Knight Time Is The Right Time: Democratizing Arts Philanthropy at Lo! and Behold

August 28, 2014

By Travis Wright

"If it weren't for the Knight Foundation, especially the People's Choice Award, I'd probably be closed right now."

The Florida-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is of course a long-time supporter of NPR. And, in full disclosure, their Detroit office supports some of WDET’s endeavors.

But for the second year in a row, the foundation is helping get the community involved in funding all kinds of local arts and culture projects through its Knight Arts Challenge. Right now, five Detroit based arts and culture organizations are vying for the Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award, which comes with a $20,000 infusion of funds.

When Knight Foundation Project Director Katy Locker spoke about the Knight Arts Challenge with WDET’s Travis Wright, she talked about what drew the organization to support arts in Detroit.

After that conversation, Travis visits Lo! & Behold Records & Books in Hamtramck, where a guy named Richie Wohlfeil runs a beatniky store-front and community space. He puts on community pot-lach get-togethers, as well as ongoing Folk & Blues Night series, which he records.

Proprietor, sound engineer, songwriter, guitar player and drummer around town, Wohlfeil is actively in the process of finding matching funding from the community so he may receive the Knight award he was bestowed last year. He wants to start pressing vinyl records that capture folk and blues night performances.