TA!1MIAMI (June 27, 2013) – The Arts Initiative, a newly formed collective dedicated to placing highly interactive visual art in public venues, today announced a lineup of more than 10 nationally and internationally recognized contemporary artists for its initial installation, which will be housed within the forthcoming Fashion Outlets of Chicago.

The brainchild of AWE Talisman Chairman Arthur Weiner, which is curated by acclaimed Miami-based gallery Primary Projects, the installation will include work from the likes of artists Daniel Arsham, Jim Drain, Friends With You, Bert Rodriguez and Jen Stark, among others. This project represents the future of highly interactive visual art in public venues: artist-driven ideas actively integrated into the architectural framework and viewing space. The artists chosen by The Arts Initiative will enrich and enliven the multi-level outlet shopping center in a way that is sure to redefine public arts spaces for years to come. The caliber of artists is unusual for a retail center, because the developers of the Fashion Outlets of Chicago seek to fuse fashion and art in a new and innovative way.

The $250 million mall is the first fully enclosed multi-level fashion outlet center to appear in Chicago in more than two decades. Located in the Village of Rosemont, it occupies a premium location adjacent to O’Hare International Airport and within minutes of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, with easy highway and public-transit access to downtown Chicago.

“The Arts Initiative hopes to bring change to the social experience between people and places,” said Arthur Weiner, founder of The Arts Initiative. “It is my wish that we can weave the artists, the art, and The Arts Initiative into the fabric of everyday life, thereby providing a fresh and enriching experience.” The complete artist listing selected for The Arts Initiative at Fashion Outlets of Chicago includes:

Daniel Arsham: Described by the New York Times as an artist whose work “blurs the lines between art, architecture and performance,” he’s best known for his involvement in Brooklyn-based design collective, Snarkitecture, and is represented by Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin in Paris, RonMandos Gallery in Amsterdam and OHWOW in Los Angeles.

Bhakti Baxter: Inspired by the relationship between mind and matter, his art has appeared in solo exhibitions in his hometown of Miami, as well as international showings at the Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery in Paris and the Federica Schiavo Gallery in Rome.

Jim Drain: Based in Miami and characterized by Sight Unseen magazine as having a “multitasking approach to art,” he has been recognized numerous times for his knitted sculptures, most notably in the exhibitions “I Wish I Had a Break” and “I Would Gnaw On My Hand.”

Friends With You: Best known for their ability to blur the lines of reality and fantasy through interactive sculpture, this Miami-based collective is the brainchild of artists Samuel Albert Borkson & Arturo Sandoval III, who have gained international recognition from exhibitions in France, Hong Kong and Germany.

Cody Hudson: A true jack of all trades, he has shown paintings at the Museum of Contemporary Art, created a custom pair of Nike sneakers for the Chicago Marathon, and serves as part-owner of Michelin starred restaurant Longman and Eagle, all while maintaining a style coined by Chicago magazine as “abstract, [and] colorful.”

Alvaro Ilizarbe: As founder of LA-based design studio Freegums, Ilizarbe is well-versed in the integration of art and fashion, having even collaborated with brands like Nike to create a customized pair of LeBron 9 basketball shoes.

Andrew Nigon: Heralded by Wonderland magazine as “one the most hotly-tipped artists to emerge out of the Miami scene,” he evokes a self-described circus aesthetic and religious iconography with his creations, which can be seen in galleries across the country as far as Puerto Rico. Nigon is represented by Miami-based Primary Projects.

Kenton Parker: An eclectic artist whose projects, according to Flavorpill, “play the field with video, sculpture installation, and painting,” he is best known for site-specific installations in Miami and Los Angeles. Parker is represented by Miami-based Primary Projects.

Bert Rodriguez: Drawing heavily from performance and tactile communication, his personal art has been included in the Whitney Biennial, the Bass Museum of Art and the Fredric Snitzer Gallery, as well as the OHWOW collective.

Jen Stark: With a primary focus on contemporary paper sculpture, her pieces have been described by Wired as “indeed hypnotic” and have been shown in over 40 group and solo exhibitions reaching as far as Thailand and Australia.

Austyn Weiner: Esteemed by the Huffington Post as someone who “will one day be credited with creating the most iconic images of our time,” she creates as a way to reveal truths about the human experience.

Installations will begin this month and are slated to be unveiled prior to the public opening on August 1. For more information on The Arts Initiative and to get to know the debut artists, visit www.theartsinitiative.com.


The Arts Initiative is an organization founded for the purpose of bringing art to public and private places. Museum-quality visual art, made accessible by the organization, is thrust directly into high-density spaces such as malls, stadiums, municipal and governmental buildings in an effort to initiate a positive dialogue on how public spaces are developed and built. Designing properties as vessels of so-called ‘permanent impermanence’, The Arts Initiative aims to bring emerging art and entertainment to the general public on a fluid, evolutionary and revolutionary platform: Inspire, Create, Develop. Follow The Arts Initiative on Instagram @TheArtsInitiative.

Fashion Outlets of Chicago, located in Rosemont, IL, is developed, owned and operated by AWE Talisman and Macerich. The 530,000 square foot fully enclosed structure spans two floors and includes a diverse portfolio of more than 130 outlets. The Fashion Outlets of Chicago will open August 1, 2013. For additional information, please visit our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @FashionChicago.

Primary Projects is a multidisciplinary space, positioned at the heart of the Miami World Center / Downtown Miami, which aims to explore and promote multiple forms of aesthetic expression from established and emerging artists, alike. Utilizing extensive, and wholly specific, experience in producing street-level curatorial endeavors in Miami, the creative forces behind Primary Projects unites the commercial and critical efforts of artists, critics, curators, professionals and patrons; the result is the vital presence of an intelligent, alternative arts environment with an bold urban sensibility delivered through a diverse range of media. Follow Primary Projects on Instagram @primaryprojects.

Dejha Carrington : dejha@dejhacarington.com

The Arts Initiative – Chicago Project from The Arts Initiative on Vimeo.