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(March 13, 2015) – Mayor Pedro E. Segarra today announced that Hartford’s “Subject Matter,” a temporary public art project proposal by artist Nari Ward, is among 12 finalists chosen by Bloomberg Philanthropies out of a pool of 237 to compete for up to $1 million as part of its new Public Art Challenge program. Bloomberg Philanthropies invited mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more to submit proposals for innovative temporary public art projects that address a civic issue, and demonstrate close collaboration between artists or arts organizations and city government. 

“Hartford’s project Subject Matter will be a series of community portraits and neighborhood processions that will honor the City’s past and future,” said Mayor Segarra.  “I’m proud that Hartford was selected out of so many other cities to compete for this award.  I also want to acknowledge the collaboration of our project team, Real Art Ways, Community Solutions, and the Marketing, Events and Cultural Affairs (MECA) Division, which made this achievement possible.  It shows the kind of vision, talent and inspiration we have here.” 

As part of the project, an original 1920’s-30’s Hartford goldsmith’s workbench acquired by Mr. Ward from the Capitol Salvage Company will be completely gilded in gold.  The workbench, symbolizing achievement, value, history and labor, all culturally shared traits inherent today and in the 19th century when M. Swift & Sons Companys gold leaf manufacturing was founded in Hartford, will anchor a series of neighborhood processionals at 77 locations throughout the city that will include community portraits aimed at generating conversations about local issues and honoring citizen participation.

“The bench procession will offer residents an opportunity to share their feelings about the bench and its meaning, sparking a series of art-centered community conversations.  The community portraits will be distributed via social media, newspapers and magazines, and exhibited on billboards and buses,” said This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   

The Bloomberg Public Art Challenge is intended to provide catalytic funds as part of a strong, committed consortium of supporters.  At least three winning cities will be selected in May to execute their projects over a maximum of 24 months. More information about the Public Art Challenge, including links to images and maps can be found here.

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