The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has named 33 finalists in the Knight Arts Challenge Akron, all of which are eligible for a share of $1 million. This is the second year for the community-wide initiative funding ideas that engage and enrich Akron through the arts.
The finalists propose a range of ideas, from launching an Akron Fringe Festival dedicated to the visual and performing arts, to creating a spiritual music series and turning an underused parking lot into an art-filled public space.
A full list is below and at knightarts.org. Knight Foundation will announce the winners on Oct. 26 at an event at the Akron Civic Theatre.
“From exploring the city’s legacy in the rubber industry to showcasing today’s emerging performing artists, these ideas and projects reflect the depth and breath of creativity here in Akron. Two years ago, Knight Foundation made a big bet on the arts in Akron. We believe in the city’s unique voice. Today’s finalists show the city was more than ready for the challenge,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation.
In its inaugural year, the Akron Knight Arts Challenge selected 27 winners to share the $1 million. The challenge is open to anyone and offers matching funds for the best ideas for the arts. Applicants must follow only three rules: 1) The idea must be about the arts; 2) the project must take place in or benefit Akron; 3) the grant recipient must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.
The challenge is part of a $6 million investment in the Akron arts community that Knight Foundation announced in 2014. It includes $3 million in support for three years of the Knight Arts Challenge and a $3 million commitment to five respected institutions: Akron Civic Theatre, Tuesday Musical Association, Youth Excellence Performing Arts Workshop (YEPAW), Greater Akron Musical Association and Akron Art Museum.
Knight Arts Challenge Akron Finalists 2016
Akron Art Station : To draw attention to the South Portage Path, a highly transited connection between the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas rivers in the 17th and 18th centuries, with an art display using designs important to Northeast Ohio’s Native Americans
Akron Civic Theatre : To honor the city’s cultural diversity through a world music series that celebrates traditions from Asian, Latin American, European and Native American cultures
Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra : To bring new audiences to music with a series of free baroque and American folk music concerts programmed around spaces and art at the Akron Art Museum
ArtsUp : To bring the arts into everyday lives with “Artsy Backyards,” a series of cultural events in people’s homes
Baker Media Group : To showcase the vibrancy of life in Akron with time-lapse videos of city parks, events and people as they change throughout the seasons
Carla Davis Music : To share spirituals, the stories they tell and how they influenced today’s music through a series that replicates tenor Roland Hayes’ groundbreaking 1928 concert for Tuesday Musical Association
Christian Odadzin : To explore Akron’s identity through sculptures made of steel and rubber that represent the people and events that shaped the city
City of Akron: To provide quality dance and music performances for free during the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival
New World Performance Lab : To explore Akron’s relationship with the rubber industry through three new plays titled “The Devil’s Milk Trilogy”
Dale Dong: To preserve new works of dance for future generations by recording the creation and performance of pieces at the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival and The University of Akron
Danny Volk : To promote local artists through an Akron-based season of “Made-Up With Danny Volk,” a performance art piece where Volk interviews local creatives while use make-up to create art on the host’s face
David Morgan : To bring attention to Akron’s jazz scene with a concert and recording of a local composer’s work performed by a local jazz ensemble and guest artists
Don Parsisson : To humanize the stories of ex-offenders by giving them cameras to record their first weeks outside prison and collecting the images into a traveling exhibition
Downtown Akron Partnership: To elevate and celebrate Akron’s arts community by expanding the Akron Art Prize into a 30-day festival featuring local artists chosen through a competitive process
Dylan Yellowlees: To bring the LGBT community together through a festival of film, music and other genres of art
East Akron Neighborhood Development Corp. : To transform a slice of East Akron by commissioning an artist to help turn an underused parking lot into a vibrant space
Global Education Foundation : To honor the many immigrant communities that have called North Hill home by erecting a smaller version of the Statute Liberty
Inlet Dance Theatre : To demonstrate the possibilities of careers in the arts with a two-week residency at local high schools where students create new pieces alongside professionals
Karen Starr : To celebrate the quirky style, history and people of Akron through a book of portraits and stories exploring the relationship between Akronites and their wallpaper
Keepers of the Art : To counteract the commercialization of rap music and culture through community-based re-education about its history and impact during an annual festival
Kent State University School of Visual Communication Design : To provide a hands-on learning experience for design students by partnering with a community organization to create an environmental graphic design project that uses spaces to communicate ideas and create connections between people and the environment
Kent State University – The Fashion School : To dismantle stereotypes with “(dis)ABLED BEAUTY,” a new exhibit of highly designed assistive and prosthetic devices for people living with disabilities
Laurie Caner : To celebrate Akron’s heritage by creating a book and CD of original illustrations and songs based on stories about the Ohio and Erie Canal
Neos Dance Theatre: To encourage new voices and risk-taking art by launching an Akron Fringe Festival that showcases visual and performing arts
Shanon Donnelly: To explore Akron’s neighborhoods through art by creating a set of murals from photos and audio recordings taken of residents flying over the city in a hot air balloon
Tuesday Musical Association : To help ease workplace stress with Tuesday Musical’s Decompression Chamber, which will bring free mini-concerts to employees and clients
The Devil Strip : To showcase local musicians and bring more people to cultural events downtown by strengthening a free summer music series at Lock 4
The Summit WAPS-FM : To promote local and regional musicians with the “330 Road Show,” a series of pop-up concerts in neighborhoods around Akron featuring the artists who are streamed on the Summit’s new online “330” channel
Unbox Akron : To showcase local artists by commissioning works that will adorn the boxes in this subscription service of local goods, then hosting an art opening to collectively highlight the pieces
The University of Akron Foundation : To capture and celebrate Akron stories through a mobile kiosk that travels to neighborhoods, records people’s histories and stories, and edits them for the public and a radio show
The University of Akron – Synapse: To explore the connections between art and science by bringing nationally recognized artists to Akron to explore the power of biodesign, which takes inspiration from nature
The University of Akron Myers School of Art : To interest more Akronites in the art of animation by hosting stop-motion animation workshops with kids along with artist talks and screenings
Wandering Aesthetics : To bring the community together through art by pairing Akron-born artists with those born in other countries to collaborate on new works