Calling all Akron artists and arts organizations: For the fourth year, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is looking for applicants for Knight Arts Challenge Akron, which will open for submissions Monday. Artists or groups with the best ideas for projects that connect people through the arts in Akron can win a share of up to $1 million. The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. April 19.
Since 2015, the Knight Foundation has supported 63 ideas with $2.7 million in funding through the Knight Arts Challenge. Winners receive financial support for their projects, public exposure and professional skill-building.
Challenge winners whose projects have now come to fruition include the Bechdel Fest, the brainchild of local English teacher Brittany Charek, which promotes films celebrating stories of resilient, bold, diverse women. The Bechdel Fest will run May 29 to June 2 in partnership with Nightlight Cinema and Akron-Summit County Public Library.
Other past winners include QuTheatre, a performance ensemble that trains LGBTQ youth and adults in acting, writing and directing and produces works shaped by their experiences; and Ma’Sue Productions’ “Or Does It Explode?” tour, which used stories from the city to examine black manhood through dance, poetry and rap.
Applicants can get more information and tips for applying at informational events March 20-22 and April 3-5. They include community conversations with prior winners and Knight staff, as well as office hours with Knight Arts Program Director Priya Sircar and Program Officer Adam Ganuza.
For a full list of these events, which start at 5:30 p.m. March 20 at the Akron Civic Theatre, see https://bit.ly/2EYxM33. The application, which asks for a 150-word description, will be available at kf.org/kac.
Finalists will be announced this summer and winners in the fall. Arts grant recipients are required to raise matching funding.
“The arts community has a big part to play in our city’s transformation — helping to showcase homegrown talent, increase neighborhood vibrancy and make Akron more of a place where people want to live, work and play,” Kyle Kutuchief, Akron program director for Knight Foundation, said in a release.
Other Knight Arts Challenges this year are taking place in Detroit and Miami. For updates, follow #knightarts and @knightfdn on Twitter and Instagram, and Knight Foundation on Facebook.