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Spartanburg named finalist in Bloomberg Public Art Challenge

Thursday, March 5

City selected as finalist for up to $1 million for light installations on city-owned public spaces to coincide with National Night Out


Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced that Spartanburg 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. Spartanburg, along with 11 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.

Proposals cover a range of areas and 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. Other finalists include Albany, Schenectady and Troy, NY; Albuquerque, NM; Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Des Moines, IA; Gary, IN.; Grand Rapids, MI; Hartford, CT; Los Angeles, CA; and Maplewood, MN.

Spartanburg’s proposed project is titled “Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light: Addressing Crime through Creative Partnerships.” The project proposes temporary light installations on city-owned public spaces in up to seven neighborhoods to coincide with National Night Out, an annual event that promotes crime prevention efforts, police-community partnership and neighborhood camaraderie. Artist Erwin Redl plans to collaborate with the City’s Police and Fire departments, and neighborhood associations selected through a competitive process, to develop and design light installations that would transform open spaces and create safer and more vibrant neighborhoods.

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.

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. In 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $462 million. For more information on the philanthropy, please visit


Tagged: Bloomberg Phlanthropies, National Night Out, public art, Public Art Challenge