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Stony Island Arts Bank

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Address

6760 S. Stony Island Ave.

Neighborhood

South Shore

Architect

William Gibbons Uffendell, 1923

Renovation

Theaster Gates, 2015

Description

The temple-like former Stony Island Trust and Savings Bank is one of the last remnants of what was once a dense commercial strip along Stony Island Avenue. The gray terra cotta structure, originally the Stony Island Savings and Trust, was built in 1923 with a dramatic vaulted banking lobby. Its architect, William Gibbons Uffendell, also designed a number of other local bank buildings. It served a succession of financial institutions, but lost its tenants in the late seventies and remained vacant for many years. The building was saved from demolition at the last minute by artist Theaster Gates. Now, this landmark has been restored and reopened as the Stony Island Arts Bank, a hub for free arts and cultural programming for Gates' Rebuild Foundation. The building houses items from the library of Ebony and Jet magazine's founding publisher John H. Johnson; the record collection of seminal house DJ Frankie Knuckles; and several other notable artistic collections.