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Asphalt Art Initiative

Helping cities use art and community engagement to improve street safety and revitalize public space.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiative responds to the growing number of cities around the world embracing art as an effective and relatively low-cost strategy to activate their streets.

While cities incorporate art into public spaces in a variety of ways, the focus of this initiative is what we’re calling asphalt art: visual interventions on roadways (intersections and crosswalks), pedestrian spaces (plazas and sidewalks), and vertical infrastructure (utility boxes, traffic barriers and underpasses).

The Guide

In October 2019, we released the Asphalt Art Guide, produced by our pro bono consulting arm, Bloomberg Associates. The Guide features over two dozen case studies highlighting successful plaza and roadway art activations around the world, and a how-to section for cities interested in undertaking their own projects.

Butterfly mural in Asheville, NC, by Sound Mind Creative. Photo by Justin Mitchell.
Butterfly mural in Asheville, NC, by Sound Mind Creative. Photo by Justin Mitchell.
Colorful Horizon installation in Toronto, Canada, by Yasaman Mehrsa. Photo by Jocelyn Reynolds.
Colorful Horizon installation in Toronto, Canada, by Yasaman Mehrsa. Photo by Jocelyn Reynolds.

Grants

Alongside the publication of the Guide, we launched a new, competitive opportunity for 10 small and mid-sized American cities to receive up to $25,000 each to implement their own arts-driven transportation projects. The application is open to U.S. cities with populations of 30,000-500,000. The deadline to apply is 5pm EST on Thursday, December 12, 2019.