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Arts & Culture

Knight Arts Challenge Awards Highlight a Range of Ideas

Knight Awards dance presentation
Tim Rudell
Dance performance at the Civic Threater

Arts projects in Akron are splitting  $743-thousand as part of the latest Knight Arts Challenge Awards. The winning projects were announced Tuesday night. 

photo of award winners
The 17 award winners were introduced on stage at the Akron Civic.

The ideas span the arts from dance and drama to illustrative art using yarn. Daniel Mainzer who was a corporate photographer got a grant to help him finish a photo history on the last decades of the rubber industry in Akron. “I’ve got ten years into this essay on what it was like to work in the plants and the death of those plants.  I was also in most of the meetings and photographed them when things went to hell.”

Cindy Michael, has the yarn. It’s in her shop in Cuyahoga Falls and she’s using it to help a fiber art project. “We’re creating billboards that are crocheted, 100 percent crocheted, of famous women who have helped to shape history.”

This is the third year for the Knight Arts Challenge in Akron. During that time it has awarded nearly three million dollars. 

Victoria Rogers, VP Knight Foundation
Credit Tim Rudell / WKSU
Knight Foundation Vice President for the Arts Victoria Rogers

Knight Foundation Vice President Victoria Rogers says broadening the scope of the arts is a core objective.

Victoria Rogers is Arts Vice President for the Knight Foundation

“Artists have to solve many problems in their own work.  So they tend to look at issues from a very different perspective.  When you see something through an artist’s lens you have been given this opportunity to reevaluate your own thinking.  For me, the arts create empathy and understanding and help us to learn about our world.”

Awards reception, on-stage at the Civic Theatre
Credit Tim Rudell / WKSU
Crowd gathers on stage at the Civic for an after-the-awards reception

Correction:  A typo in the caption for the last photo has been fixed.