Knight Arts Challenge Nominees Give Their Pitch Over Waffles

Written By Josie Gulliksen
November 7, 2014 at 1:47 PM

Knight Arts Challenge Nominees Give Their Pitch Over Waffles

The crowd gathered in a third-story Wynwood loft to hear the six Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice nominees tell about their organization and how the $20K prize would be vital to their launch or to furthering their programs and outreach into the community.

With waffle aroma wafting through the air and Mad Chiller serving up brews, they chatted and then moved closer to the presentation area where each nominee stepped up and encouraged everyone to text vote their assigned number to 22333.

First up were Leah Brown and Peter Symons, co-founders and curators of The Projects in FatVillage, who spoke of their space in Fort Lauderdale and said it is their version of Wynwood. With 8,000-square-feet of exhibition space, it’s the ideal location for artists who have large-scale projects, they said. Winning the money would mean they could have daily operating hours. Text VOTE1.

Representing Ife-Ile, Melissa Hunter spoke briefly about the Afro-Cuban dance and music troupe which has been in existence since 1966. She said they simply want to continue growing and expanding their organization and provide more exposure of the Afro-Cuban culture to larger audiences. Text VOTE3.

Oliver Sanchez from Swampspace was next, an artist who grew up in Miami, moved to New York for better opportunities, and eventually returned to his hometown and found a new artistic energy. He created Swampspace because he wanted to give back to his city. His artist-run project space “has legs and interest grows no matter where I move,” he said. It’s an open-ended, ongoing, evolving space that he calls both “sophisticated and unvarnished.” It’s even written on the outside of the building. Text VOTE5.

Perhaps the most creative presentation came from the Key West Art & Historical Society, who sent in a video where the organization’s leaders each held blue note cards to convey their message (a la Bob Dylan). They would use their $20K to bring museums into schools as well as motivate kids and bring them into the museums. The final card read “who knows, among us could be the next Ernest Hemingway or Mario Ernesto Sanchez.” Text VOTE4.

The final presenters from the Mexican American Council were the only organization that’s looking to establish their program, to be called the Mariachi Music, Art & Dance Academy, should they receive the $20,000. Eddie Garza, representing the council, said the Academy would bring music and arts to the child day laborers in the fields, help retain the 80% high school graduation rate in the area, and help those grads get into college. Text VOTE6.

The only group not present was HICCUP. The acronym stands for Hialeah Contemporary Culture Project, and the collective works to take art out of galleries and into the streets of Northwest Dade. With funding, HICCUP wants to open-up a basis of operations in Hialeah to launch its works and make the city “a place for creative action.” Text VOTE2.

Voting ends Nov. 17 and winners will be announced December 1.

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