Arts + Industry

Theaster Gates project gets $10 million to revitalize Chicago's South Side

(Courtesy Chicago Arts + Industry Commons)

Artist Theaster Gates is getting $10.25 million to grow a network of arts institutions on Chicago’s South Side.

Chicago Arts + Industry Commons (CAIC), a collaboration between Gates’s Rebuild Foundation, University of Chicago’s Place Lab, and the City of Chicago, will receive $5 million from four major foundations: JPB Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation to use the arts as a tool for neighborhood revitalization. The rest of the money will come from individuals and philanthropic organizations (contributing organizations will be announced in a few days).

(Courtesy Chicago Arts + Industry Commons)

(Courtesy Chicago Arts + Industry Commons)

Ultimately, the CAIC will be self-sustaining: “[The] Chicago Arts + Industry Commons employs an evolving cultural reinvestment model that uses the revitalization of sleepy assets as part of an engine that spurs new development and new capital, a portion of which is used to support the civic commons,” the project description explains.

The Stony Island Arts Bank, a community hub and art center that the Rebuild Foundation opened last year, will anchor a network of design studios, an industrial arts center, and public gardens in Grand Crossing. A West Side power plant next to the Garfield Park Conservatory will be converted into Garfield Park Industrial Arts, a warren of art galleries and the industrial arts center, surrounded by an amphitheater, cafe and plaza, while a shuttered Catholic school on the South Side will host art and design studios, as well as a “design accelerator” that will offer workshops to residents, DNAinfo reports. Finally, 13 vacant lots, on Kenwood Avenue between 68th and 70th Streets, will be turned into Kenwood Gardens, a park filled with art and sculpture.

Construction begins soon and programming is slated to begin late next year or early 2018.

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