Bloomberg Philanthropies

Eight New U.S. Cities to Receive Public Art Challenge Grants of Up to $1 Million

Winning projects in Atlanta, Baltimore, Honolulu, Houston, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City address a range of civic issues including public health, equity, climate change, and more

The Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge has spurred more than $100 million in economic benefits for cities since 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced the eight winning cities for the third Public Art Challenge, receiving grants of up to $1 million each for temporary public art projects that address an urgent civic issue. Selected cities will focus on challenges related to climate change, equity, food insecurity, gun violence, homelessness, public health, and revitalization. Along with the Public Art Challenge grant, each city will receive technical support from Bloomberg Philanthropies to execute their projects over the next two years. Participating artists include Derrick Adams and Juan William Chavez, with more to be selected in the coming months. The winning cities were announced at Bloomberg CityLab 2023 in Washington, D.C., the preeminent global cities summit held in partnership with the Aspen Institute. Since launching in 2014, the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge has spurred more than $100 million in economic benefits for participating cities and action across a range of civic issues.

“The arts have an incredible power to inspire creativity and spark collaboration on some of the most pressing urban challenges,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg L.P. and 108th Mayor of New York City. “These eight projects will help foster community action on issues like public health, climate change, homelessness, and more. We look forward to working with the winners as they bring their projects to life.” 

The eight winning cities for the latest edition of the Public Art Challenge are: 

Atlanta, GA – Thriving Together – Public Health: Thriving Together addresses healthcare disparities through large-scale installations, community dinners, a mobile art gallery, and a festival – all of which will be curated through the lens of racial equity in public health. 

Baltimore, MD – Inviting Light – Revitalization: Inviting Light is a Derrick Adams-led project to revitalize Station North, the City’s Arts District, with light installations and programming at five sites. The project grows out of extensive research and community consultation, which identified lighting as a central way of projecting safety and respect for residents and local businesses in a neighborhood that has suffered from petty crime and neglect.

Honolulu, HI – Wahi Pana (Storied Places) – Equity: Wahi Pana (Storied Places) proposes installations in a dozen key cultural destinations to share their little-known Indigenous history.

Houston, TX – HueMan: Shelter – Homelessness: HueMan: Shelter will disrupt perceptions of homelessness by developing nine installations along a main corridor in the Midtown Cultural Arts District through collaborations between professional artists and unsheltered individuals. 

Orlando, FL – Art Pollination – Food Insecurity: Art Pollination, led by artist Juan William Chavez, will engage artists and farmers to develop art installations that raise awareness about the lack of access to healthy food. 

Philadelphia, PA – Healing Verse Germantown Gun Violence: Healing Verse Germantown will invite neighborhood residents – from seniors to teenagers – to write poems through a series of workshops, which will then be incorporated into installations through broad partnerships with local businesses, nonprofits, and community organizations.

Phoenix, AZ – ¡Sombra! (Shade) – Climate Change: ¡Sombra! (Shade) will commission nine artists to create shading and cooling installations in response to extreme urban heat. 

Salt Lake City, UT – Wake the Great Salt LakeClimate Change: Wake the Great Salt Lake will commission public art installations in each of the seven city council districts, and installations on the border of the Lake, responding to the persistent drought that threatens to dry out the Lake in the next decade.

“These projects were selected for their compelling creativity and commitment to serving their communities,” said Kate D. Levin, who leads the Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Program. “We look forward to supporting these teams as they bring their visionary projects to life over the next two years.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies grants will cover project-related expenditures including development, execution, and marketing. Bloomberg Philanthropies will not fund 100 percent of the total project costs as the grant is intended to provide catalytic funds as part of a strong, committed group of supporters for each project.

About the Public Art Challenge

In November 2022, Bloomberg Philanthropies invited mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more to submit proposals for projects that celebrate creativity, catalyze public-private collaborations, and strengthen local economies. 

More than 150 cities from 40 U.S. states applied, with proposals reflecting a wide range of creative expression to address pressing civic issues including urban revitalization, environmental sustainability, and equity. Seventeen finalist cities were announced in June 2023.

Submissions were evaluated on a number of factors, including their potential viability as dynamic public art projects, impact on civic issues, community engagement strategies, and capacity to establish or strengthen public-private partnerships.

Previously, Bloomberg Philanthropies awarded Public Art Challenge grants to five cities in 2018 as part of the initiative’s second round, catalyzing more than $100 million in economic benefit for local economies and illuminating civic issues including climate change, neighborhood blight, healing after gun violence, and a commemoration of the centennial of Greenwood’s 1921 Black Wall Street Massacre. 

The first round of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge launched in 2014. Projects that were awarded Public Art Challenge grants in 2015 drew more than 10 million visitors across four projects involving six cities and spurred civic leaders and residents, as well as local nonprofits and businesses, to work together to advance solutions to critical urban challenges such as abandoned properties, environmental sustainability, community-police relations, and creative-sector economic development.

More information about the Public Art Challenge can be found on


Photos and Videos for Press Use:
Photos and videos of projects developed as part of the 2018 Public Art Challenge are available for use here. All the images provided are free to use and downloadable, credit Bloomberg Philanthropies.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 700 cities and 150 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: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2022, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.7 billion. For more information, please visit, sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 

Media Contact:
Rebecca Carriero, Bloomberg Philanthropies, or +1 (212) 205-0182

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