• University of Chicago
  • Outside the Arts Incubator, at the corner of Garfield Boulevard and Prairie Avenue

The corner of Garfield Boulevard and Prairie Avenue is a few blocks, a city park, and miles and miles of psychic space away from the libraries and quads of the University of Chicago. But 11 days ago, the university made its latest attempt to reach out to its Washington Park neighbors by opening the Arts Incubator, a new project developed by its Arts + Public Life Initiative, and already things are starting to happen.

The building is open to the public on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, where there have been performances and an ongoing visual arts exhibit, “Feedback.”

“The response has been pretty awesome,” says the project’s director, the artist Theaster Gates. “Alderman [Pat] Dowell gave us a huge accolade. She said there have been rough spots in the relationship between the university and the neighborhood, and they were concerned that the university was opening the incubator here, but she’s been pleased with the community response. She said it’s a real asset to the neighborhood.”