AKRON – The Knight Arts Challenge in Akron will open for submissions March 29, offering a share of $1 million to the best ideas for the arts. A project of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the challenge is open to anyone with an idea for engaging and enriching Akron through arts and culture.

Applicants can get more detailed information on the challenge, and tips for applying, by attending informational events during the week of April 3. They include five community conversations, where former winners and Knight staff will offer insights and take questions, plus office hours, where applicants can meet one-on-one with Knight’s Arts Program Officer Adam Ganuza to get feedback on their ideas. The full schedule is below, and applicants can register online now.

Now in its third year in Akron, the challenge has so far brought 46 ideas to life, by awarding close to $2 million in matching grants. Knight Foundation’s goal is to help make art general in communities, so that high-quality cultural experiences can be seen, heard and felt everywhere.

The challenge is part of a two-pronged funding strategy: Knight funds large arts institutions that provide programming daily, to help them better engage audiences, and it supports new ideas through the Knight Arts Challenge so that everyone has a shot at making their ideas a reality.

“Few things can bring people together like the arts,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation. “They help tell our stories, create empathy, and connect us to our cities and to each other. We look forward to hearing what Akron artists and organizations believe are the best arts ideas to move the city forward.”

Applying is easy. All it takes is 150 words to fill out the initial application, which will be available at knightarts.org from March 29 – April 28, and is designed to be user-friendly to encourage a wide range of applicants.

There are three rules for submissions:

1) The idea must be about the arts.
2) The project must take place in or benefit Detroit.
3) The grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.

The community conversations will be held:

8:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at Versified Expressions Café (2539 Romig Rd.) with former winners Ismail Al-Amin of Keepers of the Art and Gospel singer Carla Davis of Were You There: An Interactive Experience in Spirituals

6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at Exchange House (760 Elma St.) with former winners Katie Beck of Nepali Applause and Alison Caplan of the Akron Art Museum’s Art Library

12 to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 6, 2017 at The University of Akron (Myers School of Art, Folk Hall, 150 E. Exchange St., Room 165) with former winners Elisa Gargarella of the Art Bomb Brigade and James (Jim) Slowiak, of the New World Performance Lab and “The Devil’s Milk Trilogy”

5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 6, 2017 at Akron Art Museum (1 S. High St.) with former winners Theron Brown of the Rubber City Jazz and Blues Festival and Manju Rastogi of DAWN, an arts project for and by Bhutanese women

2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 7, 2017 at Kent State University (325 Terrace Dr., parking in lot R19) with former winners Suzie Graham of the Akron High Arts Festival and Chris Horne of the Live at Lock 4 Series

Office hours, which last 15 minutes are by online appointment only, will be held:

12 to 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at Artisan Coffee (662 Canton Rd.)

12 to 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, 2017 from at Highland Square Mustard Seed Café (867 W. Market St.)

“This challenge has been proven to elevate local arts organizations and working artists, but it also helps to uncover the new, unexpected voices of Akron’s arts scene,” said Kyle Kutuchief, Akron program director for Knight Foundation. “I’m excited to see what this year’s applicants have in store for our entire community.”