Supporting Innovative Temporary Public Art Projects that Enhance the Vibrancy of Cities

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In June 2015, the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge selected four teams to receive up to $1 million each over the next two years to support temporary public art projects in their cities that celebrate creativity, enhance urban identity, encourage public-private partnerships, and strengthen local economies.


30,000+ Residents

Selected cities were required to have 30,000 residents or more.

Lead Applicant

Applications were submitted by the mayor or chief executive of the host city on behalf of a collaboration between the city and an artist and/or arts organization.

Selection Criteria

  • Excellent, innovative public art project
  • Potential for positive impact on the host city
  • Proof of clear, specific partnership between local government and artists and/or arts organizations
  • Evidence of technical feasibility of the project idea and its implementation (i.e. staff, consultants, fabricators, engineers, strategy for regulatory approvals, etc.)
  • Appropriate budget and capacity to leverage other sources of support
  • Strong marketing and audience engagement strategy
  • Commitment to evaluating outcomes

Dates & Deadlines

  • Dec 15 2014

    Application deadline 5:00 PM EST

  • Mar 5 2015

    Finalists notified and invited to submit a full proposal

  • Apr 9 2015

    Full proposal deadline 5:00 PM EST

  • Jul 23 2015

    Public Art Challenge grantees announced

  • 24 Months

    Projects realized within 24 months of grant award

Frequently Asked Questions


How much will Bloomberg Philanthropies award to a single project?

Up to $1 million will be awarded by Bloomberg Philanthropies for selected projects. The grant may not be used to fund 100% of project costs. The grant is intended to provide catalytic funds as part of a strong, committed group of supporters for each project.

What is the duration of the grant?

Grant funds will be available for development and execution of the project over a maximum of 24 months following the announcement of final awards in May 2015.


Does someone from City Hall have to submit the application? Can a private citizen or non-governmental entity apply? What about a city agency?

Your application must be submitted by the mayor or chief official of your city. The application must be on behalf of a collaboration between the host city and an artist and/or arts organization.

Can a city submit multiple applications?

No, each city can only submit one application for one project.

Can applications be from partnerships of two or more cities, city and regional governments, or other combinations of government entities (multiple agencies)?

Yes, partnerships and multi-site projects are welcome. Cities may apply as part of a consortium but only one city can serve as the lead applicant. Information about all consortium members will need to be included in the application materials.

Does the application have to be for a new public art project or can it be an in-progress project?

Bloomberg Philanthropies encourages all applicants to submit new ideas for temporary public art projects that have the potential for positive impact on the host city. However, projects that are in development and have not yet been realized will also be considered.

What types of temporary public art projects will be considered?

We encourage submissions from all artistic disciplines for projects that fulfill the selection criteria. Visual and performing arts, including multimedia projects, will be considered.

What project expenses are eligible for support from Bloomberg Philanthropies?

Public Art Challenge grants can be used for any project related expenditures including artist fees, design team outlays, administrative overhead and fundraising costs. While the use of our funds is intended to be flexible, Bloomberg Philanthropies will not fund 100% of project costs. Payment schedules will be determined based on individual projects.

Do in-kind contributions count as part of the total project budget?

Yes, in-kind contributions count and you will be asked to itemize them as part of your application. However, compelling proposals will also include meaningful cash contributions as evidence of a robust public-private partnership in support of your project.

Will projects outside the United States be funded?

Only projects presented in cities in the 50 United States, and territories including Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the US Virgin Islands and the Northern Marianas, will be considered.

Process & Review

Who will review my application? Who will select the finalists?

Bloomberg Philanthropies staff will review all applications and select the finalists.

Should we submit a letter of support for our work?

Please provide only those materials and information specified on the application. The last page of the Public Art Challenge application will require an uploaded request letter signed by your city’s mayor or chief executive before you can submit your application. The letter must:

  • Describe the project for which you are seeking Bloomberg Philanthropies support
  • Introduce all key collaborators, including artists, arts organizations, city agencies, and private sector groups
  • Explain the goals of this project and the potential difference if will make for your city

You can find all other submission requirements on the online form.

If selected as a finalist, what will I be required to submit?

If your city is selected as a finalist, you will be required to submit a full proposal. Submission requirements will be made available in February 2015. Additionally, a representative from Bloomberg Philanthropies will schedule a site visit and interview that will take place prior to the full proposal deadline.

What are the legal terms and conditions applications must agree to?

The complete terms and conditions are available here.

Technical Assistance

Am I considered a new applicant if I have received a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies in the past?

Yes. All prospective grantees are considered new to this program. You should only click on “Return to My Account” after you have created your login information.

When filling out the online application, will I be able to I save my work and return to it prior to submission?

Yes, you will be prompted to create a log in and password when you first enter the online application. This will allow you and others as needed to input the requested information prior to submitting the complete application. Please note that only one person can be logged in at any time.

I have forgotten my password for the online form. How may I retrieve it?

You can change your password at the prompt on the online form. If unable to do so, please email arts@bloomberg.org or call 212-205-0222. Please read all questions and answers before sending an inquiry to the Bloomberg Philanthropies staff. If you do not see your question answered here, please send an email to arts@bloomberg.org. The FAQs will be updated periodically to include relevant questions and answers.