2018 Challenge

After receiving over 200 applications and selecting 14 finalists, Bloomberg Philanthropies named five winners in the 2018 Public Art Challenge.


Winner: 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.

“SEED Lab will showcase the creativity, problem solving, local knowledge and global relevance of Anchorage. This will be a center for art that enhances our understanding of potential community solutions, policies and practices on sustainability and other pressing concerns. The arts will provide a new lens to approach these conversations with a new set of vocabulary, insights and skills. We are honored to be selected as a 2018 Public Art Challenge winner.” – Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz

Winner: 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.

“Illegal dumping is unsightly, unlawful, and costs the city over $4 million annually. This winning project provides a unique way to bring together residents and artists to address this issue with creativity and create a brighter future for Camden. I have made solving this problem the cornerstone of my administration.” – Camden Mayor Francisco Moran

Winner: 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.

“The Marjory Stoneman Douglas tragedy has traumatized our community in ways we could never have imagined. We believe this project will be an important help with our community’s resilience.” – Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky

“Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School includes many Coral Springs residents. The tragic events of February 14, 2018 had a tremendous impact on our City and the City of Parkland. In our grief and sadness, our cities came together to work on healing by presenting this series of temporary public art projects.” – Acting Mayor of Coral Springs Lou Cimaglia

Winner: 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.

“The city is overjoyed to have been selected in this process. This was a highly competitive grant where over 200 cities around the world applied to be a part of this Public Art Challenge. And so, to be able to aid in the aesthetic appeal of the city while delivering a message of healthy eating for the citizens of Jackson is a truly remarkable opportunity and we are ecstatic and look forward to seeing this project come into fruition.” – Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba

Winner: 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.

“In Tulsa, the racial and economic disparities that still exist today can be traced to the 1921 race massacre. The city as a whole suffers when economic inequality touches any neighborhood. The Greenwood Art Project will help encourage connections and engage citizens to understand the dangers of hatred, the power of resilience and the importance of reconciliation.” – Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum



Finalist: 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.

Finalist: 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.

Finalist: 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.

Finalist: 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.

Finalist: 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.

Finalist: 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.

Finalist: 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.

Finalist: 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.

Finalist: 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.