Knight Arts Challenge


Knight Foundation





Berg Muirhead is the local communications and marketing lead to for the Knight Foundation’s $26 million arts commitment in Detroit. The program was announced in 2012 and included an initial $10.25 million in grants to five arts institutions, as well as a commitment to run a Knight Arts Challenge crowd-sourcing/grant-making contest worth a total of $9 million in Detroit for the next three years.  

Our team was engaged to announce the launch of the Challenge initiative and the initial grants in 2012, and then implement a comprehensive communications and marketing campaign for each of the subsequent three years of Knight Arts Challenge crowd-sourcing/grant-making contests.   

Through Berg Muirhead’s communications, marketing and community engagement strategy, the Knight Foundation exceeded its expectations in Detroit and broke national Knight Arts Challenge records in the number of contest applications submitted. We also retooled their People’s Choice Award marketing strategy, which included implementing a campaign where we trained the nominees on how to promote their arts projects, while also re-strategizing on how the Knight Foundation could communicate this element of the contest to the grassroots community. This strategy is now being used by the Knight Foundation as a model for other Knight Arts Challenge campaigns nationally. Additionally, in year two of the Knight Art Challenge, we were able to position the competition’s awardees so that they garnered national media attention through Associated Press coverage.  

Berg Muirhead provided the following services to the Knight Foundation:

  • Communications, marketing and communications strategy development and implementation
  • Media relations for the launch and during each contest year
  • Event planning and community relations for approximately six community meeting/town hall events eachyear
  • $100,000 advertising campaign, targeting mainstream and ethnic/community print and broadcast outlets
  • Social media content development
  • Marketing and advertising content development