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ArtHouse Patio Festival will celebrate downtown culinary incubator with music, food

ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen will host a daylong festival Thursday.

ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen will celebrate nearly two years in downtown Gary and its latest art installation, ArtHouse Patio, with a daylong festival that will feature music and food.

Renowned Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates and Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson will speak at the “We are Here: ArtHouse Patio Festival," which will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the ArtHouse at 411 E. 5th Ave. across from the U.S. Steel Yard.

Gates launched the project with his Place Lab project, the city of Gary, the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy and funding from New York City-based Bloomberg Philanthropies to encourage food-related entrepreneurship and economic revitalization in Gary, a city of 76,000 residents with just 30 restaurants.

So far, it has employed 80 people and 145 volunteers at different times, who have put on more than 102 programs and activities, which has drawn visitors from 138 communities, including all eight Gary neighborhoods. Arthouse: A Social Kitchen has graduated 33 individuals through its culinary incubator program and given 3,000 free meals to local youth.

Scheduled events at the festival Thursday include a marching band show, a boogie down blues show, a smokehouse picnic, a grill pit feast, a gospel set and R&B soul sessions.

The day's festivities are free and open to the public.

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