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ArtSpace Opens to Help Reclaim Chatham Community

The Greater Chatham Initiative in partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development and the Pangea Cares Foundation announcethe Artists On The 9 Makerspace and gallery on the South-Side of Chicago. The press conference will take place on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, from 10 am – 12 pm at 735 E 79th St, Chicago, IL.

Artists on the 9 is the result of the Greater Chatham Initiative (GCI) work to develop the Mahalia Jackson Cultural District on east 79th street. The initiative is reclaiming vacant storefronts inthe Chatham community to convert them into fully functional makerspaces and galleries for artists and creatives. Artists on the 9, use arts as a key anchor and catalyst for social andeconomic advancement, cultural identification, education, and corridor development.

Artists on the 9 introduce one of the first community makers spaces in the underserved andoften neglected Greater Chatham area. These spaces are providing artists the capacity to create work, develop and display their work. Artist On the 9 will also function as a communityspace to host gatherings and events periodically. These events will provide direct exposure to the artists’ work and enrich a community by centering on the arts.

Greater Chatham Initiative’s founding was catalyzed by the shocking death of Dr. BettyHoward, a special education teacher at Gwendolyn Brooks Preparatory Academy. Dr. Howard was a notable leader in the community and a beloved educator who was fatally shot in 2014 while dropping off paperwork at her second job at a real estate office formerly located in theArtists on the 9 space. The community was horrified by the uncommon random shooting that caused her death. Congressman Bobby Rush, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Michael Sacks, andhundreds of others came together for two years to work, lead and fund the response. TheGreater Chatham Initiative Comprehensive Plan for Economic Growth and Neighborhood Vitality,and the Greater Chatham Initiative began to implement the Plan when it started in 2016.

The Artists on the 9 is one of the Greater Chatham’s many projects and activities. Artists on the 9 is a 1,400-square-foot storefront that was fully rehabilitated in 2021 by Motus Construction. Ithas three 10x 12 private makerspaces, a gallery, an exhibition room, and a kitchen. The$188,000 project received: 72% or $135,567 of funding from the City of Chicago Department ofSBIF Grant21% or $41,000 from Pangea Cares Foundation7% or $11,433 from Greater Chatham Initiative.

Interim construction financing was provided by Landmarks Illinois. Pangea Cares Foundation provided leasehold improvement capital. Motus Construction was the construction contractor. Special thanks to Greater Chatham Initiative’s legal counsel Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic,and owner’s representative Billy McGee of BMA Resources. US Architectural Glass & Metal, a black-owned company, installed the new historical representative windows. The Silver Room and Greater Chatham Initiative brainstormed how to get funding to support the financial literacyand success of local artists.

9Artists on the 9 is a representation of growth and transformation. It will help to catapult the community into a new era and hopefully spread into surrounding communities to provide tangible resources resulting in economic and social prosperity.

“Our goals at Pangea include creating and maintaining quality housing for residents of underserved communities and working with local organizations to improve those neighborhoods for our residents,” said Derek Reich, Chief Operating Officer of PangeaProperties. “It’s so rewarding for Pangea to be a contributor in the creation of this artists’ space, which can bring new opportunities for connection, personal growth, outreach, and education to our residents and the greater Chatham neighborhood.” -Derek Reich, COO Pangea Properties

“Greater Chatham Initiative is thrilled to offer a makerspace for local artisans. Their artprovides an injection of beauty, inspiration, and cultural representation into a community that is unmatched. We are excited to see the results.”-Nedra Sims Fears, Executive Director ofGreater Chatham Initiative

About The Greater Chatham Initiative: The Greater Chatham Initiative is an organization charged with developing and driving the implementation of a comprehensive strategy to revitalize the Chatham, Auburn Gresham, Avalon Park, and Greater Grand Crossing neighborhoods on Chicago’s south side.

About Pangea Properties: Pangea Properties is a real estate investment and management company with 13,000+ apartments and townhomes throughout Chicago, Indianapolis, andBaltimore. Founded in December 2008 with a mission to bring service, value, and care to ourresidents, Pangea strives to be the best owner and operator of multi-family apartment buildings within the communities they serve.

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