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Bloomberg Philanthropies grants for street murals open for applications

Up to $25,000 in award money will fund projects in as many as 20 US cities

The street mural in Saginaw, Michigan, by the artist Stephen Hargash, with assistance from Tristan Zamora Photo: Nick Antaya

Applications have opened for the second edition of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiatives, a grant awarding up to $25,000 to as many as 20 US cities that will use the funds to create public art on roadways, pedestrian spaces, and street infrastructure like utility boxes and traffic barriers.The winning cities will be announced this autumn with the goal of completing their projects within a year.

The 16 inaugural winners, announced last June, include a street mural in Kansas City that was added to the four corners of a troublesome intersection, greatly increasing pedestrian safety by shortening the crossing distance and lowering vehicle speed. “Asphalt Art Projects can help cities rebuild from the pandemic by reinvigorating streets and making them safer, while also lifting spirits,” said Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor and founder of the eponymous philanthropic organisation, in a statement. “Vibrant public artwork and smarter street design can inspire residents, build relationships between artists and the community, and help cities recover stronger than before.” Project are also underway in cities in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Dakota, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Ohio, Nevada, New York, Iowa, and California.

Murals painted on the ground in areas trafficked by pedestrians and vehicles have gained popularity following the now iconic Black Lives Matter murals painted in cities such as Washington, DC and New York City in the wake of last summer’s protests. Murals on the ground have also recently been painted throughout the country to honor frontline workers as well as those lost to police violence.