Houston scores $1M grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies for Midtown public art project
Houston just scored a million-dollars win — for public art. Bloomberg Philanthropies set a challenge for cities to create temporary public art projects that address important civic issues in cities across the country, and Houston rose to that remarkable challenge with “HueMan: Shelter,” a public art program that will help enrich lives and change perspectives.
The million-dollar, innovative project will support art-making through collaborations between artists and unsheltered individuals while producing new public art for all Houstonians.
Out of 154 cities across 40 states to apply, Houston become one of only eight cites to receive a $1 million grant that will help support the project over the next two years. The collaborative nature of the proposal and its focus on such a critical issue across the nation helped to highlight the potential of “HueMan: Shelter” during the selection process.
“These projects were selected for their compelling creativity and commitment to serving their communities,” said Kate D. Levin, who leads the Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Program. “We look forward to supporting these teams as they bring their visionary projects to life over the next two years.”
Houston’s winning proposal makes plans for an art program that will “disrupt perceptions of homelessness by developing nine installations along a main corridor in the Midtown Cultural Arts District through collaborations between professional artists and unsheltered individuals.”
The $1 million grant will reach a long way over two years as it covers the expenses related to the project's development, artist budgets, installation execution, and documentation. As the project moves forward, local artists will be selected via an open call to work with unsheltered Houstonians whose life experiences will influence this visual storytelling project.
Bloomberg Philanthropies previous Public Art Challenge grants to five cities in 2018 helped catalyze more than $100 million in economic benefit for those local economies.
"Houston has emerged as a pioneer city in implementing thoughtful strategies to address homelessness,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stated on news of the Public Art Challenge winners announcement. “This generous grant enables us to further prioritize the needs of unsheltered individuals while also reminding the public about our interconnectedness and the importance of meeting everyone's basic needs through creative efforts. We all deserve to be seen, heard, and validated.”
Setting the collaborative nature of “HueMan: Shelter” many city organizations will join together to see its fruition, including the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and the Midtown Houston Cultural Arts and Entertainment District in partnership with the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston, the Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. and METRO Houston.