Bloomberg Public Art Challenge
In October 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies invited mayors from across the country to collaborate with artists and arts organizations to develop temporary public art projects to address critical issues facing their cities. The response was resounding: 237 cities submitted proposals targeting a range of urban challenges, from decaying neighborhoods to environmental awareness to building stronger community relations through creative collaboration.
In June 2015, Bloomberg Philanthropies awarded four teams $1 million each to realize their projects. These winning proposals confronted some of the nation's most pressing civic issues: abandoned properties, drought, community-police relations and economic development within the creative sector.
In a collaborative effort, the cities of Albany, Schenectady and Troy, New York, transformed vacant buildings into an evocative art installation by placing pulsing light panels in their windows. The goal of Breathing Lights was to spark community conversation around the issues of vacancy and urban revitalization.
In Los Angeles, California, the city launched CURRENT: LA, its first public art biennial. The inaugural city-wide exhibition, CURRENT: LA Water, focused attention on the serious drought affecting the metropolitan area.
With the goal of improving police-community relations and creating safer, more vibrant public spaces, the city of Spartanburg, South Carolina worked with artist Erwin Redl on Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light.
Gary, Indiana partnered with artist Theaster Gates to transform an under-utilized downtown building into ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen. Using culinary and visual arts as tools for community engagement, ArtHouse was envisioned to respond to economic divestment in the city.