Theaster Gates is a potter living in south Chicago, in a city with lots of abandoned plots. Starting with one building, using re-purposed materials and an empty candy store, he worked with neighbours to turn it into the Archive House and the Listening House - which include archive slide and record collections, a micro library and a soul food kitchen. More and more people came to take part, and when they ran out of space, they went on to create the Black Cinema, the Arts Bank and the Housing Collaborative.
Each project is designed to create opportunities for neighbours to meet and collaborate, to take part in cultural activities, and support emergent project and enterprise ideas. And to re-shape how people imagine the area, and what they collectively think is possible.
Knight Foundation and the University of Chicago are now working with the Re-Build Foundation on the Place Lab - to understand and spread this new practice. "Creating a national platform for propagating a groundbreaking model that uses imagination and culture-driven community engagement to transform and revitalise communities".
Read more: www.rebuild-foundation.squarespace.com