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Albuquerque Selected as a Finalist in the Running to Receive Up to $1 Million from Bloomberg Philanthropies for Public Art that Addresses Civic Topics

237 U.S. Cities Applied from 45 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico

Albuquerque – Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced that Albuquerque has been selected as a finalist in the running to receive up to $1 million as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, a new program aimed at supporting temporary public art projects that engage communities, enhance creativity, and enrich the vibrancy of cities. Albuquerque, along with eleven other cities, has been invited to submit a full proposal.

In late 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies invited mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more to submit proposals for innovative temporary public art projects that address a civic concern, and demonstrate close collaboration between artists or arts organizations and city government. More than 230 cities submitted proposals for consideration in the Public Art Challenge, representing 68 million residents across the United States.

Proposals cover a range of areas, including revitalization of decayed downtown areas, underutilized waterfronts, and vacant neighborhoods. They also address other social themes including civil rights, neighborhood safety, environmental sustainability, and promoting city identity.  Submissions were evaluated on their potential viability as dynamic public art projects, capacity to establish or strengthen public-private partnerships, inclusion of strong audience engagement strategies, and commitment to evaluating outcomes and impact on the host city.

"I am excited Albuquerque is in the running to receive philanthropic dollars to support this public art project," said Mayor Richard Berry. "Albuquerque is a vibrant community, rich in culture and creativity, whose inspiring works of art will reinvigorate the historic stretch of Route 66 within the city."

The City of Albuquerque proposes to commission artwork for 20 unused, uniquely-designed, vintage road sign frames located in empty lots and alongside vacant businesses on Route 66. The city plans to issue a national RFP for artists to create site-specific installations for many of these “orphan signs.” As part of the project, two local non-profit arts organizations, Working Classroom and Friends of the Orphan Signs, will engage youth and local artists in transforming several of the signs and enlivening the barren spaces they occupy through art interventions.

Cities of all sizes applied: nearly 50% of the 237 submissions were from cities with populations between 30,000 and 100,000, 38% had populations between 100,000 and 500,000, and 13% of the applicant cities had over 500,000 residents. A variety of artistic disciplines were represented amongst the applications: 61% of the proposed public art projects involved visual art, 19% combined multiple disciplines, 17% featured digital media, and 3% were performing art projects.

The Public Art Challenge grant will cover development, execution and project related expenditures but will not fund 100% of project costs. The grant is intended to provide catalytic funds as part of a strong, committed consortium of supporters. At least three winning cities will be selected in May to execute their projects over a maximum of 24 months. More information about the Public Art Challenge can be found on http://www.bloomberg.org/program/arts/public-art-challenge/.

 

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About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation and the Arts. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $462 million. For more information on the philanthropy, please visit bloomberg.org or follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.