Oct 04, 2021
26 U.S. Cities to Turn Asphalt Roads into Works of Art
Bloomberg Philanthropies has awarded grants to 26 U.S. cities as part of its 2022 Asphalt Art Initiative.
The Asphalt Art Initiative grant program is designed to fund visual art interventions on roadways, pedestrian spaces, and public infrastructure in U.S. cities with the goal of improving street and pedestrian safety, revitalizing and activating underutilized public space, and promoting collaboration and civic engagement in local communities.
Each city will be awarded up to $25,000 to install their projects in 2022-23, the organization says.
In 10 of the cities, the Asphalt Art Initiative will work on enhancing pedestrian and cyclist safety. These cities include Atlanta; Baltimore; Houston; Kansas City, Missouri; Long Beach, California; Memphis, Tennessee; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Louis; Tuscon, Arizona; and Wilmington, Delaware.
Seven of the cities aim to improve pedestrian plazas and public spaces, including Birmingham, Alabama; Denver; Detroit; Fairbanks, Alaska; Newark, New Jersey; Providence, Rhode Island; and Syracuse, New York.
Nine of the cities will add murals to intersections and crosswalks, including Billings, Montana; Chicago; East Providence, Rhode Island; Huntington, West Virginia; Kodiak, Arkansas; New Brunswick, New Jersey; Niagara Falls, New York; Starkville, Mississippi; and Tallahassee, Florida.
“Asphalt art projects help cities reclaim public spaces, make them brighter and safer and build community–all-important goals, especially amid the continuing hardships of the pandemic,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and a former New York City mayor, said in a statement. “Cities that tap into the power of public art bring new life and energy to city streets, inspiring residents and fostering a shared spirit of neighborhood pride. There can be real civic strength in public art, and this program helps cities capitalize on it.”
A previous Asphalt Art Initiative project in Kansas City, Missouri, reduced vehicle speeds by 45 percent, shortened pedestrian crossing distances by half, and reduced noise levels by 10 to 12 decibels, according to survey data from the city.
Bloomberg Philanthropies supported 16 Asphalt Art Initiative projects in 2020-2021, which you can see in the below pictures.