Hotbox Art talks Knight

Published on February 17th, 2017

Hotbox Art talks Knight

Knight Arts Challenge

Knight Arts Challenge

Six empty row houses on Douglass  Avenue in West Palm Beach that could have been bulldozed in an afternoon instead represent one of the big ideas in community improvement — that the arts are critical to turning around neglected neighborhoods. Today, the brightly repainted shotgun shacks in West Palm’s Northwest Historic District fly under the name Hotbox Art and are slated become functional studios for serious local artists — a repurposing aided by a $40,000 grant from the Miami-based Knight Foundation.

On April 6, Hotbox Art board chairman and South Florida visual artist George Gadson will join Knight officials at Respectable Street in downtown West Palm to talk about how he won that matching money. The discussion takes place at West Palm’s very first Knight-sponsored Community Conversation for artists and cultural organizations interested in getting similar grants from the annual Knight Arts Challenge. “Art is a means and a way that a community can be transformed,” Gadson told PureHoney in an interview. “I try to be a part of that catalyst and bring about that transformation.”

Gadson is quick to credit the man who hired him, homebuilder Don D. Patterson, with the vision behind Hotbox Art and for

Hotbox Art

Hotbox Art

making a winning pitch to the Knight Foundation. But Gadson’s own unique background surely qualifies him to talk about the intersection of arts and economics. He spent a career in banking and then pivoted to fine arts, training himself as a sculptor, painter and photographer. He has commissioned works on public display in regional parks, libraries, community plazas and college campuses.  “I’m not your typical artist,” says Gadson. “I understand the dynamics of economic development and community revitalization.”

That expertise is available on April 6 to anyone considering the Knight Arts Challenge, which in 2016 alone disbursed $2.8 million in matching grants to 44 different South Florida arts initiatives, Hotbox Arts included, in amounts ranging from $12,500 to $150,000. Submissions are accepted through April 28 and winners are announced in November.

The Knight Arts Challenge Community Conversation, sponsored by PureHoney, runs 6:30pm to 8pm on April 6 at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach. Lindsey Mills and the Lazy Lovers perform afterwards. Digital Art demo by Jesse Kunerth of DoseCreative.com Visit https://www.knightfoundation.org.
~ Sean Piccoli


“Great ideas can come from anywhere, and the Challenge helps find those ideas and provide the seed funding to turn them into reality.”

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