The Knight Arts Challenge Detroit announced 57 winners who will split $2.5 million in grant money Monday night at a ceremony at the Fillmore downtown.
The projects, which range from the serious to the amusingly offbeat, include founding a Detroit-based artistic salon, filling city streets with outdoor puppetry, and funding the academic arts journal, “Detroit Research.”
The Knight Foundation also is extending the Arts Challenge Detroit, which launched in 2013, for another three years and $9 million more in artistic and cultural grants.
In all cases, Arts Challenge winners must raise matching funds in order to get the Knight money.
Knight Arts Challenge operates in a handful of cities nationwide, with an aim of encouraging artists and cultural innovators.
Lifelong Detroiter Marsha Music just won $6,000 to help establish “Salon De’troit,” a moveable literary and arts salon that will circulate through the city.
“I thought we could do this in such a way that’s less structured and more relaxed than a panel discussion, and more evocative of the old salons of Europe,” Music said, “particularly given Detroit’s Parisian roots.”
This year’s largest grant was $150,000 and the smallest $4,000. Counting Monday night’s winners, the Challenge has now funded 171 Detroit projects over three years.
Extending the program another three years can only come as good news to the local creative community. Katy Locker, Knight’s program director for Detroit, said it was a no-brainer as far as the foundation was concerned.
“We didn’t have any hesitation on our board that extending the challenge another three years was the necessary next step,” Locker said. “We’d gotten the momentum and needed to keep it going.”
Other 2015 winners include a Scott Hocking proposal to replace commercial billboards with huge reproductions of great art, while Mosaic Youth Theatre will pair performing artists with Detroit middle schools with no theater programs.
And intriguingly, Cranbrook artist-in-residence Anders Ruhwald will transform a Detroit apartment into a public art installation that pays tribute to fire, in which everything will be made of charred wood, melted glass and black ceramics.