Arts Bank Poised to Open

The South Side will be getting another structure dedicated to art with the opening of the Stony Island Arts Bank, but with a focus on collective archives.

The Stony Island Arts Bank is set to officially open in October, in the previous location of the Stony Island Trust & Savings Bank building, 6760 S. Stony Island Ave., which was built back in 1923.

“The building has the same stature as the collections we are bringing together,” said Theaster Gates, the artistic director for the Rebuild Foundation, who is taking on the huge project.

Gates reportedly bought the deteriorating building for $1, according to Curbed Chicago, but he said renovating the building has been a tremendous effort and investment.

“It’s about a $5 million investment for this project, but it was the most majestic and most iconic building in the neighborhood,” he said. “We want to combat the perceived stereotypes of what can live on the South Side and what can live in Black communities.”

The 17,000 square foot space will focus on exhibiting works from numerous collections as well as archival care. Some of the collections that will be featured are Black memorabilia that spans over 100 years, dating back to the Civil War; Johnson Publishing Company archives, which includes publications such as EBONY Magazine and JET Magazine; and a vinyl record collection of DJ Frankie Knuckles, who is known as the “godfather of house music.”

Along with these archives, the Arts Bank will incorporate an innovative music program, which will include workshops on how to DJ, and residencies with architects and designers that will coincide with the collections.

“The bank will celebrate every day things of every day people, because every day things are the most important things in the world,” Gates said.

On Sept. 19, a ticketed fundraiser gala will take place at the Stony Island Arts Bank sponsored by Rebuild Chicago. Beginning Oct. 3, the Arts Bank will be open to the community, providing visitors a free look at contemporary art and archival practice.

Gates is excited to have such an innovative project located outside of the main downtown museums and centers to add to the rich vitality of the South Side communities.

“We want to demonstrate that great cultural spaces and amazing cultural programming is not left to downtown city center, but can happen in neighborhoods and can happen at the highest level possible,” Gates said.

[Via: Hyde Park Herald]

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