Bloomberg Philanthropies Announces 14 U.S. Cities in the Running to Receive Up to $1 Million in Funding for Public Art Projects that Address Civic Issues

Proposals Address a Range of Issues from Sustainability to Immigration Selected Cities Span from Anchorage to Honolulu

NEW YORK July 18, 2018 – Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced 14 finalists who could receive up to $1 million each as part of the 2018 Public Art Challenge, a program that aims to foster creative collaboration, address civic issues, and support local economies through public art. More than 200 cities applied with proposals addressing a range of pressing issues and social themes such as community development, environmental sustainability, and cultural identity. Many proposals also address issues like displacement, immigration, natural disaster recovery, and public health and safety. Additionally, the proposals reflect a diverse use of artistic mediums including augmented reality, light installations, murals, and performances.

“This year’s proposals focus on critical issues facing our country in exciting and creative ways,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Mayor of New York City 2002-2013. “The Public Art Challenge helps to highlight the role that public art plays in provoking conversation, supporting collaboration, and building strong communities, and we’re looking forward to announcing the winners.”

In February, Bloomberg Philanthropies invited mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more to submit proposals for temporary public art projects that address important civic issues, and demonstrate an ability to generate public-private collaborations, celebrate creativity and urban identity, and strengthen local economies. Bloomberg Philanthropies has selected the following 14 cities to advance to the next round for consideration by submitting more detailed plans on their projects.

Anchorage, AK – Addressing Energy Policy and Economic Development: “SEED Community”

The City of Anchorage proposes a partnership with the Anchorage Museum to address climate change. The partnership creates “SEED Lab,” a center bringing together artists, designers, engineers, and community members to embed energy efficient solutions into city planning. The partnership will turn a neglected downtown building in the city’s nascent design district into a vibrant and vital civic center.

Austin, TX – Promoting Cultural Equity: “Right to the City”

The City of Austin proposes filling public parks in underserved communities with artwork to shine a light on cultural equity. The city seeks to encourage collaboration with artists by creating works that reflect the city’s unique cultural heritage and identities. The installations will come together through a partnership with the city, the Contemporary Austin Museum, and artist collective SUPERFLEX.

Baltimore, MD – Enhancing Public Safety by Reducing Violence: “The Baltimore Resurgence Project”

The City of Baltimore proposes creating a series of murals and sustainable landscape projects to address public safety in connection with Baltimore’s Violence Reduction Initiative. The proposed project will be a multi-sector collaboration between the Arts & Parks organization, the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, and Baltimore’s Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice.

Camden, NJ – Transforming Illegal Dumping Lots into Arts Spaces: “A New View”

The City of Camden proposes transforming lots currently used for illegal dumping along major transportation highways into spaces with arts programming. Spaces located along the city’s downtown transit hub will be converted into multi-purpose community forums to host art installations and provide a visual narrative to the more than 65,000 people who travel through Camden daily.

Coral Springs, FL – Inspiring Community Healing After Gun Violence: “The Power of Art”

The City of Coral Springs in partnership with the City of Parkland proposes developing five temporary installations to bring the community together in collective healing and reflection following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February of 2018. The artworks will serve as the community’s vision of change and hope for the future. The project will draw on and support Coral Springs Museum of Art’s “Healing with Art,” an art therapy program which began as an immediate response to the shooting.

El Paso, TX – Strengthening Cross-Border Relations between the U.S. and Mexico: “Border Tuner”

The City of El Paso proposes the development of a large-scale light and sound installation that highlights connections between El Paso in the U.S. and Ciudad Juárez in Mexico. The piece will provide a platform for a wide range of local voices and will be an opportunity to draw international attention to the complexity and interdependence between the sister-cities which create the largest bi-national metropolitan area in the western hemisphere.

Holyoke, MA – Celebrating Diverse Cultural Identities: “El Corazón de Holyoke/The Heart of Holyoke”

The City of Holyoke proposes developing visual art, performances, and cultural programming that celebrates the cultural identities of Latinx neighborhoods surrounding the city’s main street. This project aims to use the arts to improve neighborhood perceptions, support cultural pride, and catalyze economic opportunity.

Honolulu, HI – Shedding Light on Historical Narratives through Public Art: “Layers of Honolulu”

The City of Honolulu proposes creating augmented reality art experiences layered on ten bronze statues to tell the stories of Hawaiian communities that have been displaced due to colonialism and urban development. The city will also create and add augmented reality to two new temporary statues that honor underrepresented communities.

