Knight Arts Challenge: Foreverglades, 'Cocaine Cowboys,' #NoBroZone win arts grants

The Knight Foundation crowned 43 Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade county projects winners of the 2017 Knight Arts Challenge on Monday night, handing $2.5 million in matching grants to South Florida’s brightest arts ideas.

A documentary on the poverty-ravaged town of Pahokee, a photo exhibit on the history of the Everglades and a storytelling-and-music series set in Fort Lauderdale’s Sistrunk neighborhood were the three Broward and Palm Beach organizations and creative types saluted at a ceremony at the Perez Art Museum Miami.

“Not only do these artists and organizations tell our stories, but they shape our cities’ identities, and that’s incredibly important,” says Victoria Rogers, the Knight Foundation’s vice president for arts.

Winners have 12 months after the ceremony to match the award or else sacrifice the grant, although some deadlines have been extended, Rogers says. The Knight Arts Challenge has given $25 million to South Florida arts projects since 2007.

The Glades Community Media Partnership collected $30,000 to document four high-school students coming of age in the football-rich town of Pahokee. Meanwhile, Sofia Valiente’s “Foreverglades” project, scheduled to open soon in downtown West Palm Beach, won $75,000 to create a photo book and exhibition on Everglades history. And the YMCA of South Florida will use its $28,000 award to film Sistrunk residents sharing songs and stories over a barbecue meal. .

Other winners include “#NoBroZone,” from Miami-based art-film crew Borscht Corporation, which will showcase new work by female filmmakers; “Stiltsville: A VR Exploration,” a virtual-reality film project about the iconic homes on stilts in Biscayne Bay; a Miami gallery that will be filled with sound art; and a play adaptation of Billy Corben’s frenetic 2006 film “Cocaine Cowboys.”

Another noteworthy winner: “Black Florida: From the South to the Southernmost,” Miami photographer Johanne Rahaman’s ongoing photo project to capture the dignity of low-income and working-class African-Americans in Pompano Beach and other Florida cities.

“She’s documenting black family life, digitizing photo albums and presenting it all in public exhibitions,” Rogers says. “[Johanne] captures what is real and what is interesting about our history.”

For a complete list of winners, go to KnightFoundation.org.

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