The nonprofit Rebuild Foundation and its founder Theaster Gates broke ground recently on a $10 million Gates incubator arts project on the SouthSide of Chicago, just down the street from Stony Island Arts Bank and studios, and the artists’ housing.
This project will involve the redevelopment of the former St. Laurence Elementary School into a multi-faceted space, that will provide spaces for artist studios, co-working floors, classrooms planned for creative entrepreneurship courses, an archival research lab and so much more, with the goal of providing support for artists and black creative entrepreneurs.
The old catholic school building which was shut down almost a decade ago was purchased and saved from demolition in 2016 by the Theaster Gates.
A great piece of art
During the ground breaking ceremony, Theaster Gates gave a tour of the future arts building pointing out that the main idea behind the project was to model what a cultural leadership and a cultural hub would actually look like in the neighbourhood.
The director of the Litowitz Family Foundation, Jennifer Litowitz on the other hand described the art building as a work of art itself, adding that the transformation of this old Catholic school building into a communal space to nurture artistry and entrepreneurship for creatives was the ultimate act of creativity.
The project is expected to be completed by 2023.
Partners of Gates incubator arts project
Since when Theaster Gates the school, the foundation has raised over $7.6 million dollars from the contributions of partners, private funders, and “mission-aligned organizations to kick start the Gates incubator arts project.
The project partners and supporters include the City of Chicago, the Chicago Community Trust, the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity, the Clayco Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, Litowitz Family Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Mellon Foundation.