Knight Foundation awards over $1.3M to 36 arts challenge winners

Winning ideas include music, film and literature

The challenge's 36 winners will share over $1.3 million. (WDIV)

The Knight Foundation announced the 36 winners of its annual Knight Arts Challenge Detroit who will share $1.385 million. 

The challenge seeks art projects — across various mediums, including music, theater, literature and photography — that share the stories of Detroit, provide artists' the opportunity to grow and explore the identities of Arab Americans in Detroit, according to a release from the foundation.

"We fund the arts because of their unique ability to tell the stories of our communities, connecting people to each other and to place," said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at the Knight Foundation, in the release. "These Knight Arts Challenge winners put that belief into action in Detroit. Detroit's artists and creators play a key role in acknowledging Detroit's past and shaping its future."

Challenge winners are required to match the funds awarded in the prize money.

The project taking the greatest portion of the shared pool is Rola Nashef with Public Light Productions, who was awarded $125,000. The project will develop films, web series and television pilots in collaboration with Detroit-based, Arab-American writers, flimmakers and artists.

Another big-ticket winner is Midtown Detroit Inc., which was awarded $100,000. The organization's winnings will go toward arts installations created by Detroit-based artists whose work highlights the city library's main branch and its new bookmobile. 

The challenge's funds will also go toward the 25th anniversary of the Media City Film Festival. The four-day festival will use $35,000 to showcase "cutting-edge" productions by Detroiters and international artists.

The Redford Theatre, Cinema Detroit and the Detroit Theater Organ Society are also among the challenge's winners.

"We can't wait to see these winning projects come to fruition, telling Detroit's stories, connecting residents through shared experiences and contributing to the vibrancy of a great city," Rogers said.

For a complete list of winners, visit the Knight Foundation's website.