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Jackson, Mississippi, Named Winner of Bloomberg Philanthropies’s 2018 Public Art Challenge

The Ron Finley Project.

BEAU ROULETTE/COURTESY THE RON FINLEY PROJECT

Bloomberg Philanthropies has named Jackson, Mississippi, a winner of its 2018 Public Art Challenge. The city will now receive a $1 million grant for its project “Fertile Ground: Inspiring Dialogue About Food Access,” with all of the funds going toward public art programming planned for the next two years.

Through the project, artists, landscape architects, filmmakers, farmers, chefs, nutritionists, and community members will shape a citywide exhibition of installations, along with performances, workshops, and panels focused on nutrition and food systems in Jackson. Artists Kara Walker and Adrienne Domnick, New York Times columnist Mark Bittman, designer and gardener Ron Finley, and chef Nick Wallace are among the individuals developing these programs, which will take place in streets, gardens, an elementary school, a food lab with a pop-up kitchen, and other spaces. A representative for Bloomberg Philanthropies confirmed that Walker and Domnick will also contribute works to the show.

The Jackson Medical Foundation, Jackson State University, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Mississippi Museum of Art are among those set to facilitate “Fertile Ground” events.

Jackson mayor Chokwe Lumumba said in a statement, “The city is overjoyed to have been selected in this process. . . . To be able to aid in the aesthetic appeal of the city while delivering a message of healthy eating for the citizens of Jackson is a truly remarkable opportunity, and we are ecstatic and look forward to seeing this project come into fruition.”

Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, added, “Lack of access to healthy food is a challenge in many communities across the country, and this project is a great example of how local artists can help spur conversations around important issues.”

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