Skip to main content

Supporting pilot projects to demonstrate the impact of these low-cost activations and encourage cities to develop their own processes for implementing effective asphalt art projects.

The Asphalt Art Initiative grant program is designed to fund visual art interventions on roadways, pedestrian spaces, and public infrastructure in small- and medium-sized U.S. cities (with populations of 30,000-500,000) with the goal of:

  • Improving street and pedestrian safety
  • Revitalizing and beautifying underutilized public space
  • Promoting collaboration and civic engagement in local communities
Boston Underground
Cranes in the Sky mural in Boston, MA, by Marka27. Photo by National Development.

The program will award ten (10) cities grants of up to $25,000 each. Each grant must be used to design and implement at least one project in the applicant city during calendar year 2020.

Please refer to the Bloomberg Associates guide, Asphalt Art Guide, to gather inspiration from successful asphalt art projects in cities around the world. The Guide includes detailed guidance and best practices for implementing similar projects, with cost- and time-saving advice on every step of the project, from site selection to implementation and maintenance.

Eligible applicants

Cities with populations between 30,000 and 500,000 are welcome to apply. Only one application per city will be accepted.

Each application’s Project Team must include:

  • Lead Applicant: City agency responsible for advancing necessary permitting and oversight of the site and installation (e.g., Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works, or other appropriate agency)
  • Fiscal Agent: An organization with 501(c)3 nonprofit status that can receive the grant funds and be responsible for managing the distribution and procurement required.

In addition, each application must identify which entity or individual is responsible for the below functions. Each of these functions may be fulfilled by the Lead Applicant or Fiscal Agent, or by an additional entity (city agency, nonprofit community or arts organization, or individual artist or consultant) that are part of the Project Team. We understand that each Project Team is unique, so please do your best to represent the makeup of your team.

  • Project Management: Responsibility for the day-to-day management and implementation of the project, as well as ensuring smooth communication and collaboration between government agencies, community organizations, and individual volunteers
  • Creative Vision: Responsibility for the creative vision of the project. This function may be fulfilled by a specified artist/designer if they have already been selected, or by a team member responsible for overseeing artist selection.

Eligible Projects

Site

Each application must have a site identified for the proposed asphalt art project (or sites, if multiple are feasible within the budget). Eligible sites can include portions of active roadways, sidewalks, pedestrian plazas, or transportation infrastructure such as traffic barriers, highway underpasses, or utility boxes. Sites may be located in and managed by one or multiple jurisdictions (city, state or county, public utility, regional transit authority, etc.) but must be largely or completely on public property and be fully open to the public. See page 71 in the Asphalt Art Guide for considerations when selecting a site.

Duration

Proposed projects may be temporary (lasting for just a few months), long-term (lasting over 12 months), or permanent. All projects should include an appropriate plan for maintenance of the art for the duration of its installation. Projects with a defined end date should include a plan for removal.

Budget

Each application must include a proposed budget outlining how the grant will be expended. Competitive proposals will include in-kind support from the municipality (e.g. permitting, repaving, installing planters or traffic barriers, or long-term maintenance). Proposals may also make use of additional funding or in-kind support from outside sources, if applicable.

Content

Funded projects cannot include obscenity, hate speech, political messages, religious content, commercial advertisements, or depict illegal activity.

Selection Criteria

Competitive proposals must clearly demonstrate:

Impact

  • The project addresses a challenge faced by the identified site, the surrounding neighborhood, or the city (e.g. traffic safety, underutilized public space, neighborhood blight, etc.).
  • The characteristics of the chosen site (e.g. physical layout, traffic or pedestrian volume, neighborhood context) are such that an intervention of this nature has a high likelihood of success.
  • The project engages the local community in its planning, development, and execution.

Viability

  • The project team and partners have the necessary authority and expertise to oversee a project of this nature.
  • The project has demonstrated support from city and community stakeholders.
  • The proposed budget is realistic and demonstrates adequate in-kind city support.
  • The proposed timeline is feasible.

Quality & Visual Interest

  • The process for artist selection and design development is well-defined and will be overseen by someone with appropriate expertise.
  • If the artist has already been selected, the chosen artist has demonstrated creative skill and the potential to develop a high quality and visually compelling design.
  • The surface being painted is in good repair or there is a reasonable plan to repave or otherwise treat it to be receptive to the chosen materials.

Dates & Deadlines

October 28, 2019

Asphalt Art Initiative launched

December 12, 2019

Application deadline

Spring 2020

Winners announced