Jackson, MS – Inspiring Dialogue about Food Access: “Fertile Ground”

The City of Jackson proposes a city-wide exhibition with installations and performances to promote dialogue and inform policy related to food access. Installations and performances that explore food sovereignty, nutrition, domestic hunger, and the agrarian landscape will be deployed across areas of the city experiencing food access issues.

Miami-Dade County, FL – Raising Awareness about Climate Change through Public Art: “Climate Sync Miami”

Miami-Dade County’s proposal explores the urgent issue of rising seas and its impact on Miami through a series of site-specific temporary public art interventions. The Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, through its Art in Public Places Program, will commission 8-12 art works. The pieces, by internationally renowned artists and outstanding Miami-based artists, will be placed in 10 neighborhoods throughout Miami and Miami Beach at parks, libraries, and transportation locations.

Santa Rosa, CA – Exploring Resiliency and Natural Disaster Recovery: “Home”

The City of Santa Rosa proposes an artist residency program to explore concepts of home and resiliency in the aftermath of the recent and unprecedented wildfire disaster. Artists will be “residents” in active city agencies and have access to historical archives, community programs, and gallery space through a partnership with the Museums of Sonoma County. The residency will conclude with a public art exhibition and installations.

Seattle, WA – Illuminating Gentrification and Celebrating Identity: “Growing Home”

The City of Seattle proposes a series of public art installations that celebrate the cultural identities of the city’s Africatown to spark conversation about gentrification. Each structure would represent familiar places that together create a community – a barbershop, a library, a church, a café, and a restaurant. Each site will be formed in partnership with existing or displaced businesses and institutions. To amplify each physical installation, the Young Geniuses, Africatown’s youth tech group, will develop a digital platform to crowdsource ideas about the future development on each site.

St. Louis, MO – Exploring the Legacy of Displacement: “Facing Mill Creek Valley”

The City of St. Louis proposes a public art exhibition to address displacement. The project will explore the legacy of Mill Creek Valley, a predominantly African-American neighborhood established in the late 19th Century and razed in the 1950s and 60s to make way for the construction of a freeway. Artists will engage with local historians, community leaders, and historical materials to create artworks along a newly developed pedestrian corridor under the freeway.

Tulsa, OK – Reclaiming History through Public Art: “Greenwood Art Project”

The City of Tulsa proposes a public art project that celebrates a vibrant community in the Historic Greenwood District known as Black Wall Street. Comprised of black-owned businesses that emerged in the early 20th century, in 1921, Black Wall Street was subject to both racially motivated attacks and destructive urban renewal projects in the 1950s. A team of artists will develop artwork that deepens the collective understanding of the Greenwood story.

“This year’s applications reflect a diversity of creativity and exciting experimentation for the public to experience, and the willingness of civic leaders to embrace artists in addressing complex urban challenges.” said Kate D. Levin, head of Bloomberg Philanthropies arts team. “We are grateful to the cities that applied to this year’s Public Art Challenge, and look forward to learning more about our finalist projects.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies will select at least three winners from among these 14 finalists in the fall to execute their projects over a maximum of 24 months. The grant is intended to provide catalytic funds as part of a strong, committed consortium of supporters. As such, the Bloomberg Philanthropies grants will cover project-related expenditures including development, execution, and marketing, but will not fund 100 percent of the total project costs.

The Public Art Challenge is a part of Mike Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative, an effort to help U.S. cities generate innovation and advance policy. The Public Art Challenge allows mayors and artists to join forces to elevate the value of including the creative sector when developing solutions to significant urban issues.

Bloomberg Philanthropies has a proven track record of supporting creative and innovative public art. Over 400 cities have submitted proposals for consideration in the Public Art Challenge since 2014. The foundation’s inaugural Public Art Challenge catalyzed $13 million for local economies across the four winning regions and illuminated civic issues including economic decline, vacancy, water conservation and police-community relations.

More information about the Public Art Challenge can be found on


About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies works in 480 cities in more than 120 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 charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $702 million. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramSnapchat, and Twitter.

Seattle AIDS Memorial Selects Lead Artist

Community leaders, in partnership with the City of Seattle, are poised to move forward on a plan to create an AIDS memorial on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

In March 2018, The AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway and Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture issued a call for artists to submit qualifications for the project, which will be a physical place for remembrance and reflection, utilizing technology to share stories about the epidemic and the diverse community responses to the crisis and providing a call to action to end HIV/AIDS, stigma, and discrimination.

