South Florida decides who wins $20,000 in Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award


Starting Oct. 20, South Floridians can vote for one of six small and emerging arts organizations vying for $20,000 as the winner of the 2014 Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award.
As a way to shine the spotlight on smaller groups, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is asking the public to vote by text for their favorite of the six nominees to determine the People’s Choice winner. To vote, the public can text the nominees individual code to 22333 in the U.S. or 747-444-3548 toll-free, through 11:59 p.m. Monday Nov. 17. The effort is part of the Knight Arts Challenge, which funds projects that bring South Florida together through the arts.

The Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice nominees are:  
FATVillage Arts District: The contemporary art center and exhibition space of the Ft Lauderdale-based, non-profit FATVillage (Flagler Arts and Technology Village) provides artists and curators the opportunity to create and exhibit large-scale, experimental works, and wants to expand programming, have daily hours, and become a greater cultural hub. (Text VOTE1 to 22333)

HICCUP: The Hialeah-based artist collective will engage the community through pop-up interventions. (Text VOTE2 to 22333)

Ife-Ile: The Afro-Cuban dance troupe wants to expand its annual dance festival, which produces an array of workshops reflecting the diversity of the African diaspora, and to produce “Entre Cielo y Tierra”, a choreography by company director Neri Torres based on the Cuban exodus of the Mariel boatlift and its cultural implications in the US. (Text VOTE3 to 22333)  

Key West Art and Historical Society: The arts and cultural group is expanding its educational programming to meet the needs of the Monroe County schools and the community. (Text VOTE4 to 22333)

Swampspace: For nearly a decade the artist-run, alternative exhibition space has showcased local artists and musicians in Miami’s Design District  and wants to expand its programming to include more ambitious projects. (Text VOTE5 to 22333)
Mexican American Council: The South-Dade based group wants to preserve Mexican culture by launching a mariachi school for local children. (Text VOTE6 to 22333)

More information on the projects and videos will be posted at  

“Some of South Florida’s most exciting art is happening at the grassroots level, with small and emerging groups like those nominated for the Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president of arts for Knight Foundation. “We see the award as a fantastic way for South Floridians to become more acquainted with the cultural assets we have in our own backyards.”

Each People’s Choice nominee is one of 75 finalists in the 2014 Knight Arts Challenge, a community-wide contest funding the best ideas for the arts, and is still eligible for a challenge grant from Knight Foundation. Winners of both the challenge and the People’s Choice Award will be announced at a Dec. 2 event. The People’s Choice winner can use the $20,000 award for the artistic project of their choice.