Notable for being the first multifamily development in 60 years within Chicago’s historic Pullman neighborhood, Pullman Artspace Lofts provides 38 affordable live/work units, an exhibition space programmed by PullmanArts, and ample community space. On a beautiful spring afternoon in May, Artspace and its development partners, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) and PullmanArts, gathered outside to celebrate the project’s Grand Opening. Alderman Anthony Beale, a great champion of the effort, led the ceremony to mark the milestone after nearly a decade of planning and construction. Artists, elected officials, local business and nonprofit leaders, and community partners also came out to celebrate. Remarks from Artspace Board Director Emeritus, Terry Dolan, and Kathleen Kvern, SVP of Artspace National Advancement, were presented during the formal program. Other speakers included Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar, US Rep. Robin Kelley, Frankey Payne (PullmanArts), Kristin Faust (IHDA), Tracey Scott (CHA), and Ciere Boatright (CNI). Pullman Artspace Lofts Residents Nicole Romany and Steven Soltis gave passionate speeches about choosing to make Artspace their home.
Artspace buildings come to life because of the vibrancy of artists and the power of art to make neighborhoods and communities a better place to live, work, and play. This vital energy was on display throughout the event, as several of the artists and families that make Pullman Artspace Lofts their home opened their spaces for visitors to tour. In partnership with resident artists, PullmanArts programmed the Block House Gallery; and musical performances included DJ Reggie C, DJ Rev, Q Kiser, Meagan McNeal, and Jovan & The Land. Artists Nicole Romany and Steven Soltis, who each have a live/work unit at the Pullman Artspace Lofts, spoke with gratitude for having a creative community to call home. Delicious food and beverages were provided by local Pullman businesses Andysunflower Café, Taco Sublime, and Lexington Betty Smoke House. Rounding out the event was a virtual panel discussion that evening, “Wellness in the Creative Community,” that observed Mental Health Awareness Month. The conversation featured artists, Chicago-based thought leaders, and health practitioners illuminating what wellness means in creative communities.
The public/private partnerships that made this creative revitalization project possible were significant. Pullman Artspace Lofts financing partners include U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation; U.S. Bank National Association; IFF; LISC Chicago; the Illinois Housing Development Authority; Chicago Housing Authority; and Federal Home Loan Bank Chicago. Pullman Artspace Loft’s local and national philanthropic partners include: The Chicago Community Trust; the City of Chicago Adopt-A-Landmark Fund; Driehaus Foundation; Enterprise Community Partners; The Field Foundation of Illinois; The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation; National Trust for Historic Preservation; Stavros Niarchos Foundation; and U.S. Bank. Artspace is very grateful for their extraordinary support and investment in our work.