Washington Park Arts Incubator

Completed: 2013
Architect: Built Form
Address: 301 E. Garfield Blvd.
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Arts Incubator in Washington Park
After sitting vacant for more than 20 years, the building on the southeast corner of Garfield Boulevard and Prairie Avenue in the adjacent neighborhood of Washington Park has gotten a facelift thanks to artist Theaster Gates and design firm Built Form.

Transformation and Preservation
Constructed in the 1920s, great care has been taken to ensure that the Arts Incubator’s new home will be preserved in spite of its makeover. The original terra cotta exterior of the building gleams brighter than it has in years and the Art Nouveau details ornament each window. To open the space up to the community, glass is used on both stories, allowing for endless sightlines to the interior that display the rich, repurposed woods and captivatingly spacious layout.

Thriving Space
Having been transformed, the Arts Incubator now acts as a center for up-and-coming artists with more than 10,000 square feet of studio space, gallery and exhibition rooms, and its own woodworking shop. Skilled artists teach master classes to apprentices, community members, and interns in the revitalized building while nearby lots are transformed with installations created at the Incubator. Just as the Office of Arts and Public Life subtly added to the building with respectful changes, the handiwork that comes from within now subtly enhances the surrounding community.