The Washington Park Arts Incubator is the lead project of Arts + Public Life. The mixed-use arts facility, envisioned by artist Theaster Gates' Rebuild Foundation and design firm Built Form, is a space for artist residencies, arts education, community-based arts projects, as well as exhibitions, performances, and talks.
The Washington Park Arts Incubator elevates and expands the cultural assets of the Washington Park neighborhood, fosters cultural innovation, and helps attract and retain artists and creative professionals in Chicago.
The University of Chicago acquired the property—a historic 15,000-square-foot, two-story terracotta building that dates to the 1920s—in July 2008. Inspired by Theaster Gates’ innovative work with the Rebuild Foundation and Dorchester Project, which centers on the adaptive reuse of abandoned properties in Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood and elsewhere throughout the Midwest, the University appointed Gates to spearhead the redevelopment of the Washington Park property as a creative facility to engage local artists, students, and residents, creating a nexus for cultural and community engagement.