Kenwood Gardens and the Inquisition of Artists are trying to eliminate the stigma of open space on the south side

Every morning, Raji Vella rolls out of bed and goes down to the block to water a newly planted garden. It is a medical practice that takes time to meditate and meditate on the future.

Vela artist Tester Gates reached out and began watering his garden three weeks ago after asking for help. The Vela Garden Gates is part of a larger project that has been under construction for years – Kenwood Gardens.

Within six years, Gates and his team bought 13 adjacent spaces at the Art Studio and the Reconstruction Foundation on 6,900 South Kenwood Road. Gates said he wanted to create “more beauty opportunities” in the Great Grand Crossing.

To the east of Oak Woods Cemetery, the pedestrian trails create a metropolitan area.

Artist and Reconstruction Foundation Founder Theaster Gates at Kenwood Gardens, 6929 S. Kenwood Ave., Wednesday. The space is being redefined for food, art, music and performance.
Ashley Resin / Sun-Times

“It looks like it’s in a different time zone and it looks very rural,” Gates said.

On Thursday, the Kenwood Garden is scheduled to be officially opened to the public.

The gardens are intended to serve as a park and meeting place for artists and residents from all over the South. In addition to vegetables, Gates and his team at St. Lauren’s School, 1353 E. 72nd St.

Monthly subsidized homes offer eight to 10 South Side artists. In those artists-residences, there are up to 150 other people in the building to work on their own creations.

Artist workshops, tutorials and critiques will be held during the cooking. “Grad School for young artists,” Gates said.

Both seemingly diverse projects highlighted the “ability of black and brown people to determine the future of neighborhoods and their habitat.”

“The first goal is to show that black space is not empty. Not left: He continued. It may need care, but once it is cared for, it is the hottest place in town.

Incubator at St. Lawrence School on the South Side Grand Crossing, Wednesday morning, September 1, 2021.

The former St. Lawrence School at the Great Grand Crossing, 1353 E. 72nd St.
Ashley Resin / Sun-Times

Thus, he said, the projects will eliminate stigma. The gardens are across from the Dorchester Community Gardens.

“When you are in your backyard here, you don’t have to go north to find beauty,” said Vela.

He added that the relocated areas would alleviate the long-standing emptiness of the camp.

“For the past 20 years … there have been empty lots with rules and restrictions and that is why black and brown individuals have not been able to win easily,” he said.

Community changes such as the Kenwood Gardens could spread hope in the area over the next decade, Vella said.

“It provides the community with what it needs: space, opportunity, agriculture and medical care,” he said.

Gates plans to keep the gardens open all year round, with winter activities soon available. The first part of the cooking is just an invitation to the artists’ residence, and it starts next fall.

Cyan M. Daniel is a staff reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times Report to America, A non-profit journalism program aimed at strengthening the coverage of communities in the South and West.

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