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Archiving with the Arts Incubator

For the past two Saturdays, Sixty Inches From Center has been working with the Arts Incubator to document and collect stories from residents and artists of the Washington Park neighborhood. As envisioned by Theaster Gates, the Arts Incubator, which opened in March of 2013, has become a space for artist residencies, arts education, community-based arts projects, as well as exhibitions, performances, and talks.

As part of his project “Portraits with the Public” artist LaMont Hamilton has been taking portraits of community residents. He set up his camera outside the Arts Incubator and engaged with residents, offering to take their portrait. Sixty was there and snapped a few photos of Hamilton snapping photos in a meta-moment of archiving the artist as archivist. Of those residents who stopped by, some were also interviewed for the Arts Incubator’s new Washington Park archive, which was created as part of the The Public Dialogue series at the space. The Arts Incubator’s archivists are on a mission to gather as much information available from individuals who have lived or are currently living in the Washington Park area to preserve the community’s legacy. This past Saturday we were on site with Allison Glenn, Arts + Public Life Program Manager and Exhibition Curator, and we dedicated the day to interviewing and archiving the ephemera of the area’s artists, past and present. Interviews and scanned materials of artists, including Marian Hayes, and Nelson Stevens, and Adger Cowans of AFRICOBRA, artists from the collective UsIsWe, will be shared with the Harold Washington Library’s Chicago Artists Archive.

Hamilton’s portraits will be on view as part of Public Dialogue at the Arts Incubator  from August 5 through August 12th. The Arts Incubator’s archivists will be on hand through August 9th to document your experiences and stories of Washington Park. For more information and open hours please visit this site.

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