Public Art Challenge

Engaging creative communities to enhance the quality of life in cities

In June 2015, the Public Art Challenge selected four cities to receive up to $1 million each over the next two years.

TRANSFORMING URBAN SPACES WITH DYNAMIC PUBLIC ART

In October 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies invited mayors to collaborate with artists and arts organizations to develop innovative projects that engage residents and attract visitors. 237 cities submitted proposals, affirming the many ways in which the arts can celebrate, address, and advance critical urban issues. In March 2015, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced 12 finalist cities that presented innovative ideas and were poised to make significant local impact. These proposals covered a range of areas such as revitalization of decayed downtown areas, underutilized waterfronts, and vacant neighborhoods. They also addressed other social issues including civil rights, neighborhood safety, environmental sustainability, and promoting city identity.

LEARN ABOUT THE FOUR PROJECTS THAT WERE SELECTED IN THE PUBLIC ART CHALLENGE:

  1. Albany, Schenectady and Troy, NY – Breathing Lights
    Illuminating the Need for Community Revitalization
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    Through a collaborative effort, the cities of Albany, Schenectady and Troy, plan to illuminate up to 300 vacant homes over several months. Working with lead artist, Adam Frelin, lead architect, Barbara Nelson, and more than 25 community and private sector partners, including the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, this multi-site installation aims to regenerate interest in once-vibrant neighborhoods that currently have high vacancy rates. This consortium will culminate the project with a regional summit on vacant homes and abandoned buildings to engage local residents, prospective buyers and investors, and policy makers.

  2. Gary, IN – ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen
    Connecting Food and Art to Develop a Cultural District Gary_No_Type

    The City of Gary will transform an underutilized downtown building into a cultural hub that showcases visual and culinary arts. ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen is a partnership with artist Theaster Gates and the City to create a civic center that features three commissioned works of visual art, offers culinary training, and provides cultural programming that uses food as a medium for community engagement.  The City will use this public space as a catalyst to develop a cultural district and promote urban revitalization.

  3. Los Angeles, CA – CURRENT: LA Water
    Call to Action on Water Conservation Through Art

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    The City of Los Angeles will commission up to 15 multidisciplinary artworks and public programs that focus on the city’s environmental concerns and engage residents for its inaugural Public Art Biennial. These installations will include locations alongside the Los Angeles River as well as other sites throughout Los Angeles, increasing awareness of the city’s need for water conservation.

  4. Spartanburg, SC – Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light
    Addressing Crime through Creative Partnerships

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    The City of Spartanburg is planning temporary art installations on city-owned public spaces in five targeted neighborhoods. The project builds on National Night Out, an annual event that promotes crime prevention efforts, police-community partnership and neighborhood camaraderie. Artist Erwin Redl is collaborating with the city’s police and fire departments, and neighborhood associations selected through a competitive process, to design and develop LED light installations that transform open spaces and create safer, more vibrant neighborhoods.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PUBLIC ART CHALLENGE