The Arts

Harnessing the Transformative Power of the Arts

The Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts program supports artists, organizations, and audiences to bolster cultural infrastructure that is critical to the health and vibrancy of cities. The Arts Innovation and Management program is helping more than 260 cultural institutions improve their marketing, fundraising, and board engagement. Bloomberg Connects helps cultural organizations develop dynamic and interactive digital tools to improve the visitor experience, as well as increase access to, and expand audiences for, the arts. And, with the Public Art Challenge, Bloomberg Philanthropies supports temporary public art projects that enhance urban identity and catalyze economic development in communities across the United States.

As Mayor of Gary, Indiana, I believe that public art—combined with design, community engagement, and private and government investment—can transform the way we imagine a city. This perspective is especially crucial as we continue to think of new ways to rebuild 
our city as a destination.
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson
City of Gary, Indiana

Revitalizing Cities by Integrating Art in Urban Planning

The Public Art Challenge

Rendering of 2015 Public Art Challenge winning project, Breathing Lights, a joint collaboration between Albany, Troy and Schenectady, NY

Bringing mayors and artists together to develop public art projects that spur economic activity, strengthen identity, and enrich city life

Through our strategic investments, our arts program is working to highlight the potential of artists 
to act as civic partners. That’s why Bloomberg Philanthropies launched the Public Art Challenge, which supports temporary public art projects that engage communities and enrich the vibrancy of city life.

  • 237 cities applied to be part of the Public Art Challenge.
  • The winners—Albany, Schenectady, and Troy, New York (a collaborative project); Gary, Indiana; Los Angeles, California; and Spartanburg, South Carolina—have received grants of up to $1 million.
  • The selected projects address pressing civic priorities such as revitalizing decayed downtown areas, underutilized waterfronts, and vacant neighborhoods 
and cover a range of issues, including neighborhood safety, environmental sustainability, workforce development, and civic identity.
Rendering of 2015 Public Art Challenge winning project, Art House Gary, from Gary, IN
Rendering of 2015 Public Art Challenge winning project, Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light, from Spartanburg, SC
Rendering of 2015 Public Art Challenge winning project, CURRENT LA: Water, from Los Angeles, CA

Strengthening More Than 260 Cultural Institutions Across the United States

The Arts Innovation and Management Program

Dallas Film Society, a participant in Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Innovation & Management program, poses with their 2015 Summer Film Camp

Providing small- to medium-sized cultural institutions with specialized skills training and tools to help them expand their ideas, tactics, operations, and impact

Small- to medium-sized cultural organizations are central to our nation’s creative ecology and are the lifeblood of local communities. These cultural organizations engage residents, promote social cohesion, and are major contributors to a city’s economy, identity, and quality of life. To bolster the potential of cultural organizations, Bloomberg Philanthropies expanded our Arts Innovation and Management program in 2015 from New York City to six new cities.

  • More than 260 nonprofit cultural institutions in six cities across the United States: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, will benefit from intensive training sessions led by the DeVos Institute of Arts Management to equip them with the tools they need to move toward achieving their fundraising, audience development, and marketing goals, all while building stronger cultural networks in each city.
  • The program supports a diverse range of cultural institutions, including local cultural centers and performing, literary, and visual arts organizations that present music, film, dance, poetry, and other art forms.
  • The grantees contribute to a thriving and robust arts community in each city, collectively serving more than 10 million residents.
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, a grantee of our Arts Innovation & Management program, performs in Hilo, HI

Our Impact


arts organizations in 6 cities supported by Arts Innovation and Management program

Breaking Down Barriers to the Arts

Bloomberg Connects

Increasing access to the arts and helping cultural institutions engage audiences through digital technology

Bloomberg Philanthropies is helping cultural organizations engage participatory audiences, increase access to the arts, and stay current through the development of innovative digital platforms.

Through interactive touch screens and immersion rooms, specially designed apps with rich content as well as growing digital staffs to serve as connectors and innovators, Bloomberg Connects grantees are expanding the role of technology to become part of the core operations of cultural institutions, working side by side with senior leadership, curators, and education and development departments.

The Bloomberg Connects program works with 15 major cultural institutions worldwide, providing access for a broader audience to explore, share, and ultimately engage directly with everything that these institutions have to offer.

Participating museums and projects include: