In February, Bloomberg Philanthropies invited mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more to submit proposals for temporary public art projects. St. Louis, along with 13 other cities, has been selected as a finalist to submit a full proposal.
If chosen, St. Louis will receive up to $1 million as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, a program that aims to foster creative collaboration, address civic issues, and support local economies through public art.
Proposals received from cities across the country address a range of pressing issues and social themes such as environmental sustainability, immigration, national disaster recovery, and cultural identity.Additionally, the proposals reflect a diverse use of artistic mediums including augmented reality, light installations, murals, and performances.
Mayor Lyda Krewson provided strong support for the project which competed against more than 200 cities for its finalist position.
“We are thrilled to be selected as a finalist for the 2018 Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge,” said St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson. “The proposed project, ‘Facing Mill Creek Valley,’ presents a powerful opportunity for St. Louisans to learn from our own history – through public art – and use those lessons as we plan our urban spaces in the future.”
The City of St Louis proposes “Facing Mill Creek Valley,” a public art project that will address the issue of displacement. The project will explore the legacy of Mill Creek Valley, a predominantly African American neighborhood established in the late 19 th Century and razed in the 1950s and 60s to make way for the construction of a freeway. Artists will engage with local historians, community leaders and historical materials to create artworks as part of the Choteau Greenway project, a newly developed pedestrian corridor.
The St. Louis proposal is a result of a collective effort led by the City of St. Louis in partnership with several organizations including Great Rivers Greenway, the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis, The Griot Museum of Black History and Culture, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and others. Felicia Shaw, executive director of the Regional Arts Commission and one of the collaborators is equally excited about the prospects for St. Louis and the potential impact of the project on the community.
“Facing Mill Creek Valley” invites St. Louisans to examine what is lost when thousands of people are displaced in the name of progress. Engaging local artists and connecting the exhibition to the Choteau Greenway project will help leverage this opportunity to make an even greater impact on ourcommunity,” Shaw said.
Bloomberg Philanthropies will select at least three winners from among these 14 finalists in the fall to execute their projects over a maximum of 24 months. The grant is intended to provide catalytic funds as part of a strong, committed consortium of supporters. As such, the Bloomberg Philanthropies grants will cover project-related expenditures including development, execution, and marketing, but will not fund 100 percent of the total project costs.