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City Looks For Artists for Share of $1 Million Grant

The city of Pittsburgh is hoping to team up with some local artists to land a share of $1 million being offered by Bloomberg Philanthropies to enhance the public art offerings in larger cities.

Morton Brown, the public art manager for Pittsburgh says the city has long been searching for a way to join the community and local artists in one collective project, and the Bloomberg grant presents the perfect opportunity.

“We take this very serious we have been trying here at the city to develop a fair and open process to select a partner, so what we have actually done this time is made a partner application,” said Brown.

A request for artist partnership proposals has been let and the city has put formed a review committee including representatives from the Mayor’s Office, City Planning, and the Art Commission. Applications will be evaluated on innovation, positive impact, budget, partnership, marketing and commitment to outcome.

The funds must be used to create a temporary art space in a neighborhood.

“Temporary art, I think, is wonderful because we can give more artists an opportunity to exhibit," Brown said. "It’s fresh, it’s new and can enliven spaces in ways that nothing else can.”

The city’s final decision must be made in time to submit a proposal to Bloomberg by Dec. 15.

“They really gave us about two months to pull this together its required us to move really quickly to select the partner, so we are running really fast because we all believe in this opportunity, and we think it’s very much in alignment with our goals for the city,” said Brown, who hopes the time constraints will not deter applicants from submitting a proposal.

Brown said all forms of public art will be considered — including social engagement, dance, theater, sculptures and traditional visual art installations.

The city’s hope is to work in a neighborhood that is currently underserved in terms of public art and art programming.

Brown says there is no better way to showcase Pittsburgh than through art.

“On the first glance, art beatifies the city, but it does much more than that," Brown said. "It really tells visitors and residence alike who the city is, what our culture is, and what we care about.”

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