GARY, Ind., Nov. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The City of Gary celebrated the opening of ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen on November 19th with a community event and public unveiling of the project's first art installation, an exterior lighting sculpture powered by solar energy and designed by the artist duo Ripple + Wilson. More than a year in the making, the ambitious ArtHouse, an arts and culinary incubator and gallery, is the collective vision of the City of Gary, community members, Midwest artists and laborers, and Artistic Director Theaster Gates. The concept won funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of its Public Arts Challenge, as well as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's 2015 Knight Cities Challenge. In remarks to hundreds of attendees, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson stated, "We are excited about the opening of Gary's ArtHouse, and about the resurgence public art can bring downtown. This project represents a new perspective as we imagine the future of our city. We are grateful for the partnerships that brought us to this day." Theaster Gates also commented that, "Art has the ability to create a place where great things can happen, and great things are happening here. None of it would have been possible without the people, businesses, artists, chefs and city working together." Gates, known for combining urban planning and art, has shown works in major museums and galleries around the world. He is the founder of the non-profit Rebuild Foundation, and is a professor in the Department of Visual Art and Director of Arts + Public Life at the University of Chicago. ArtHouse is a reflection of his vision to bridge the creation of art with adaptive reuse of abandoned spaces and community-driven initiatives for neighborhood revitalization. "The creation of ArtHouse is a testament to the spirit of Gary, Indiana -- and it shows how arts and culture help invigorate neighborhoods and strengthen local economies," said Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and three-term Mayor of New York City. In the coming weeks, ArtHouse will host a culinary incubation center and training kitchen, along with trainings and seminars to help establish and engage local artists and drive economic activity in the region.