- The City of Coral Springs, FL — in partnership with the City of Parkland, FL — has won the 2018 Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. The winner was chosen from more than 200 proposals.
- Coral Springs will receive $1 million for its project, entitled "Inspiring Community Healing After Gun Violence: The Power of Art." The project will use art to bring together community members and foster healing, following February's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in which 17 people were killed and more than a dozen others injured.
- The communities will put the grant money toward five temporary gun-violence themed art installations. The first is expected to be unveiled on or around Feb. 14, 2019, the one year anniversary of the shooting.
Bloomberg has been active in the past with addressing gun violence. Four years ago, the organization started funding a gun control initiative called "Everytown for Gun Safety" that combined the organizations "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" and "Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America." Last month, Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg attended a Parkland rally, encouraging voters to choose "gun sense" candidates who support enacting greater gun control laws.
Choosing South Florida communities affected by gun violence to win the art challenge continues Bloomberg Philanthropies' efforts toward greater gun control. It also is a different way of getting the message across, compared with the usual rallies and lectures.
The decision for Coral Springs and Parkland to propose this type of art for the challenge also illustrates how art can be used for more than just aesthetics. It can be a positive outlet for negative emotions, bring attention to important issues, bring a community together and promote healing in the wake of a disaster.