CHICAGO — Theaster Gates had a vision of creating an affordable housing collaborative for local artists.
The artist set his eyes on a vacant building owned by the Chicago Housing Authority, and on Thursday his vision became a reality.
Gates was joined Thursday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CHA officials for the grand opening of The Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative in South Shore.
"Dorchester Artist Housing Collaborative is an amazing example of what is possible when belief in a place is combined with expertise in development, support from community and the passion of artists. I'm honored to be a part of it," Gates said.
The art-centered mixed-income community at 6949 S. Dante Ave. is a collaboration between Gates' Rebuild Foundation, CHA and Brinshore Development that consists of 32 townhomes for individuals, families and long-term rentals.
In addition to housing units, the collaborative includes a 1,500-square-foot arts center with a dance studio and community garden.
"For years, this was an abandoned housing project but thanks to Theaster's vision, this land has been reimagined, reinvented, and revitalized as a place for residents to live and for artists to create," Emanuel said. "The Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative proves that investing in art and culture can bring both economic revitalization and a sense of community to every neighborhood."
As part of the collaborative, five artists are selected to live in five of the townhomes and commit to 10 volunteer hours per month in an effort to promote neighborhood revitalization through community engagement and art.
"With the support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CHA is pleased to partner with Theaster Gates' Rebuild foundation, Brinshore Development, the City of Chicago and other key stakeholders to help build strong, vibrant communities," CHA CEO Michael R. Merchant said.
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