GARY — The energy and enthusiasm was evident Saturday night as hundreds crowded outside 411 E. 5th Ave. in Gary for the much-anticipated grand opening of ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen.
“We had people who literally gave their blood, sweat and tears to make this happen,” Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson yelled into the crowd. “This concept grew from an idea … that Gary needed a gathering place.”
Behind her stood the 14,000-square-foot building — now home to an art gallery and business incubator. The building illuminated the streets of downtown Gary with the newly installed Ripple + Wilson’s multicolored, solar-powered lanterns.
The project was brought to life with the help of acclaimed South Side Chicago artist Theaster Gates and a talented architecture and construction team, including project manager Michele L. Larimer. Virginia-based Jeana Ripple of Ripple Architecture Studio and the University of Virginia’s Barbara Brown Wilson who designed the façade installation.
Gary was chosen among the 237 cities to apply for funding through the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, said Kate Levin, who oversees the arts program at Bloomberg Philanthropies.
“We are thrilled to be sponsoring this project because we really do believe that public art has the opportunity to transform cities,” Levin said.
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