In what we promise will be our last post about him this week, the Chicago-based artist and activist Theaster Gates yesterday was awarded the New School's inaugural Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics. The prize, which will be awarded biannually, is named in honor of the philanthropist Vera List, who was a devoted supporter of the arts and educational institutions and their roles in civic engagement. The award commemorates her legacy by selecting an artist who "has taken risks to advance social justice in profound and visionary ways." The prize, which will include a $15,000 award, represents a two-year long commitment from the school to aid the selected artist's practice through academic support or other means.
Gates was chosen largely for his project The Dorchester Projects, in which he transformed previously abandoned buildings on Chicago's South Side into a community cultural space, with a slide archive, performance space, library, and kitchen. In selecting his project, the school will expand the platform for an extended dialogue on urban renewal and community engagement and will host public programs related to the discussion, including a seminar by Gates at the New School's Sheila C. Johnson Design Center in fall 2013.
For more information about Theaster Gates, look no further than our current Journal where Heather Kapplow interviews the artist at dOCUMENTA 13 about his piece 12 ballads for Huguenot House.