Local artist saves a piece of Chicago history for $1

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - One dollar can’t buy much these days but for one Chicago artist, $1 bought a big piece of Chicago history.

Because for Theaster Gates, Chicago history is worth saving and reminding the world just what beauty the South Side has to offer.

For a long time, the Stony Island Savings and Loan had seen better days.

Nearly 100-years-old, abandoned and untouched since the 1980’s, it was a crumbling reminder of a glorious and prosperous period of the South Side that, these days, seems so long ago.

Enter Gates, a Chicago artist who is the founder of the non-profit Rebuild Foundation, an organization that encourages culture in underdeveloped neighborhoods.

Just days before the bank was to be demolished, Gates bought it from the city for $1 and transformed it into a blank slate for artists to create, inspire, and display.

The bank now stands as an incredible testament to and collection of African American culture and history.

From a library full of Johnson Publishing’s works to the personal vinyl collection of Frankie Knuckles, the Stony Island Savings and Loan holds the history of an era that shouldn’t be forgotten in a neighborhood that could use a reminder.

Maybe a dollar can buy something after all.

The bank is now named the Stony Island Arts Bank and is open to the public.

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