With a meteoric career, the artist, potter, singer and urban renewal visionary discusses his humble beginnings and his relationships to institutions and alternative spaces.

“I started asking questions about my art. Could art be a way that I could start to talk about some of the politics and the forces in the city in the absence of having money? Can I do something gestural that would help people understand some of these things that I see everyday – the lack of education, the lack of food, food resources… How do we activate that?”

Theaster Gates combines his art practice with his background in urban planning and sculpture. Recently a Loeb Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Gates has received significant awards from major foundations. In 2010 alone, he performed and exhibited at the Whitney Biennial and the Armory Show in New York; the Milwaukee Art Museum; Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis; and the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston.