Black Wall Stret Mural (copy)

A Black Wall Street mural covers part of I-244 outside the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa, Okla., on Friday, June 1, 2018. The city of Tulsa is one of 14 finalists in the 2018 Public Art Challenge, a nationwide competition. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World file

Correction: This story originally misstated which organization selected Tulsa to receive the Engaged Cities Award. Tulsa was one of three cities worldwide to receive the award from Cities of Service. The story has been updated.

The city of Tulsa is one of 14 finalists in the 2018 Public Art Challenge, a nationwide competition funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies foundation.

More than 200 cities applied for the grant program this year. The winners will be announced in the fall, with at least three cities to be award up to $1 million each.

Tulsa’s public art proposal is called “Reclaiming History through Public Art: Greenwood Art Project.”

If Tulsa receives a grant, Rick Lowe would lead a team of artists in creating a project that celebrates the Black Wall Street neighborhood and helps visitors understand its rich history.

“As the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre approaches, we want to partner with community stakeholders and engaged citizens to tell the story of Black Wall Street,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said in a news release. “As a reminder of the dangers of hatred, the power of resilience, and the importance of reconciliation, it is a story that needs to be known far beyond the reaches of Tulsa.”

The Public Art Challenge is intended to help inspire collaboration, address civic issues, celebrate creativity and strengthen local economies. The program was established in 2014. Since that time, more than 400 cities have applied for grants.

Other finalists this year include Anchorage, Alaska; Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Camden, New Jersey; Coral Springs, Florida; EL Paso, Texas; Holyoke, Massachusetts; Honolulu; Jackson, Mississippi; Miami-Dade County, Florida; Santa Rosa, California; Seattle; and St. Louis.

Bloomberg Philanthropies was established by businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“This year’s proposals focus on critical issues facing our country in exciting and creative ways,” Bloomberg said in a news release. “The Public Art Challenge helps to highlight the role that public art plays in provoking conversation, supporting collaboration, and building strong communities, and we’re looking forward to announcing the winners.”

The Public Art Challenge is part of Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative. The program works to promote innovation and advance policy in cities across the country.

Earlier this year, Tulsa was one of three cities worldwide selected by Cities of Service to receive the Engaged Cities Award.

Tulsa was recognized for its Tulsa’s Urban Data Pioneers program.

Subscribe to Daily Headlines

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Kevin Canfield


Twitter: @aWorldofKC

Staff Writer

Kevin Canfield has covered local government in Tulsa for nearly two decades. He also has reported on downtown development, zoning and community planning.

Recommended for you