Santa Rosa one of 14 US cities named as finalists for $350,000 Bloomberg art grants

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Santa Rosa is a finalist for a major national public art grant that would encourage artists to explore issues related to the October wildfires.

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced Wednesday that Santa Rosa was one of 14 cities invited to make a full proposal to the organization’s Public Art Challenge. More than 200 cities applied.

Santa Rosa requested $350,000 to fund a nine-month residency program allowing artists to explore the concept of home and resiliency.

“It is an honor for our city to be considered as a finalist for this prestigious public art opportunity,” Mayor Chris Coursey said in a statement “As we work toward recovery from the wildfires that devastated areas of Santa Rosa last October, now more than ever, our community could benefit from creative outlets that help with the healing process. This opportunity has the potential to bring deep and lasting value to our city.”

In February, the organization founded by former New York mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg invited mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more to submit proposals for temporary public art projects. The works are meant to address important civic issues, demonstrate an ability to generate public-private collaborations, celebrate creativity and urban identity, and strengthen local economies, according to the city.

If successful, Santa Rosa would pick four artists to be embedded in city departments: the Office of Community Engagement, Housing & Community Services, Planning & Economic Development, and Recreation & Parks.

Artists would have access to historical archives, community programs and gallery space through a partnership with the Museums of Sonoma County. The residency would conclude with a public art exhibition and installations.

“I am really looking forward to the opportunity to work on this project, should we be selected as a grantee,” said Tara Thompson, arts coordinator for the City of Santa Rosa. “Engaging artists to work within the government structure can be a symbiotic relationship where the artists can create a community-based project.”

Staff Writer Dan Taylor contributed to this story. You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 707-521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @srcitybeat.

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