A five-member, community-based selection panel reviewed the submissions and interviewed three finalists in June. The committee assisted by advisers, also community based, selected social practice artist Horatio Hung-Yan Law to lead a team of artists to complete the project. Law pursued at MFA at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. The impetus for his arts degree was his first-hand experience during the early years of the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

“Much of my work stems from my identity and experience as a gay US citizen of Asian heritage,” says Law. “Social interaction and community participation are important aspects in my installation work and public art projects. I create work for regular people that examines issues of identity, memory, history and the meaning of community. As a public artist who is interested in socially engaged work, I value collaboration and partnership with community members through collecting ideas, cultural materials, and engaging residents in planning and production of public art.”

“Horatio has created wonderful works of public art in Seattle and other communities,” according to Tom Rasmussen, The AMP’s Chair. “We’re thrilled to work with this talented and sensitive artist. There will be many opportunities for public involvement as he begins to develop the art plan for the AMP.”

Horatio Law’s public art portfolio includes works created for the City of Tacoma, the Housing Authority of Portland, City of Seattle, Oregon State Hospital, Sisters of the Road, Tri-Met’s Portland-Milwaukee Light-Rail Line, Portland Parks & Recreation, and Seattle’s Asian Counseling and Referral Service.

The AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway is part of the Seattle Capitol Hill Light Rail Station Development, a long-awaited and transformational project for the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Slated to open in mid-2020, The AMP will be located on the north edge of Cal Anderson Park and on the public plaza of the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station. The Station will include four buildings and will provide 428 apartments, including 178 affordable apartments, and ground floor retail. The development will also include a community room available to the public and a public plaza that will serve as the home of Capitol Hill Neighborhood Farmers Market as well as a venue for other community events.

Information about Horatio Law and the project’s history, site selection, and current status is available at

The AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway is supported by the City of Seattle, the Seattle Parks Foundation, Pride Foundation, Lucky 7 Foundation, and individual donors.

Image: Lost & Found
10′ x 30′ x 30′
Screen size: 8′ x 8′
Mixed-media installation.
Single-Channel Video Projection on Silk Rose Petals and Red Thread. Image Gallery, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon
An installation with projection and sound on a screen made of silk rose-petal and red silk thread. The projection is a series of portraits of Portland parents and their adopted Chinese children projected on an 8’x8′ screen; a soundtrack of a Buddhist chant plays softly in the background. The installation is a meditation on conflicting issues raised by trans-cultural adoptions: individuals and the collective, uniqueness and commonality, longing and belonging, loss and gain. The screen symbolically and literally stitched the family together, as the screen itself was communally constructed by families and friends over several weeks.


Provide feedback on the City of Seattle’s website!

The City of Seattle’s Digital Services Team is looking for the public’s help. The team members who work to maintain are looking to make some improvements and need feedback from the people who use the site. is where the public logs on to pay bills, look for services, and access City data, among other things. The team wants to improve the search function within and they need a few volunteers to help with this process.

What will volunteers be doing?  

  • Volunteers will be asked to conduct a few web searches on and give feedback on the results they see. It will take approximately 30 minutes.
  • Volunteers will also have the option to sign up to participate in future tests to improve the features and usability for everyone on this site.

Who is eligible to participate?  

Eligible participants:

  • Must live in Seattle
  • Are over the age of 18
  • Have searched for information on the internet
  • Speak English
  • People with disabilities are encouraged to participate

Where will this take place? 

The team will coordinate to meet participants at a public location of their convenience (for example, a library or community center) through July and August. The team is hoping to complete sessions by the end of August.

How to sign up? 

It takes about two minutes to sign up with basic contact information. Visit or email with your name and the best way to get in contact with you.

Public art projects honored by Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Year in Review

Americans for the Arts honored 49 outstanding public arts projects created in 2017 through the Public Art Network Year in Review program, the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art. Chosen by public art experts, the roster of selected projects include three from Seattle’s Public Art Program.

The three projects that were recognized are:

Vessels by Nicole Kistler: Vessels are a series of cast iron sculptures that dot the community garden on Seattle Public Utilities property at Beacon Reservoir. Building on the inspiration of the reservoir as a container, they evoke puffball mushrooms holding spores, berries holding seeds, seed pods, and ceramic water jugs. The sculptures also hold stories from the community. Kistler interviewed Beacon Food Forest volunteers and neighbors over several summer months capturing food stories and traditions on audio and imbedded phrases into the permanent works. Commissioned with Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art Funds.

