Theaster Gates’ Arts Incubator broke ground in its largest project to date at the former St. Laurence Elementary School on May 3rd. This is the start of the process to convert it into an arts and creative incubator on Chicago’s South Side.

I am extremely proud that the Clayco Foundation has committed $1 million to help develop this state-of-the-art 40,000-square-foot innovation hub for local artists and entrepreneurs.

The former St. Laurence Elementary School was once a community staple for education, enrichment, and economic development, but was shuttered in 2002. In 2016, Theaster’s Rebuild Foundation rescued it from destruction. The new center will include artist studios, classrooms for creative entrepreneurship courses, co-working floors, space for archival research, and more.

It was great to see Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and First Lady M.K. Pritzker, Alderperson Michelle Harris, and Chicago First Lady Amy Eshleman at the groundbreaking. We are all looking forward to seeing the St. Laurence Arts Incubator become a center for creative investment, production, and education on the South Side.

This fantastic project is the next step in Rebuild’s mission: to make art accessible by demonstrating the impact of innovative, ambitious, and entrepreneurial arts and cultural initiatives.

Our mantra at Clayco is ‘Beyond These Walls’ and I’m excited to see the impact that the incubator will create in the greater Chicago community.

Congrats to our friends at GC “Powers and Son” for leading the building team and showing the way forward on a complex build.

For more about the project, read here.

For more about the Rebuild Foundation, read here.