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Office of Public Art Seeks Proposals From Artists Who Identify As Black, Indigenous, and People of Color

By October 20, 2020November 19th, 2020No Comments

Three artists to be selected for BIPOC Artists Bridging Social Distance in the Public Realm

Pittsburgh, PA — The Office of Public Art (OPA) is seeking proposals from visual and performing artists or artist teams who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color for projects that seek to bridge social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Proposed projects should promote social connection while also following guidelines for public health and safety.

About the Program

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate effects on individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), OPA is launching a new call for artists titled BIPOC Artists Bridging Social Distance in the Public Realm (BABSD). The BABSD call for artists expands upon OPA’s Artists Bridging Social Distance in the Public Realm (ABSD) Initiative. This initiative was launched in March 2020 to support artists at a time of critical need, when social distancing was causing widespread isolation and creative projects were being canceled or indefinitely postponed. Data reported since then has made it clear that Black and Indigenous communities and communities of color are among those at greatest risk, from both the virus itself and the impacts of the social distancing required to control its spread.

“Civil rights protests against police brutality, the continued and traumatic murder of Black people, and waves of xenophobia against people of Asian descent have only increased the need to amplify the voices of artists from these communities,” says Divya Rao Heffley, OPA’s Associate Director. “Through this new round of artist commissions, we seek to provide support to BIPOC artists whose practices engage with their communities and build connection at this time of critical need. The arts and the creative practices of artists have a transformative power to build community, which is particularly important during a public health crisis that has only exacerbated the effects of the persistent racism and xenophobia plaguing our country.”

In the face of social distancing practices that prevent gatherings in the public realm, OPA seeks artists to propose projects that will bridge social distance, increase a sense of community well being, and provide avenues for intellectual and emotional engagement. Social distancing practices have had a marked impact on daily routines, cultural practices, and ways of life, and are causing widespread isolation within our communities.

More Information & How to Apply

Projects will be reviewed and selected by a panel of BIPOC arts professionals and community members. Projects in all media and disciplines will be considered but must be widely shareable, whether through digital and virtual platforms or other means. Each selected artist will receive a fee of $2,000 to implement their project.

The deadline for artist submissions is November 16, 2020 at 11:59 PM. Artists should submit all application materials at Artists will be selected in mid-December 2020 and projects are anticipated to be launched in January and February 2021. The full call for artists can be accessed here. A virtual information session will be held on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 from 4:00pm – 5:00pm using Zoom Webinar. Participants must register in advance for this session by going to


UPDATE: The deadline for this has been extended to Sunday, November 22, 2020 at 11:59 PM.



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Artists Bridging Social Distance in the Public Realm

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OPA is seeking proposals from visual and performing artists for projects that aim to bridge the social distance created by efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.