55 in the running for $3 million in Knight Arts Challenge

The Knight Arts Challenge has identified 55 finalists who are competing for up to $3 million in grants. The Philadelphia individuals and organizations were chosen based on their innovative ideas for arts projects that could be expressed in 150 words.

The Knight Arts Challenge has identified 55 finalists who are competing for up to $3 million in grants.

The Philadelphia individuals and organizations were chosen based on their innovative ideas for arts projects that could be expressed in 150 words.

This is the second year of a the three-year Knight Arts Challenge in Philadelphia, a granting process open to anyone and everyone who has a good arts idea, regardless of background or status. The intention is to get money into the hands of people who normally have a hard time getting grants.

But the challenge received some criticism last year for mostly funding the city’s large cultural institutions.

This year, there were fewer applicants — 1,267 down from about 1,700 last year — but more applications came from individuals and small to midsized organizations.

“We think some of that is that last year they did see that there were some small organizations and individual artists who were funded last year, and so maybe that gave them the confidence to apply,” said Knight project manager Donna Frisby-Greenwood. “We’re really excited about seeing more ideas from individual artists.”

Frisby-Greenwood said the trend toward more applications from individuals, and fewer overall applicants, matches what happened in Miami where the Knight Foundation held its first challenge.

The finalists will now submit proposals for how they will match the grant. Winners will be determined in April.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.