City artists-in-residence program spotlights Chicago artists to celebrate neighborhood culture

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's new artists in residence program spotlights city artists to celebrate the vibrant cultures of our neighborhoods.

Designer Eric Hotchkiss is one of the artists selected from the program. His firm Made in Englewood was one of the driving forces of a mural celebrating the South Side neighborhood, and employs people from Englewood as well.

"We make everything from furniture to installations like this to even skateboards, which you'll see on the images I have," he said. "Someone from the neighborhood has an idea and we figure out how to make it and we figure out how to make it en masse."

The city's new artists-in-residence program's mission is to show off the culture of Chicago's South and West sides.

"There's alwas talk about what we don't have, not focusing on what we do have which are outstanding people, outstanding community outstanding artists to say the lease," Hotchkiss said.

The artists in the program are all from the neighborhoods, and were selected through a community-led process sponsored by the city though the INVEST SouthWest program.

"To help creation some destinations, some cultural destinations, that the community can really build upon," explained Erin Harkey of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

That, in turn, could spur economic development.

"These communities we're working with know better than anybody what they need to succeed," Harkey said. "And so investing in artists that have been in these communities for decades just makes a lot of sense."

"I'm proud to be of service to my neighborhood, so my goal is to represent the extraordinary in my community," said Hotchkiss. "That's what I seek to do."
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