ST. PAUL (July 14, 2014) — Numerous Asian artists and groups are included in the 866 applications and among the 69 finalists of the Knight Arts Challenge, a community-wide ideas contest funding arts and cultural projects that engage and enrich St. Paul, and a project of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The finalists proposed a range of ideas, from concerts with instruments made entirely from ice to cultural experiences in unexpected places, from celebrations of Somali poetry and Hmong fashion to a tapestry of poems written by residents in rapidly changing neighborhoods.
A list is below and at KnightArts.org. Winners will be announced in September.
“Earlier this year, we asked a simple question: What’s your best idea for the arts in St. Paul? The answers we received truly reflect the community’s new, innovative and authentically St. Paul ideas,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation.
Open to everyone including individuals, organizations and businesses—both nonprofit and for-profit—the Knight Arts Challenge offers matching grant money for the best ideas in 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 St. Paul; 3) The grant recipient must find funds to match Knight’s commitment within one year.
This is the first of three years for the St. Paul Arts Challenge, which will award $4.5 million over the three year-period.
The challenge is part of an $8 million investment in the St. Paul arts that Knight Foundation announced in January. It includes support for three years of the Knight Arts Challenge, and a $3.5 million commitment to five respected institutions that have helped the city earn its reputation as a thriving cultural capital: The Arts Partnership, Penumbra Theatre, Springboard for the Arts, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and TU Dance. For more information, visit www.knightarts.org.
Knight Arts Challenge St. Paul Finalists 2014
• Aaron Dysart, Andrea Steudel, Emily Stover, Asia Ward — To celebrate the landmark power plant in downtown St. Paul as a largely sustainable fuel source by projecting a light to show off the steam plume that billows from the roof
• Alec Soth / Little Brown Mushroom — To create “The Winnebago Workshop,” a mobile classroom where teens are paired with artists to create multimedia stories
• American Composers Forum — To bring the arts into people’s everyday lives by creating cultural experiences in unlikely places, from jazz at the light rail stops to free yoga in a commercial storefront
• Ananya Dance Theatre — To tell the story of womens’ roles in the global food system through an interdisciplinary piece
• Art House North — To grow the arts in St. Paul’s West End by making upgrades to Art House North, a 100-year-old church turned community arts center
• ArtSage d/b/a Minnesota Creative Arts and Aging Network — To demonstrate that art-making has no age or limitation by creating a fellowship program for elder artists with residencies in senior facilities
• Asian Economic Development Association — To explore the importance of water through art at the St. Paul Water Festival, a Minnesota adaptation of events that take place in Southeast Asia • Barry Madore — To showcase Latino East Siders through a fictional radio novela/variety show, broadcast on the new Dayton’s Bluff FM station
• Bedlam Theatre — To build the capacity of local theaters by creating an inventory of high-end technical equipment that companies could borrow for shows
• BFU-USA: Minnesota Chapter — To celebrate Cameroonian culture at a special event of choral singing, traditional drumming and dance at the newly dedicated Cameroon Community Center
• Button Poetry — To provide the community with access to top spoken-word artists through monthly performances and workshops
• CapitolRiver Council — To ensure the continued success of Music in Mears, a free concert and indie film series that offers exposure for emerging artists and local businesses
• Center for Hmong Arts and Talent — To highlight the best of Hmong design through the Fresh Traditions Fashion Show, where contestants incorporate the five traditional Hmong fabrics into contemporary dress
• City of Skate — To create a skateable art plaza that brings out the creativity of skateboarders and the community with skateable sculptures, a video screen and performance stage
• CLUES (Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio) — To highlight Latinos’ cultural heritage by creating tile mosaic benches that showcase the community’s narratives
• Contempo Physical Dance — To bring international artists and their expertise to St. Paul through an annual choreography residency for those working in Brazilian or African Diaspora contemporary dance
• Curious Incident — To highlight the history of St. Paul’s unused spaces by energizing them with immersive arts events
• Creative Enterprise Zone (St. Anthony Park Community Council) — To turn the creative work of the enterprise zone inside out with highly visible installations in empty storefronts, on billboards, in pop-up art parks and other public spaces
• Dreamland Arts — To promote sustainable practices in the arts by converting Dreamland Arts into a solar-powered theater with an exterior solar-art design
• East Side Freedom Library — To create large-scale artworks that celebrate freedom and honor the people who have shaped the city’s East Side
• Erik Barsness — To bring a new chill to Saint Paul Winter Carnival audiences through concerts performed on xylophones, marimbas and vibraphones made entirely out of ice by Swedish instrument builder Tim Linhart
• Hamilton Print Cooperative — To expand the cooperative, which provides daily classes and a mentorship program for the hand printing of original artwork
• Henry Garnica — To celebrate St. Paul’s many peoples and cultures through a fall arts festival timed to El Dia de La Raza
• Hmong National Development — To explore how Hmong-American arts and culture has evolved on the 40th anniversary of the community’s major migration to the U.S.
• Igbofest — To celebrate the Igbo culture of Nigeria through traditional music and dance performances at the community’s signature cultural festival
• In Progress — To build understanding of the long invisible, yet vibrant North End community through digital storytelling by local youth and adults
• Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota — To help develop local screenwriters through a fellowship competition where all finalists receive mentoring and classes to improve their work
• Jonathan Oppenheimer — To amplify artists’ and immigrant business owners’ voices along Snelling Avenue through mosaics, graffiti art and paint murals that showcase the neighborhood’s stories
• Jeff Bartlett — To transform the city’s landmarks by having lighting designer Jeff Bartlett turn buildings into kinetic canvases for light, color and drama
• Ka Joog — To preserve the art of Somali poetry through a mobile art program offering performances and educational programming
• Kang Vang — To use film as a way to explore the lives of young, first-generation Hmong-Americans living in the Twin Cities in 1985, the 10th anniversary of the fall of Laos to communism
• Kaotic Good Productions — To produce a live radio drama titled “San Pablo, MN,” which explores the lives of fictional immigrant children and their adaptation to life in the U.S.
