Community Theater Grant Application, 1983

Flanner House is an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that works to provide economic, educational, and foundational services to families in need in the community, creating a self-sustaining community through organizing and mutual aid efforts. Knight wrote this grant application in 1983, looking to the local Indy organization to help create the infrastructure for an after-school arts program called “When Crime is Your Companion It Is Best to Walk Alone” that would help keep kids off the streets. The proposal, written with the support of People Against Crime and the Indianapolis Urban League, was for a series of four vignettes written and directed by Knight, which they would stage as shows open to the public. Knight wrote the program to be “mobile” so the vignettes could be staged at parks, churches, schools, and other community gathering locations.

Ultimately, the grant seems to have been unsuccessful, but this artifact gives an indelible insight into how Knight, as he got older, worked to be proactive, not reactive, in helping people change their lives. In the application, he talks about how he did not have these sorts of opportunities as a kid, and he wants to help give them to other kids who experience the same conditions in which he grew up: “the young people who are no longer in school or church, the young people who say they haven’t given up on society--society has given up on them.”

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