BorderLands: The first exhibition ARTS organized at King Street Station, BorderLands featured 2D- and 3D works from the City’s collection as well as site-specific installations. The exhibition, focusing on themes of belonging and resistance, was on view on the third floor of King Street Station.

Poetry on Buses, a collaboration with 4Culture and funded through Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art funds: Poetry on Buses invited King County residents to create, share, and experience poetry on public transit, online, and in community on the theme “Your Body of Water.”

Dating back to 1992, Poetry on Buses was reimagined in 2014 to foster relationships with immigrant and undeserved communities, featured multiple languages, and transformed the commute for culture—on bus and on smartphone. The 2017-18 program was multi-modal and featured poetry in nine languages.

“The best of public art can challenge, delight, educate, and illuminate. Most of all, public art creates a sense of civic vitality in the cities, towns, and communities we inhabit and visit,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “As these Public Art Network Year in Review selections illustrate, public art has the power to enhance our lives on a scale that little else can. I congratulate the artists and commissioning groups for these community treasures, and I look forward to honoring more great works in the years to come.”

The projects selected for Year in Review can be viewed on this page and were on display throughout the Annual Convention. Three independent public art experts—Bryan Lee, Jr., director of design at Colloqate Design in New Orleans; Karen Mack, executive director of LA Commons in Los Angeles; and Denver artist Patrick Marold—discussed the trends they uncovered while examining hundreds of submissions in selecting this year’s choices for the most exemplary, innovative permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in 2017. This is the 17th year that Americans for the Arts has recognized public art works.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, it has a record of more than 55 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at


Congratulations to the Seattle Channel for Winning Four NW Emmy Awards

Seattle Channel is the recipient of four Northwest Regional Emmy Awards for public-affairs, arts and environmental programming and an interview special. The winning programs covered topics ranging from safe injection sites to a tribute to the vinyl music format.

The city-operated station was recognized Saturday, June 9, at the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Arts & Sciences’ (NATAS) Emmy Awards ceremony.

“From City Hall to Seattle’s vibrant neighborhoods, the Seattle Channel is a cornerstone for civic engagement,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “We are fortunate to have a station that provides in-depth coverage of our city and diverse communities, people and places, and that offers residents an opportunity to stay informed and engaged. I congratulate the team for this recognition, and on its dedication to excellence in local programming.”

Seattle Channel won in the public affairs program/special category for a City Inside/Out episode exploring the controversy around safe injection sites where addicts can use illegal drugs under supervision. Individuals recognized for the coverage were host and producer Brian Callanan, producer Susan Han and photographer/editor Matt Peterson.

Ian Devier, producer/photographer/editor, won in the environmental feature category for a CityStream segment on Nube 9, a local company that makes athletic wear from recycled plastic bottles.

Art Zone with Nancy Guppy won in the arts/entertainment special category for a show dedicated to the vinyl music format – from its history to life-changing record stories. Individuals recognized for the special were host and senior producer Nancy Guppy, producer Sheila Mullen, director and photographer Vincent Pierce and editor Peggy Lycett.

Art Zone with Nancy Guppy also won in the interview/discussion special category for an in-depth interview with Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready. Individuals recognized for the special were host and senior producer Nancy Guppy, producer/photographer/editor Ralph Bevins and photographer/editor Peggy Lycett.

“Through its in-depth and inclusive programming, Seattle Channel reflects the city’s commitment to public engagement and transparency,” said Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell, chair of the Governance, Equity & Technology Committee. “From public policy to community features, I applaud the station for its commitment to feature a variety of voices and perspectives.”

In the 55th annual Northwest Emmy’s, Seattle Channel competed against commercial and public television stations in the Northwest NATAS five-state region which includes Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. This year, the station received 12 Emmy-Award nominations in program categories including health/science, public-affairs feature, informational segment, politics/government special, editing and reporting.

“Seattle Channel is committed to producing quality content with depth and impact,” said Shannon Gee, Seattle Channel’s interim general manager. “Our public-affairs programs spark informed civic dialogue, and our arts features and community segments entertain and inspire. I’m honored to work with a team dedicated to sharing a variety of engaging programs with the residents of Seattle.”

Seattle Channel is a local TV station that reflects, informs and inspires the community it serves. Seattle Channel presents programs on cable television – channel 21 on Comcast (321 HD), Wave (721 HD) and 8003 on CenturyLink (8503 HD) – and via the internet to help residents connect with their city. Programming includes series and special features highlighting the diverse civic and cultural landscape.