Knight Arts Challenge names 69 St. Paul finalists

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced 69 finalists in its Knight Arts Challenge. This is the first year in a three year challenge that will channel a total of $4.5 million in matching grants to the city of St. Paul.

Mu Performing Arts plans to use Knight Arts funding to empower immigrants in St. Paul to tell their stories through original theatrical performances with puppetry, masks and movement created in collaboration with Masanari Kawahara. Photo courtesy Mu Performing Arts

“These ideas reflect the new St. Paul, a diverse and creative city,” Knight Program Officer Tatiana Hernandez said in a statement. “We set out to attract arts projects from all corners of the city, from organizations and small collaboratives to individual artists, and to make sure the list reflected the people who live and work and create in St. Paul.  We’re thrilled with the results.”

As a whole, the proposals speak to the vast cultural diversity of St. Paul, ranging from plans for a Latino opera to Somali poetry to a contemporary Hmong fashion show. Other projects involve making theaters more energy efficient, creating dramatic lighting for iconic St. Paul buildings, and building artists bike racks.

A full list of the finalists can be found here.

The Knight Foundation will announce the winners in September. Grant recipients must find funds to match the grants within one year.

In addition to the $4.5 million in matching grants, the Knight Foundation is also committing $3.5 million to five core St. Paul arts institutions; The Arts Partnership, Penumbra Theatre, Springboard for the Arts, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and TU Dance.