The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Apr 20, 2012

Support for arts in Miami and Philadelphia help engage community

Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller


Visitors to Miami Beach don’t have to go too far to get a little culture - in the winter it’s often broadcast on a 7,000 square-foot wall. Members of the community are encouraged to bring a blanket, share a picnic dinner and enjoy the sights and sounds of the New World Symphony, thanks to innovative video and audio technology which broadcasts the symphony for free at the Miami Beach SoundScape.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, the city’s premier Latino culture group is set to launch a series of live concerts under the stars. Performances will celebrate the arts of Latin America and the Caribbean and feature both world-renowned and local-area artists.

Both Knight-funded projects are examples of innovative ideas that exemplify the Knight Arts’ program mission of engaging communities in the arts.

The WALLCAST™ ongoing concert series, produced by the New World Symphony, have been so popular that 42 percent of its audience members say they’re coming back, having attended three or more performances. It also reports that 40 percent of the audience is new to the symphony. 

The symphony, which received a $5 million endowment grant from Knight, says it plans to share the results of its successful series with other orchestras and performing arts venues that might want to explore using technology to engage audiences. The next WALLCAST™ performance is set for Saturday, May 5.

And starting tonight in Philadelphia, Taller Puertorriqueño is bringing its winning Knight Arts Challenge project, Café under the Stars to life. The series will consists of seven monthly outdoor, live performances which will run from April through October.

Its first performance begins tonight at 8 p.m. with Los Pleneros de la 21, an Afro-Puerto Rican music group influenced by jazz, salsa and rap. The concert includes unique drumming, singing and dancing. The event will take place at 2600-2624 Nth 5th Street, the site of Taller Puertorriqueño’s new facility. Future performances will feature bilingual plays, award-winning dancers, rhythms from Venezuela and more. A full list of the upcoming events is available online.

We hope that shared cultural experiences, like the ones described above, help contribute to a sense of place and communal identity.

Back to top