Public Art Challenge

Engaging creative communities to enhance the quality of life in cities


TRANSFORMING URBAN SPACES WITH DYNAMIC PUBLIC ART

The Public Art Challenge encourages mayors to collaborate with artists to develop innovative public art projects that address critical issues in their communities. Applications are currently open for the 2018 edition.

U.S. mayors of cities with 30,000 residents or more are invited to apply and receive up to $1 million in funding for temporary public art projects that address an important civic issue. At least three cities will be selected in 2018 to execute their projects over a maximum of 24 months.

The foundation’s first Public Art Challenge, announced in the fall of 2014 with projects opening in 2016 supported creative projects in four cities: Gary, IN; Los Angeles, CA; Spartanburg, SC; and a collaborative team from Albany, Schenectady and Troy, NY.

The Inaugural Public Art Challenge generated significant activity across four regions, generating $13 million for local economies, 10 million views, 245 partnerships, and 490 public programs.

The Public Art Challenge is part of the American Cities Initiative, a suite of investments that empower cities to generate innovation and advance policy that moves the nation forward.

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FOUR WINNING PROJECTS FROM THE INAUGURAL PUBLIC ART CHALLENGE:

 

  1. Albany, Schenectady and Troy, NY – “Breathing Lights”
    Illuminating the Need for Community Revitalization

    Through a collaborative effort, the cities of Albany, Schenectady and Troy, NY illuminated vacant buildings across the New York Capital Region to mimic human breath and elevate the issues of vacancy and urban revitalization. Artist Adam Frelin, architect Barbara Nelson, the mayors of the three cities, local land banks, and more than 75 community and private sector partners came together to bring the “Breathing Lights” installation to life. This project included a series of related public programming for residents, prospective buyers and investors, and policymakers.

  2. Gary, IN – “ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen”
    Connecting Food and Art to Catalyze a Cultural District


    The City of Gary, IN transformed an underutilized downtown building into a cultural hub that showcases visual and culinary arts. “ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen,” conceived by artist Theaster Gates and the City’s Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, is a public space that aims to catalyze a cultural district, promote urban revitalization, and generate opportunities for employment in the restaurant industry.

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

    The City of Los Angeles, CA presented “CURRENT:LA Water,” the city’s first public art biennial. It included 15 multidisciplinary works of art sited in parks and public spaces along the Los Angeles River. Each of the 13 artists involved created artwork that responded to the importance of water, highlighting critical issues related to conservation, ecology and drought.

  4. Spartanburg, SC – “Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light”
    Strengthening Community-Police Relations

    With the goal of improving police-community relations and creating safer, more vibrant public spaces, the City of Spartanburg, SC worked with artist Erwin Redl on “Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light.” Redl collaborated with the City’s police and fire departments, along with the neighborhood associations, to design and develop engaging light and media art installations that touched 10 neighborhoods across the city.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PUBLIC ART CHALLENGE