Thursday, September 10, 2015

Knight Arts Challenge in Akron

Knight Arts Challenge
by Brit Charek

The deadline for the Knight Arts Challenge is quickly approaching! Do YOU have a big idea for the arts in Akron?

This challenge is a $3 million, three-year initiative to draw the best and most innovative ideas out of local organizations and individuals seeking to engage and enrich the community through the arts.

The Knight Arts website offers this invitation:

"Whether you’re an independent artist, business, established arts institution, organization or individual – we want to hear from you. No idea is too large or too small, as long as it follows three basic rules:

1. Your idea is about arts.
2. Your project takes place in or benefits Akron.
3. You find other funding to match Knight Foundation's grant. "

All submissions must be the in by 11:59 p.m. ET on Sept. 14 at

We reached out to the Knight Foundation for some tips, and here’s what those interested in submitting need to know:

  • This phase is purely the generation of ideas. Knight doesn’t need a budget or a full plan at this point. They want people to dream big.
  • Three C’s – Be clear, concise and compelling. Be brief but be inspiring.
  • Don’t use “grantspeak.” Do come up with a catchy title. We like those.
  • Here’s the $1 million question: What kind of ideas is Knight Foundation looking for? Answer: We are looking for ideas that authentically represent Akron - as a place, as a cultural inspiration.
  • What’s on the no-no list for the challenge? Don’t ask for general operating support. This is an ideas contest. It’s for something that is bold, unique and exciting, and that’s what we encourage and what we support.
The Knight Foundation’s Arts Program Director Bahia Ramos will also be holding virtual office hours online at noon ET Sept. 10 to answer any remaining questions. Join the conversation via phone or video.

If you want to browse previous winners in other cities, visit the Knight Arts website. Bahia Ramos can be reached at anytime at

Good luck! We here at Akron Empire can't wait to see what big ideas are generated because of this challenge!

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