One might think that an abandoned 1920s bank on Chicago’s South Side, crumbling from top to bottom would be destroyed. Like so many other decaying structures in the area, that was certainly the fate of the Stony Island Savings & Loan building before artist and Chicago resident Theaster Gates intervrned.
Gates acquired the 20,000-square-foot bank for $1.00 from the city of Chicago and set about an unbelievable restoration. A true visionary, he turned it into a beautiful world class arts center.
In a press release Gates describes the Arts Bank as “an institution of and for the South Side,” “a repository for African American culture and history, a laboratory for the next generation of black artists,” and “a space for neighborhood residents to preserve, access, reimagine and share their heritage, as well as a destination for artists, scholars, curators, and collectors to research and engage with South Side history.”
Stony Island Arts Bank is open to the public Thursday through Sunday noon-6pm.