Skip to main content

Bloomberg Philanthropies Launches Asphalt Art Initiative, Providing Cities How-To Guidance to Transform Streets and Public Spaces with Artwork

The Asphalt Art Guide highlights art-driven street design projects in cities around the world and provides step-by-step guidance to cities looking to implement their own projects

Bloomberg Philanthropies will award grants to 10 U.S. cities for new artistic street and public space projects in cities inspired by the Guide


WASHINGTON, DC – Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced the launch of the Asphalt Art Initiative which will assist cities looking to use art and design to improve street safety, revitalize public spaces, and engage their communities. The Initiative includes the publication of the Asphalt Art Guide, with case studies and best practices from cities around the world, as well as the awarding of grants up to $25,000 to 10 small and mid-sized U.S. cities to implement their own transformative projects. This new program, announced at the annual Bloomberg Philanthropies-Aspen Institute CityLab conference in Washington, DC, is inspired by work done in New York City during Michael R. Bloomberg’s tenure as Mayor from 2002-2013 and the work of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ pro bono consulting arm Bloomberg Associates.

“Public art has the power to reshape the way we experience our cities. We saw that time and again during my time as Mayor of New York City: art could remake streets and improve public safety, inspire people, draw in visitors, and enhance residents’ quality of life,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “When we combined our public art projects with our efforts to strengthen city infrastructure, through new public plazas or bike lanes, we created even safer, more vibrant streets for everyone. Now, we’re working to share our experience and enliven streets and plazas around the world.”

The Bloomberg Associates Asphalt Art Guide features case studies and photos of projects from cities around the world, providing inspiration for other cities looking to incorporate artwork into pedestrian plazas, intersection designs, and murals on roadways or other urban infrastructure. Projects are highlighted from cities including Asheville (NC), Oakland (CA), Pittsburgh (PA), Athens, Greece, Bogotá, Colombia, and Milan, Italy. Intended for city officials, community groups, artists, and citizens, the book includes detailed guidance and best practices for implementing similar projects, with cost- and time-saving advice on every step from site selection to implementation and maintenance. The Guide is free for download at It was produced by the Bloomberg Associates Transportation and Cultural Assets Management teams in collaboration with urban planning and architecture firm Street Plans Collaborative and public art consultant Renee Piechocki.

The grant program is designed not just to create vibrant new public spaces but also to build city capacity for working with artists and community groups on projects involving transportation infrastructure. United States cities with populations of 30,000-500,000 are welcome to apply from October 28th to December 12th, 2019. Winning cities will be announced in spring 2020 and all selected projects will be installed by the end of the year. The application and city selection guidelines are available at

“We built hundreds of miles of bike lanes in New York, dozens of pedestrian spaces and transformed roads that hadn’t changed in decades, but nothing brought as much excitement to the streets as eye-catching urban art,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, Principal for Transportation at Bloomberg Associates and former commissioner of the New York City Department of transportation. “From vibrant designs on Broadway through Times Square to community-led art on neighborhood streets in our partner cities, we’ve seen the power that new color adds to old blacktop, and now Asphalt Art gives cities everywhere the tools to paint their own urban canvas.”

“Streets and public spaces are unique to their cities, but urban leaders and residents all share an interest in making them safer, more beautiful and accessible.  We hope that the Asphalt Art Guide will provide inspiration and equip city agencies, community groups and artists with the guidance needed to champion projects that deliver on these objectives, breathing new life into neighborhoods, and urban infrastructure,” said Kate D. Levin, Principal, Cultural Assets Management at Bloomberg Associates.

Photos for media use:
Photos along with credits and descriptions can be downloaded here.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 510 cities and 129 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramYouTube and Twitter.

About Bloomberg Associates
Bloomberg Associates is a philanthropic consulting organization founded by Michael R. Bloomberg in 2014. We work side by side with client cities to improve the quality of life for residents, taking a strategic, collaborative and results-oriented approach to make cities stronger, safer, more equitable and efficient. Our team of globally recognized experts and industry leaders have worked with cities across the globe on hundreds of projects in order to ignite change and transform dynamic vision into reality.

For more information on the consultancy, please visit or follow us on Twitter @Bloombergassoc.

About Street Plans Collaborative
Street Plans is an internationally recognized urban planning and architecture firm with offices in New York and Miami. We believe that the key to creating healthy, prosperous communities rests in the design of great streets and public spaces. We work with clients to identify ways to create and activate public spaces, while at the same time designing streets and neighborhoods that make it easy and safe to bike, walk and take transit. Street Plans is recognized as the leading global practitioner of tactical urbanism, which is an approach to neighborhood-building using short-term, low-cost, and scalable interventions to catalyze long-term change.  We’ve produced over a dozen publications on street design and public space. Principals Mike Lydon and Tony Garcia are the authors of the acclaimed Tactical Urbanism book, published by Island Press in 2015. For their contributions to the field of architecture and planning they were awarded the Seaside Prize in 2017. For more information on our work visit or follow us on Twitter @StreetPlans.

About Renee Piechocki
Renee Piechocki is passionate about developing projects and initiatives to engage artists and communities in the public realm.  She is an artist, administrator, advocate, and consultant.  In recognition of her contributions to the field, she received the 2018 Public Art Network Leadership Award from the Americans for the Arts.

Media Contact:
Rebecca Carriero, Bloomberg Philanthropies +1 (212) 205-0182 or