$1.3M awarded to St. Paul arts challenge projects

The micro-museum
Workhorse Coffee Bar was awarded Knight Foundation funds during last year's challenge grant to create the Smallest Museum in a retired fire hose container outside the University Avenue shop.
Courtesy Pavlica Photography

Forty St. Paul arts projects will split $1.3 million in Knight Foundation challenge grants, the organization announced Tuesday.

Grant recipients, whose projects range from literature and theater to music and film, will be required to match their funds dollar for dollar.

The Knight Foundation chose recipients based on their answer to the question, "What's your best idea for the arts in St. Paul?"

Their answers — and the final set of projects chosen — reflect the city's diversity of arts participation, said foundation vice president Victoria Rogers.

Among Rogers' favorite proposals: Placing tiny bronze bees in neighborhoods to encourage bee-friendly gardens.

"It's public art, so you can go to this space, learn about the importance of bees, plant gardens and see these brilliant little sculptures," she said. "So it's public art with purpose."

This marks the second of three years in the Knight Arts Challenge, which is offered in cities where the Knight family once owned newspapers. Almost all of last year's challenge grant recipients have met their dollar-for-dollar match. In 2016, the final year of the challenge, more than $2 million will be available to distribute among proposals.

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