SOURCE: ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen

ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen

August 02, 2017 09:00 ET

ArtHouse, a Groundbreaking Destination for Food, Culture, and Art in Gary, Launches Second Culinary Incubator

Two years after the bold concept was first awarded funding, ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen serves as a community epicenter, hosting workshops and helping culinary entrepreneurs thrive

GARY, IN--(Marketwired - Aug 2, 2017) - Today, ArtHouse is accepting applicants to its second culinary incubator program, which begins August 12th, 2017. Since opening, The City of Gary welcomed hundreds of visitors to the opening of ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen, a creative community space where food, culture, art, and skill-building collide.

Just seven months after its opening, ArtHouse has found hundreds of believers in its unique concept, including the 24 early- and mid-stage culinary entrepreneurs who completed the first incubator program.

"The response to ArtHouse has been palpable," said Arleen Peterson, a consultant overseeing ArtHouse programming. "When we first launched, we had 700 individuals express interest in getting involved at ArtHouse, and then 400 actually showed up to various events, including a woman who drove 200 miles from Indianapolis to be part of what we've created."

Though ArtHouse was designed with Gary in mind, it's resonating across Northwest Indiana. Residents from Gary, Valparaiso and Hammond joined the six-week culinary incubator program, training with food business experts in order to launch or advance their culinary businesses.

Culinary incubator participants Frank and Kimenique Jones are proof of the concept's potential. The couple relocated from California to be closer to family and make an impact in the town in which they grew up. Since completing the incubator program, they partnered with City Life Center, a Gary community center focused on helping families and children. Through the partnership, the Joneses are making healthy meals and teaching good nutritional habits.

"You can change a life through a good meal," said Frank Jones. "By the end of the summer, we'll have served 6,000 meals to children in need."

City of Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, integral to the endeavor, recalls the evolution of ArtHouse.

"At first, we were met with a lot of skepticism," said Freeman-Wilson. "ArtHouse is a completely bespoke space for the Gary community. It is an opportunity for small businesses to invest in their dreams that is also an investment in the city. Some have labelled Arthouse a cultural center, an art gallery, a kitchen. Well, it is all of these things, and it's driving people toward hope."

ArtHouse Artistic Director Theaster Gates believes this homegrown concept has broad implications.

"ArtHouse is changing the notion of what public is," said Gates. "We've created a space that is boundless in terms of creative exploration, learning to make things, finding community, and experiencing joy."

In addition to kicking off the second culinary incubator on August 12th, ArtHouse will host a range of public events throughout the summer, including workshops, discussions, concerts, and poetry. The popular Home Grown Meals program will also be hosted onsite before traveling back out into various community spaces and homes later in the year.

"We are exploring ways training and education opportunities at ArtHouse can expand further into cooking," added Peterson. "The kitchen has enormous potential as an instructional space, and we look forward to hosting our next group of budding entrepreneurs."

The next incubator begins August 12th, 2017, and applications are available here: http://arthousegary.com/incubator/. For more information on programming and upcoming sessions, please visit http://arthousegary.com/.

About ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen
ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen is a dynamic destination for food, culture, art, meeting and learning in Gary, Indiana. ArtHouse is focused on creating a space that positively reflects the city of Gary, and provides a platform for economic and artistic activity in the downtown area. The site will evolve continuously through the work of partner organizations and creative individuals.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge
In October 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies invited U.S. mayors of cities with 30,000 residents or more to collaborate with artists and arts organizations on developing innovative public art projects that engage residents and attract visitors. In June 2015, the four winning projects -- including Gary ArtHouse -- were announced. Each project was selected to receive up to $1 million each as part of Bloomberg's Public Art Challenge -- a new program designed to support temporary public art projects that celebrate creativity, enhance urban identity, encourage public-private partnerships, and drive economic development.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. They invest in journalism, the arts, and the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. The foundation's goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which are essential for a healthy democracy. For more information visit knightfoundation.org.

About the Knight Cities Challenge
The Knight Cities Challenge supports ideas that make the 26 communities where Knight Foundation invests more vibrant places to live and work. The challenge focuses on ideas that advance one or all of three key drivers of city success: attracting and keeping talented people, expanding economic opportunity, and creating a culture of civic engagement. For more information visit knightfoundation.org.

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