Asphalt is a smooth surface, thereby creating an amazing blank canvas for painting artwork. Bloomberg Philanthropies awarded up to $25,000 to 26 cities (each!) in early October 2021 for the creation of asphalt art projects. The intentions behind the grants are to improve street safety and revitalize local spaces through the creative artwork. Bloomberg Philanthropies states that the initiative “responds to a growing number of cities around the world embracing art as an effective and relatively low-cost strategy to activate their streets.” In 2020, 16 cites were announced with projects installed throughout 2020 and 2021. Winning projects from the October 2021 list will be installed in 2022 and 2023 and include safety improvements to pedestrian and cyclist areas, plaza and public space enrichments, and intersection and crosswalk murals. The Asphalt Art Initiative has implemented 12 projects this year, overhauled a combined 86,400 plus square feet of street space with artwork, and all with the creative input from about 170 artists and 5,000 residents.
In Kansas City, Missouri, the newly redesigned intersection saw immediate beneficial results. City leaders say that since the painting project vehicle speeds have reduced by 45%, with pedestrians reporting feeling about 40% safer at the intersection than they used to. In Reno, Nevada, the city took 18,000 square feet and designed a plaza for events and festivals. They were able to create this amazing space with the help of 300 volunteers painting for about a week. In Norfolk, Virginia, three project sites were selected based on traffic safety, police data, condition of the pavement area, local diversity, and interest among residents. The beautifully painted sites are intended to be event hubs with police officers attending to help build trusting relationships among members of the community and law enforcement. In Trenton, New Jersey, murals were painted along a newly installed bike rack at a popular transit center with the hopes of encouraging walking or biking to the bustling area. The murals have made the transit center much more welcoming for tourists and community members. Other cities planning to take part in this art project this year include Atlanta, Georgia; Billings, Montana; Detroit, Michigan; Fairbanks, Alaska; and Long Beach, California. If you plan to visit any of these areas any time soon, it will be worth a visit to see the murals and paintings around the area.
So far, no Utah city has received a grant, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be creative on our personal properties. Because asphalt is so smooth and clean, it can be a great backdrop to your creative outlets. If you’re interested in a unique way to use the asphalt at your business or at your home, making it an art space is a great idea. There’s proof in the numbers that art projects such as these can be a successful marketing tool and engages the community in new and unique ways. Before you start painting, make sure the asphalt is clean, level, damage free, and sealed correctly first. Renaissance Asphalt Services is your professional contact for any asphalt need.
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