Does Your Arts Organization Have a New Idea for St. Paul? $1.5 Million is Up for Grabs

As part of the Knight Arts Challenge which focuses on community revitalization in various cities around the country, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced a competition with $1.5 million up for grabs for arts and culture projects that will benefit St. Paul, MN. Does your arts organization have an idea that will take St. Paul to the next level?

At the beginning of this year, the Knight Foundation announced the Knight Arts Challenge St. Paul. It began with a $4.5 million, three-year promised commitment to the city's local area arts organizations, which is part of a larger $8 million investment the foundation will make in the St. Paul community. This community-wide contest is seeking innovative ideas, and there are only three simple rules for applying for this grant:

  • The project must be about art
  • It must take place in or benefit St. Paul, MN
  • You must find additional funding to match the Knight Foundation grant

"We’re looking for new, innovative, authentically St. Paul ideas that can help engage the community,” explained Dennis Scholl, Arts VP for the Knight Foundation.

This challenge is open to nonprofits, companies and individuals, so pretty much anyone can apply, but the project must be arts related. And as the foundation explains on its website, "The first thing you need to know about the challenge is that submitting an idea isn’t like filling out a regular grant application. This is an ideas contest. We’re looking for projects that make us think differently about the arts and this community."

You have to pitch your idea in 150 words or less, so make it short but sweet. A panel of local readers will review each proposal and will help ensure that the winning ideas reflect "the high level of artistic excellence for which this city is known."

This seems deceptively simple, but the competition is sure to be fierce. The foundation has compiled a FAQ page to answer many questions, so be sure to consult that before you put pen to paper, and send your idea before the May 5 deadline. Yours might just be the big idea that changes the city for the future.