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Houston Selected as Finalist for Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge

Bloomberg Philanthropies Art Photo

Wild Wonderland mosaic mural on display at Midtown Park in Midtown Houston

July 7, 2023 -- Bloomberg Philanthropies recently announced that Houston has been chosen as one of the 17 finalist cities to receive grants of up to $1 million each as part of the prestigious Public Art Challenge. This program, launched in 2014, supports temporary public art projects that address urgent civic issues.

Out of over 150 cities across 40 U.S. states that applied, Houston stood out with its proposal for HueMan: Shelter, a groundbreaking public art effort designed to disrupt perceptions of homelessness. The project aims to bring together artists and unsheltered individuals to create visual stories from their lived experiences. It includes the activation of nine sites for public artworks along a main street corridor in Midtown Houston.

"We're thrilled to be selected as a finalist for the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. "HueMan: Shelter is an innovative project that will not only transform our city's landscape but also foster empathy and understanding for our unsheltered community members. We're excited about the opportunity to showcase Houston's vibrant creative scene and make a positive impact in the lives of our vulnerable populations."

HueMan: Shelter is a collaborative concept steered by the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, the Midtown Houston Cultural Arts and Entertainment District in partnership with The City of Houston, the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston, the Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. and METRO Houston. The selected finalists cover a range of urgent civic issues such as urban revitalization, environmental sustainability, and equity.

“Public art provides a creative way to bring communities together, strengthen local economies, and make cities more inspiring and dynamic,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th mayor of New York City. “This year’s proposals show that public art, and the partnerships they forge between artists and local governments, is stronger than ever.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies will select up to 10 winners from among the 17 finalists in fall 2023 to execute their projects over the next two years. The philanthropy's support will be part of a consortium of funders dedicated to the selected cities. While the grants cover project-related expenditures, including development, execution, and marketing, they will not fund 100 percent of the total project costs.

The Public Art Challenge has a proven record of success. The 2018 round of the Challenge, awarded to five cities, catalyzed more than $100 million in economic benefit for local economies and shed light on critical civic issues. It resulted in projects addressing climate change, neighborhood blight, healing after gun violence, and commemorating the centennial of Greenwood's 1921 Black Wall Street Massacre.

Houston's recognition as a finalist in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge is a testament to the city's commitment to the arts, innovation, and Midtown Houston’s continued work curating public art that addresses social issues. The city eagerly awaits the announcement of the winners in fall 2023.

For more information and to schedule interviews, contact Ashley Small at 281-827-3419 or