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Prada and Theaster Gates Launch Experimental Design Hub in Chicago

Prada and Theaster Gates are co-founding an "experimental design lab" in Chicago's South Side. Courtesy.
Prada and Theaster Gates are co-founding an "experimental design lab" in Chicago's South Side. Courtesy.

Milan-based Prada Group and Dorchester Industries, the design and manufacturing studio of Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates, are teaming up to create a three-year program to provide artists and designers of color with financial support and creative opportunities.

The hub in Chicago’s South Side, dubbed the Dorchester Industries Experimental Design Lab, will aim to amplify the work of designers working in fashion, furniture, and industrial and graphic design, as well as foster collaborations between the artists and large companies.

”For too long, our creative communities have possessed the talent but lacked exposure and opportunity,” said Gates, an interdisciplinary artist known for his socially engaged sculptures, performances and installations and whom Prada tapped as co-chair of its diversity and inclusion council in 2019.

The new partnership “is a critical step in the right direction to ensure that leading design companies have a pipeline of talented creatives who bring with them their diverse experiences and backgrounds”, said Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada’s group marketing director and head of corporate social responsibility.

The first cohort of participants will be announced in October, Prada’s statement said.

Learn more:

Prada Mounts Diversity Council as Brands Face Blackface Backlash

African-American artists Theaster Gates and Ava DuVernay will chair a group created to ‘elevate voices of colour’ and advise on diversity issues.

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