Berkeley Haas Case Series

Case Information

Theaster Gates: Artist as Catalyst for Community Development
Callanan, Laura , Jane Wei-Skillern, and Prentice Onayemi
Publication date: 6/30/2014, pages 1-26

The case study describes the work of Theaster Gates to revitalize the South Side of Chicago. As an independent philanthropist and artist, Gates has engaged in "creative placemaking" to improve the predominantly African American neighborhood. Gates’ pioneering activities are fueled by a strong belief in the transformative power of art and a personal commitment to make his neighborhood a place he wants to stay and live even when he can afford to leave. Gates' ability to straddle disparate worlds gives credibility to Gates’ philosophy about the power of artists to be creative and change the world. The case study allows students to analyze and discuss what Gates' next steps should be and how he should successfully scale his efforts and organizations.

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