Grant Opportunities

$25,000 Grants available under Asphalt Art Initiative Grant Program

$25,000 Grants available under Asphalt Art Initiative Grant Program

Deadline: 12-Jun-23

Bloomberg Philanthropies is inviting cities of any size in Canada, Mexico, and the United States to apply for a chance to receive $25,000 grants through the Asphalt Art Initiative.

The Asphalt Art Initiative grant program is designed to fund visual art on roadways, pedestrian spaces, and public infrastructure in cities. Typically, the projects are painted murals, organized in collaboration between city governments and local communities, with the following primary goals:

  • Improving street and pedestrian safety
  • Revitalizing and activating underutilized public space
  • Promoting collaboration and civic engagement in local communities

Winning cities are expected to be announced in fall 2023 for projects installing during calendar year 2024.

Funding Information
  • The program will award up to 20 cities grants of up to $25,000 each, as well as on-call technical assistance from the tactical urbanism firm Street Plans.

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 should be on or adjacent to active roadways, and may include crosswalks, intersections, vehicle/parking lanes, pedestrian plazas, sidewalks, or highway underpasses. Sites should have the potential for active pedestrian usage, so that the artwork can have maximum impact. 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 (e.g., a single artwork application with plans to eventually remove faded paint) or they may be longer term with plans for repair/reapplication or a planned/proposed capital construction. All proposals must include an appropriate plan for maintenance of the artwork for the duration of its installation, as well as a plan for repair, removal, or replacement when the artwork begins to age.
  • Goals & Metrics: A critical component of the Asphalt Art Initiative is to identify priority goals for each project and to make a plan for collecting metrics to determine how successful the project is at meeting those goals. Improving road safety, especially for pedestrians and cyclists, must be a component of all proposals. Goals and metrics may differ from project to project, but proposals with clear safety-related goals will be prioritized. See their List of Common Metrics for reference.
  • 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, particularly from the engineering or transportation department (e.g., permitting, repaving, engineering drawings, signs and markings, planters or traffic barriers, traffic control during installation, and/or 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.
Eligibility Criteria
  • This grant program is open to all cities in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Each city may only submit one application; multiple applications from one city will not be considered.
  • The Project Team may include various collaborative partners, such as city government agencies, nonprofit community or arts organizations, and/or individual artists or consultants. The Project Team must include a Lead City Agency, which is the primary government agency with oversight of the project (e.g., Department of Transportation, Cultural Affairs, or other appropriate agency). If the Lead City Agency is not the government agency with jurisdiction over city streets, then that agency must be a part of the Project Team.
  • If selected, the Lead City Agency will be required to select a fiscal sponsor to receive the funds directly. The fiscal sponsor should be a charitable organizations that is a 501(c)3 Public Charity (or an equivalent entity in Canada or Mexico).
  • In addition, each application must identify which entity or individual is responsible for project management (day-to-day coordination and implementation) and which is responsible for artistic direction (selection of artist/design, etc.). They understand that each Project Team is unique, so please do your best to represent the makeup of your team.

Selection Criteria

  • Competitive proposals must clearly demonstrate:
    • Impact
      • The project addresses a relevant and meaningful challenge faced by the identified site, the surrounding neighborhood, or the city (e.g., traffic safety, underutilized public space, neighborhood blight, etc.), with a particular emphasis on road safety for pedestrians and/or cyclists.
      • 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 proposed intervention is consistent with the project’s stated goal(s) and has appropriate metrics to determine success.
      • The proposed project clearly benefits the local community and engages residents/stakeholders in its planning, development, and/or 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, through existing partnerships or a thoughtful outreach/engagement plan.
      • The proposed budget, timeline, and maintenance plan are realistic and demonstrate notable in-kind city support.
    • Quality & Visual Interest
      • The process for artist selection and design development is well-defined and appropriate for the proposed project, 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 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.

For more information, visit Asphalt Art Initiative.

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