Knight Arts Challenge Opens!

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Join us for a community Q&A on Tuesday, April 28, 6 p.m., Rondo Library, 461 N. Dale St., St. Paul!


Knight Arts Challenge St. Paul opens for applications April 20
Q&A sessions scheduled for community-wide contest that
funds the best ideas for the arts

ST. PAUL, MINN. – March 25, 2015 – Starting April 20, the Knight Arts Challenge St. Paul will be seeking the best ideas for the arts in St. Paul. Anyone—whether they are an individual, organization or a business—may apply to win a share of $1.5 million for arts and culture projects that engage and enrich the city. The deadline for the challenge, a project of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is May 18.

Knight Foundation will host one-hour community Q&A sessions April 27–29 in four St. Paul and Minneapolis locations to answer applicants’ questions. Knight staff and winners from 2014, the first year of the challenge in St. Paul, will be on hand to offer tips on creating a standout application and to provide information on the challenge timeline. Though all projects must either take place in or benefit St. Paul, Minneapolis-based artists and organizations are encouraged to apply.

The Community Q&As will take place:

Monday, April 27, 6:00 p.m., Open Book, 1011 Washington Ave., Minneapolis
Tuesday, April 28, 8:30 a.m., The Dubliner, 2162 University Ave. W, St. Paul
Tuesday, April 28, 6 p.m., Rondo Library, 461 N. Dale St., St. Paul
Wednesday, April 29, 8:30 a.m., Walker West, 760 Selby Ave., St. Paul

“Whether you are an individual artist, small ensemble or arts organization, are based in Minneapolis or St. Paul, or applied last year or not, we want to hear from you,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation’s vice president for arts. “Our goal is to seek out the best grassroots ideas for enriching St. Paul through the arts.”

The challenge is open to anyone who has a great idea for the arts. The simple application, which will be available at, asks for a project description in just 150 words and is designed to encourage submissions from a broad range of applicants.

There are only three rules for the challenge:
1) The idea must be about the arts;
2) The project must take place in or benefit St. Paul;
3) The grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.

Last year, the St. Paul challenge drew 868 applications, with 42 winners.

“We were thrilled and surprised by the community’s innovative and authentically St. Paul ideas,” said Polly Talen, St. Paul program director for Knight Foundation.

The 42 winners sharing $1.365 million included: a collective of artists designing a light show projected onto a steam plume of the landmark St. Paul power plant; the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent, for highlighting the best of Hmong design; Workhorse Coffee Bar, creating the smallest museum in St. Paul in a vintage fire-hose cabinet; Mu Performing Arts, for an original play about 21st century immigrant experiences; Zeitgeist, melding the musical and culinary arts by pairing foods with new musical compositions; and Stahl Construction Co., restoring historic company signs that distinguish Lowertown.
The challenge is part of an $8 million investment in the arts in St. Paul that Knight Foundation announced in early 2014. In addition to the three-year challenge, Knight Foundation has contributed $3.5 million to five of St. Paul’s anchor arts institutions: The Arts Partnership, Penumbra Theatre, Springboard for the Arts, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and TU Dance.

For updates, follow @knightarts and #knightarts on Twitter, @knightfdn on Instagram and Knight Foundation on Facebook.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

Kathy Graves, Parenteau Graves, 612-242-3184,
Marika Lynch, Knight Foundation communications, 305-908-2677,

Spring Songs & Sounds Fundraiser – CHAT & In Progress

CHATQDN Final Final

Help raise funds for two of St. Paul’s finest art organizations during a night of live music, lovely people, and great energy!

Center For Hmong Arts & Talent​ (CHAT) exists to nurture, explore and illuminate the Hmong American experience through artistic expressions.

In Progress​ exists to diversify cultural dialogue and pave the way for new voices in the field of digital art making

Together, and through their events and programs such as Fresh Traditions Fashion Show​ and the Qhia Dab Neeg​ Film Festival, these two arts organizations are progressing the St. Paul and Twin Cities creative landscape, developing young leaders and artists by providing accessible creative spaces, and opportunities.

WHEN? Saturday, April 25, 8PM to 12AM





WHERE? Camp Bar​, 490 Robert Street North, Downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota

21+, $10; $8 if you check in via Facebook

For more information, visit or

All proceeds go towards CHAT & QDN

CHAT selected to participate in Bush Foundation’s Community Creativity Cohort!


Center for Hmong Arts & Talent
Fres Thao

Dominick Washington

Center for Hmong Arts & Talent (CHAT) has been Selected to Participate in Bush Foundation’s Community Creativity Cohort.

CHAT receives $100,000 grant and will work with Bush Foundation to advance its effort to meaningfully engage people in the arts and integrate the arts into public life.

CHAT is one of 16 organizations from across Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota selected to participate in the Bush Foundation’s Community Creativity Cohort. The Cohort is a one-time program designed by the Foundation to both recognize and learn from exemplary organizations that meaningfully engage people in the arts and integrate the arts into public life.

The organizations selected to participate in the Cohort will each receive an unrestricted grant of $100,000. In addition, the Cohort will work with the Bush Foundation over the next six months to articulate the challenges and opportunities associated with their work, particularly around efforts to engage the community, build and support leadership, and advance racial and economic equity. The insights from this effort will help inform the Foundation’s future work in the arts.

“CHAT exists to nurture, explore and illuminate the Hmong American experience through artistic expressions.”

The Community Creativity Cohort will meet twice over the next six months. Each meeting will feature guest presenters who will inspire and inform the Cohort on issues related to community engagement, leadership development and equity. The organizations that participate in the Cohort will also share lessons learned from their experience working on these issues in their own communities. The Foundation worked with Laura Zabel, Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts and a 2014 Bush Fellow, to design the Cohort experience.

“The arts can inspire communities to think bigger and differently about how to address tough challenges. But organizations that work in the arts wrestle with tough challenges of their own,” said Bush Foundation Strategy and Learning Vice President Allison Barmann. “The Community Creativity Cohort will help us better understand both the challenges and opportunities these organizations face. This knowledge will strengthen our ability to support efforts to engage people in the arts and integrate the arts into public life.”

About the Bush Foundation
The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them. We encourage individuals and organizations to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area. Since it was established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth, the Foundation has invested nearly one billion dollars in grants to thousands of organizations and individuals.