Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg recently received a significant grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to execute a public art project with a purpose as part of Bloomberg’s Public Art Challenge. Spartanburg, SC was selected along with 3 other cities from an applicant pool of 237 to receive up to $1 million for their project ideas proposing “innovative temporary public art projects that address a civic issue, and demonstrate close collaboration between artists or arts organizations and city governments.”

The grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies will not cover all costs associated with the project, but has been developed as a catalyst to increase further arts and business support within the Spartanburg community, which is already strong due to the activity of its United Arts Fund. The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg recently reached its 2014-2015 campaign goal of $840,000; this project aims to draw greater attention to the positive impact the arts have on the community.

The project proposed to Bloomberg Philanthropies, Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light, will include temporary art installations in five specific neighborhoods, aiming to decrease crime and build safer and more vibrant neighborhoods. The artists Erwin Redl was chosen to work with the Spartanburg police and fire departments as well as neighborhood associations to bring the project to life. LED light installations will be designed and developed to transform and illuminate the selected spaces. The pieces will be housed on city-owned areas and will be in conjunction with National Night Out, an annual event promoting prevention of crime, police-community partnerships, and neighborhood camaraderie.

In regards to the Public Art Challenge, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, Michael R. Bloomberg stated, “Great public art strengthens cities by making them more exciting and attractive places to live, work, and visit. Public art can also help us to see urban challenges in a new light—and imagine new solutions. All of the winning projects are excellent examples of this, and each can have a lasting impact.”