Dorchester Arts District
Project: Chicago Arts + Industry Commons
Location: Chicago, IL
Client: Theaster Gates Studio
Size: 2 Square Miles; Greater Grand Crossing, Woodlawn and Washington Park Neighborhoods
Since February 2015, PORT has been working with the University of Chicago, The Place Lab and Theaster Gates on the Dorchester Arts District—a vision for a burgeoning cultural destination in Chicago that is a creative platform for artists of all disciplines and skill levels, and those excited by the arts.
By repurposing inactive buildings and underdeveloped commercial and industrial spaces, the venues will allow for exhibitions, ambitious and highly competitive residency programs, artistic showcases, accessible and welcoming museums, collections and archives, state of the art maker spaces, a network of collision spaces, and pioneering pedagogical opportunities—all surrounded by a smart and engaging botanical landscape. Leveraging existing infrastructure, buildings, and community assets attracts talent and strengthens the identity of the neighborhood while creating a new model for cultural production and consumption. Managed by locals, enjoyed by the world.
PORT’s role in the Dorchester Arts District has been the testing and elaboration of site potentials, documenting existing assets, and mapping existing and potential networks upon which the initiative might rely. This work was central to Place Lab recently receiving a significant grant as part of the Reimagining the Civic Commons Initiative.