(Excerpt from 'Theaster Gates Awarded Inaugural Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics' posted on art&education. Found on http://www.artandeducation.net/announcement/theaster-gates-awarded-inaugural-vera-list-center-prize-for-art-and-politics)
Chicago-based artist and activist Theaster Gates has been awarded the New School's inaugural Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics which will include a $15,000 award and a two-year long commitment from the school to aid the selected artist's practice through academic support or other means.
Theaster Gates has been named the inaugural winner of the Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics. The biennial prize honors an artist who has taken risks to advance social justice. It is awarded on the basis of a particular project’s long-term impact, boldness, and artistic excellence. Selected by an international jury, Gates’ The Dorchester Projects will provide a platform for extended educational and public programs across the university, including the presentation Reflections on the Dorchester Projects at Parsons’ Sheila C. Johnson Design Center in fall 2013.
A bold American artist with a global vision, Theaster Gates and his work expand and problematize the discourse of political enfranchisement and social inclusion. Gates began The Dorchester Projects in 2006 by transforming two buildings on Chicago’s South Side into community gathering spaces with a library, slide archive, performance space, and soul food kitchen. The ongoing piece examines urban renewal and social justice through the lens of arts, spirituality, alternative economies, and community engagement.
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(Image on top: Theaster Gates in front of “The Dorchester Projects”; Photo by Sara Pooley)