Chicago’s Civic Commons assets are connected geographically and programmatically so that clustered and coordinated activity can enhance public access to neighborhood cultural amenities. An additional layer uniting the sites on the South and West sides of Chicago is our Workforce Training Program. As Chicago Arts + Industry reimagines spaces, local men and women are integrated into the physical transformation of the neighborhood. Trainees apprentice and learn alongside master craftspeople in design and construction, ceramics, building maintenance and landscaping. In this manner, the renovation of assets toward an active, accessible and robust commons takes on both practical and instructive significance.
This video highlights three South Side projects, Stony Island Arts Bank, St. Laurence School and Kenwood Gardens, and one west side project, Garfield Park stables and powerhouse. Each project has engaged our Workforce Trainees to prepare, renovate and maintain the assets as they continue to evolve as cultural hubs.
The Workforce Training Program is one way the Chicago team increases the number of opportunities available for people who have been left out of the upside of economic development. It is an acknowledgement and articulation of the fact that everyone has a skill to contribute to the reimagining of their community. Chicago’s efforts toward Reimagining the Civic Commons reintroduces the importance of industry, specifically cultural production, into the matrix of strong communities and vibrant cultural life.