything, I mean it runs the gamut from every discipline,” said Scholl. “We get dance, we get jazz, we get opera, we get symphony. But we also get creative ideas about putting art and tech together, or food and visual artists together.”
Scholl says the group likes to put an emphasis on smaller organizations instead of 501C3s, or tax exempt groups.
“They’re just a person, or a collective, or a few people. And by that we’re trying to enable and kind of fuel that energy that’s coming out of the grass roots organizations in Philly,” said Scholl.
Alyesha Wise of Philadelphia Poetry Slam was ecstatic to get her $13,000 prize.
“Bring in more volunteers, and make them happier with some money. And do some summer projects and events,” said Wise.
As was Mimi Stillman, artistic and executive director of Dolce Suono Ensemble. She recieved an award for their project Musica in tus Manos — “Music in your Hands” — which is a music outreach program with the Spanish speaking community of Philadelphia.
“This project is going to take us to different neighborhoods in North Philly, South Philly, and Kensington to start,” said Stillman.
Scholl says by the end of the year, the Knight Foundation of Philadelphia will have awarded more than $9 million to 114 organizations in the three years of the Knights Art Challenge with another $7 million to $8 milllion in matching funds from the community.
“It’s a big, big commitment to Philadelphia, but we believe in what’s happening here,” said Scholl.