Monday Inspiration: Theaster Gates

The revival of the Stony Island Arts Bank began when Chicago artist Theaster Gates bought the vacant building from the city for $1. He raised funds to transform it into a cultural center and library serving the South Side community. This fantastic space recently opened to the public and I photographed it for Chicagoist.

Gates discussed the Arts Bank and his other public works projects in a TED Talk this March. This quote is his inspired answer to the moderator’s comment: “You make such a compelling case for the importance of beauty and the arts. Others would argue that funds are better spent on basic services for the disadvantaged.”

I’ve been a fan of Gates’ work since I had the opportunity to interview him a few years ago. His TED Talk speaks to his training as a potter and how a small piece of clay can grow to a larger artistic or social movement.

Here’s another favorite quote from his presentation regarding his work with Rebuild Foundation:

“What do we do with these abandoned buildings? I was trying to wake them up using culture.”

The Stony Island Arts Bank is currently serving as a venue for the Chicago Architecture Biennial and may be visited Tuesday – Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Stony Island Arts Bank
6760 S Stony Island Ave.
Chicago, IL 60649

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