The Crusader Newspaper Group

ArtHouse calls all artists to create inspiring public art

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson

The ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen in downtown Gary seeks qualified artist to complete a Public Art project that is to be catalyst for innovation

Artistic Director Theaster Gates and the project’s leadership seek qualifications from artists and designers interested in creating temporary, original, site-responsive public artwork(s) for ArtHouse, an underutilized 15,000 square foot facility undergoing renovations in downtown Gary, Indiana.

The re-imagined space at 411 E. 5th Avenue/ArtHouse will provide access to a commercial training kitchen for local residents and emerging businesses, culinary business incubation (CBI) and operation space, a pop up café shaped by CBI participants, community dinners in Gary homes and the café, and gallery/exhibition space. Mama Pearl’s will continue to operate from this location.

Two public art commissions, Illumination and Surface, each appealing to the catalytic power of art will lead the re-imagined space.

Applicants may submit their qual-ifications as early as December 1, 2015 and as late as January 11, 2016 on Slideroom at There will be two information sessions on the RFQ process. Remote video will be available to interested applicants. The first session is scheduled in Chicago on Thursday, Dec. 17 from 4-5:00 p.m. at the Arts Incubator, 301 E. Garfield Blvd. and the second session is scheduled in Gary on Friday, Dec. 18 from 4-5:00 p.m. at Mama Pearl’s Restaurant located at 411 E. 5th. For more details about the RFQ and ArtHouse, visit:

Bloomberg Philanthropies invited mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more to submit proposals for innovative temporary public art projects that address a civic issue. More than 230 cities submitted proposals that showcased ways in which local governments could work with artists to create public art that inspires economic growth in struggling areas. In June of 2015, Gary was selected as one of four cities nationwide from more than 230 cities that submitted proposals for the Public Art Challenge. Gary’s winning project is ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen.

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson is optimistic about creative civic interventions for Gary, sharing that: “We are excited about the idea of public art being the catalyst to spark revitalization in the hub of the Gary community. As we work to rebuild our city, we look for investment opportunities and for meaningful projects and collaborations that will fulfill our need to bring about transformative results. I believe these components and public art partnered with design and community engagement will yield those results.”

Project leadership for ArtHouse includes Gary’s Economic Development Corporation and Department of Commerce, the office of Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson as well as lead artist Theaster Gates, Place Lab and the Harris School of Public Policy both at the University of Chicago, and Rebuild Foundation. Support for ArtHouse is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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