Bloomberg Philanthropies recently announced a new program that will encourage U.S. cities to take on public art projects. The New York Times reported the organization’s “Public Arts funding Challenge” will give up to one million dollars to as many as three cities over two years to develop art projects for the public.
The projects are meant to enhance city life, according to the initiative’s website. The funding will be available to any U.S. city or territory with more than 30,000 residents. According to Bloomberg Philanthropies, multiple cities can also apply for the grants together if one city serves a lead applicant. The goal of the grants is not to pay for the projects entirely, but to catalyze public art initiatives so they can eventually gain broader support. Funding can be used for anything from artist fees, design team outlays or administrative overhead. All types of artistic disciplines will be considered for the grants. The applications are due in mid-December and recipients will be unveiled in May of 2015.
Government support for the arts has been waning over the past decade, according to a report from Grantmakers in the Arts cited by The New York Times. Government funding for arts initiatives has decreased more than 30 percent between 1992 and 2013.
Public art projects can provide great benefit to city residents and improve the well-being of urban dwellers. Funding such projects is a great way to generate long term interest in the arts and propel future innovation. With the right grant management platform, foundations with an interest in the arts can more effectively deliver funding that can boost various art forms in the public arena and create greater sustainability for these projects. Especially during a time when arts organizations can’t always rely on public funding, foundations can step up their giving as Bloomberg Philanthropies has done.