Rebuild Foundation And Theaster Gates Open Newly Restored Stony Island Arts Bank

Interior of Stony Island Arts Bank-Photo by Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing

Interior of Stony Island Arts Bank-Photo by Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing

After years of decay, the newly-restored Stony Island Arts Bank is ready to shine again.

The 17,000 square foot building was the most ambitious project undertaken by Rebuild Foundation and its founder, artist/urban planner Theaster Gates, Jr.

Stony Island Arts Bank will officially re-open on Oct. 3 as a primary venue for the Chicago Architectural Biennial. A sneak preview was offered over the weekend at the facility at 68th Street and Stony Island.

Stony Island Arts Bank-Photo By Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing

Stony Island Arts Bank-Photo By Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing

The Arts Bank building, designed by William Gibbons Uffendell and erected in 1923, fell into disrepair as the once-thriving neighborhood declined. It is hoped that the reopening will help regenerate the surrounding area and serve as a space for residents to gather, and for artists to engage with South Side history.

During the Architecture Biennial, the Arts Bank will be open to the public with an installation by Portuguese artists Carlos Bunga. A new courtyard designed by Mexican architect Frida Escobedo will also be featured.

The Arts Bank will be a premiere location for contemporary art, and serve as home to several prominent collections. Those will include:

  • The Johnson Publishing Company’s archives
  • The Edward J. Williams Collection
  • 60,000 glass lantern slides donated by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • The vinyl collection of Frankie Knuckles, AKA, the godfather of house music
Location: 6760 South Stony Island Avenue, South Shore

Bill Motchan

Author: Bill Motchan

Bill Motchan is a writer and photographer, and a former resident of the West Loop. He can be reached at bill@ChicagoArchitecture.org.

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