Nine Miami-based artists receive additional funding from the Knight Foundation.

Miami artist Maya Billig’s “A Lot” is an interactive dance performance centered on the experience of regaining momentum after being “parked” in a space for an extended period of time. Billig’s piece is one of nine Knight New Work 2020 winners announced in June.

Photo courtesy of the Knight Foundation

A driving circus, a writer’s mixtape and a virtual tour of Miami neighborhood bus stops are among the nine projects that will come to fruition with funding from Knight New Work.

The Knight Foundation-funded initiative last year launched an open appeal, challenging local artists to adapt their ideas to the constraints of the pandemic. The two-part initiative awarded $ 10,000 in grants to 18 local artists in December. An additional $ 300,000 distributed among the nine winners announced on Wednesday will allow these artists to launch their work before the end of the year.

The first is “Oil Ancestors: Metaphysical Hotline” by Fereshteh Toosi. The Miami artist’s immersive phone theater experience will take place on select dates June 9-20. The play creates a sort of session that turns participants into ancestors by placing them in a one-on-one phone conversation with a descendant from the future. . “Oil Ancestors” forces participants to consider the past and take responsibility for our impact on the future, Toosi wrote in his grant proposal.

The nine winning entries range from interactive pieces that can be experienced at home, such as Toosi’s, to live-drive performances, such as “A Lot” by Maya Billig, which explores the experience of regaining momentum. after being “parked” in a space. for an extended period. (Seems familiar?)

Knight New Work launched in 2018, but the 2020 edition of the biennial initiative comes at a time when the pandemic has put a particular strain on the performing arts, said Adam Ganuza, program manager for the Knight Foundation. Still, the constraints of social distancing have encouraged a high degree of creativity, he added.

“We have to be connected to each other in our society and we see the consequences of having disjointed and disconnected citizenship,” Ganuza said. “The arts are a powerful way to bring us together even when we can’t be physically together. “

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Writer and Knight New Work Fellowship 2020 winner Octavia Yearwood will receive additional funding for her work “Life’s Interludes,” a blend of music and poetry coupled with visual components that share the complex experiences of queer artists. Tequan Picasso Johnson

“All nine projects are works of performing arts that contain adaptations drawn from lessons learned during the pandemic,” Ganuza said. “These are the types of lessons that will stay with us moving forward even in the post-pandemic period.”

With Toosi and Billig, the winners are:

Juraj Kojs, “Where is the house”: a multi-movement musical composition for voice, instruments and computers, which explores the theme of home, immigration and citizenship from the perspective of a recently naturalized American citizen.

Natasha Tsakos, “CARABOOM The Carwashow Miami”: an immersive and dynamic theatrical experience that aims to bring human connection, pleasure and fear back to people’s lives from the comfort of their vehicle.

Najja Moon, “The Huddle is a circle of prayer”: an immersive installation and interactive performance that encompasses sound, visual art, writing and movement.

Melissa Cobblah Gutierrez, “CuBlack: Invisibilized No More!”: a dance film and performance that analyzes black oppression within the Cuban community in Miami.

Carlos Miguel Caballero, Inez Barlatier and Lornoar, “Sharing Grandmothers”: a collaborative theatrical performance by Caballero of Cuban descent, Haitian-American Barlatier and Cameroonian Lornoar, who have joined forces to combine original music and dance with themes that enhance the human experience.

Juggerknot Theater Co., “Miami Bus Stop Stories”: The creators of the popular and critically acclaimed theatrical performances “Miami Motel Stories” have designed an immersive virtual theater experience where bus passengers meet neighborhood residents at a series of virtual stops around Miami neighborhoods.

Octavia Yearwood, “Interludes of Life”: Yearwood’s project, named Miami New Times’ Best Author of Miami in 2018, is a blend of music and poetry paired with visual components that share the complex experiences of queer artists.


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