• M2 Foundation — To foster a love for music in St. Paul youth by teaching them to perform African and Brazilian rhythms on percussion instruments, preparing for performances at the Saint Paul Saints’ new ballpark
• Maria IsaBelle Perez — To broaden understanding of the African Diaspora and indigenous connections in Latin America through an exhibit of Afro-Latino art at Union Depot
• Michael Bahl — To create a landmark for St. Paul bicycle culture through a sculpture that doubles as a bike rack
• Minnesota Fringe Festival — To expand the year-round local arts scene by connecting adventurous audiences and artists in a winter Minnesota Fringe Festival
• McNally Smith College of Music Foundation — To provide high school students interested in music careers with the rare opportunity to attend a prestigious Grammy Camp, staffed by Grammy professionals
• Mizna — To foster the arts in the city’s Arab-American community by bringing acclaimed Arab writers and filmmakers to present their works in the city’s parks, art spaces and bars
• MN Spoken Word Association — To celebrate the city through spoken word by creating a tapestry of poems written by residents in 10 rapidly growing neighborhoods
• Mu Performing Arts — To empower immigrants in the Twin Cities to tell their stories through original theatrical performances with puppetry, masks and movement created in collaboration with Masanari Kawahara
• Nautilus Music Theater — To become a major resource in the artistic and social renaissance of Lowertown St. Paul by expanding programming and audience engagement efforts in a new street-level space
• Northern Lights.mn — To present new media performances monthly that engage local audiences with an expanded theater experience
• Oromo Community of Minnesota ± To explore what it means to be Oromo-American by giving mini-grants to community members to share art about their culture and traditions
• Ragamala Dance — To bring traditional Indian arts into the community by inviting musicians, poets, dancers and storytellers to celebrate Navarathri, the Festival of Nine Nights, in a public celebration
• Ricardo Vazquez — To bring the Latino and larger Twin Cities community together to celebrate the life and work of Spanish playwright and poet Federico Garcia Lorca in an outdoor festival
• Rogue Citizen — To celebrate St. Paul hip-hop through an arts and music series that draws attention to an often overlooked culture in the city
• Saint Paul Public Schools and Partners — To encourage creative expression by creating a space to present high-quality student-produced art events
• Science Museum of Minnesota — To explore race and racism through community workshops that are paired with a museum exhibition, led by Penumbra Theatre Company, and grounded in theater techniques
• Seitu Jones — To provide an artistic and scientific exploration of the Mississippi River by creating a wooden barge called an “ARTark” for an exhibition at the Science Museum of Minnesota
• Shades of Yellow — To build the Hmong LGBT artist community by creating a studio where artists can create, perform and receive support to creatively share their stories
• Silvia Pontaza — To make art more accessible to the Latino community by creating a community radio show and podcast that provides context on local cultural exhibits and events
• Skylark Opera — To push the frontiers of musical collaboration by producing an opera with Teatro del Pueblo that represents Minnesota’s Latino communities
• Stahl Construction Company — To preserve the legacy of St. Paul’s architecture by restoring the historical company signs that distinguish Lowertown
• Sumunar Indonesian Music and Dance — To introduce St. Paul audiences to the tradition of the Indonesian wayang kulit (shadow puppet play), based on traditional stories and current events in Minnesota
• Sweet 317 — To offer a free monthly music series at this intimate space in Lowertown focused on art-forward events
• The Baroque Room — To showcase the Saint Paul classical music scene during the Art Crawl through performances in art gallery spaces
• The Bindery Projects — To ensure the city is part of the national discourse on contemporary art by showcasing prominent artists at this artist-run exhibition space
• The Drawing Project — To bring together two local artist groups – the Urban Roving Drawers and BikeDrawBike – to create artworks in neighborhoods around the city and display them in nontraditional settings
• The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University — To pilot a new Women of Substance series focused on the artistry and voice of global female artists, complemented by public master classes and school visits
• The TC Club Crawl, Concert & Ticket Report — To broaden the audience for live music in St. Paul by building TCCLubCrawl.com into a comprehensive website with descriptions of bands and weekly curated recommendations
• The Winding Sheet Outfit — To infuse a sense of magic and wonder into theater through a storytelling performance that takes place beneath a black tent that travels around the city
• TU Dance — To help local dancers build careers by bringing together TU Dance’s school with students from Miami’s New World School of the Arts for residencies in both cities
• Twin Cities Jazz Festival — To increase audiences for jazz by expanding the outdoor stages in Lowertown for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival
• Unify University! — To celebrate cultural unity by commissioning artists to build giant street puppets for the Unify University Community Parade • VocalEssence — To capture the impact of war and honor veterans through song via the work of Iraqi veteran and poet Brian Turner, local musicians and the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra
• Walker West Music Academy — To bring jazz back to Selby Avenue through a monthly free concert series at Walker West’s new music center
• Wonderlust Productions — To tell the stories of the state Capitol through a site-specific play generated by the politicians, staffers, reporters and other people who bring the place to life each day
• WorkHorse Coffee Bar — To engage the commuting public through an intimate streetscape gallery in a vintage fire-hose cabinet near the new Green Line
• Zeitgeist — To unite the aural and oral experiences of audiences through musical works that accompany particular dishes created by five St. Paul chefs at events in Studio Z in downtown St. Paul
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.