IMG_1528-rainbow light blades, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Keith Simmons’ photostream

PITTSBURGH, PA, (OCTOBER 22, 2014)– The City of Pittsburgh is pleased to announce that it has been invited to apply for the newly announced Public Art Challenge Grant, offered by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Announced by Bloomberg Philanthropies on October 13th, 2014, the grant allows mayors of municipalities with populations of more than 30,000 to apply as lead applicant, with an artist or arts organization as a partner. To this end, the City of Pittsburgh is offering a Partner Application, and is requesting that all interested artists and arts organizations that wish to partner with the City of Pittsburgh on this grant opportunity please utilize this application document in order to make such a request.

The City of Pittsburgh will receive all requests for partnership via this Partner Application and a selection committee comprised of representatives from the Mayor’s Office, City Planning, and Art Commission will review all applications and make a final selection of a partner — or partners — based upon criteria listed below. Once a partner or partners is selected, the City will submit a grant application to Bloomberg Philanthropies/Public Art Challenge by its December 15th, 2014 due date.

“Public Art is vital to any community, but there is no other greater City in the U.S. than Pittsburgh when it comes to having a vibrant and enduring climate for artists and public art to thrive. I am calling on our arts communities to come work with us on this exciting opportunity,” Mayor William Peduto said.

Ray Gastil, Director of City Planning, said “Compelling public art allows visitors and residents to see a city in new ways. We have high hopes for this grant opportunity and the temporary art projects it will avail.”

Selection Criteria for the grant includes:

  • Excellent, innovative (temporary) public art project(s)
  • Potential for positive impact on the city (its neighborhoods, and region)
  • 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/city residents engagement strategy
  • Commitment to evaluating outcomes

Successful projects will:

  • Bring people together to experience public places in dynamic and transformative ways
  • Demonstrate close collaboration between artists, arts organizations and cities
  • Establish robust public-private partnerships between local government and other funders

Please note: the above criteria are verbatim from the Public Art Challenge Grant criteria, save those caveats provided in parenthesis.


  • Deadline for City of Pittsburgh partnership application: November 14th, 2014
  • Notification of partner selection by City: December 1st, 2014
  • Public Art Challenge application deadline: December 15th, 2014

All Partner Applications are due via email or disk on November 14th, 2014, by 4:00 PM (EST).

Interested persons may go here for a link to the application document, or request such by emailing Morton Brown, the city’s public art manager at

The City of Pittsburgh encourages all artists and arts organizations to apply. All forms of public art and artists will be considered — including, but not limited to, social engagement, dance, theatre, performance, sculpture, earthworks, etc. A strong emphasis of the City is to see that its neighborhoods are served — especially those neighborhoods that are currently underserved in terms of public art and arts programming.

The City seeks proposals from partners that provide the highest potential for quality and most feasible temporary public art projects, while also reaching the widest audiences of our residents and visitors. Community engagement and accessibility are key goals of the City, and this grant opportunity.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge

Bloomberg Philanthropies is launching a new program to support temporary public art projects that engage communities, enhance creativity and enrich the vibrancy of cities. Bloomberg Philanthropies is inviting mayors in cities with 30,000 residents or more to submit proposals for innovative temporary public art projects that demonstrate close collaboration between artists, or arts organizations and city government. At least three cities will be selected to receive up to $1 million each over two years.

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 2013, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $452 million.