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Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation
Sarah Herda, Ken Stewart
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation
Anita Blanchard, Glenn Ligon, Martin Nesbitt, Victoria Rogers
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation
Eugenie Tsai, Rujeko Hockley, Hank Willis Thomas
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation
Linda johnson Rice, Thelma Golden
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation
Bob Faust, Anne Pasternak, Marlene Breslow Blitstein, Nick Cave
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation
Carrie Mae Weems
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation
Linda johnson Rice, Frederick Dunson, Desiree Rogers
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation
Theaster Gates, David Adjaye
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation
Okwui Enwezor, Theaster Gates, Ken Stewart
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation
Theaster Gates and Chris Ofili
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation
Theaster Gates, Ken Stewart
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation
Lifestyle

Rebuild’s Inuagural Benefit and Opening of The Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago

By Katy Donoghue

September 22, 2015

Last Saturday, the Rebuild Foundation held its inaugural BUILD | REBUILD benefit at the newly restored Stony Island Arts Bank on the South Side of Chicago. The organization, which was founded in 2010 by artist Theaster Gates, celebrated the opening of its most ambitious project to date, which was also the site of the benefit. The Arts Bank joins the Black Cinema House, Dorchester Projects, and Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative sites that make up the active sties of the foundation.

Upon entering the former bank (a once-dilapidated site Gates purchased from the city for one dollar in 2012), guests got a first look at the newly renovated space – with many of its original details, like the vault downstairs, kept intact – that will open to the public on Saturday, October 3 with a “Night of Illumination” opening celebration. It was also a first chance for attendees to see a site-specific installation “Under the Skin” by Portuguese artist Carlos Bunga, part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial that opens next week. And while the Stony Island Arts Bank will continue to host exhibitions and events, it also offers multiple cultural and historic resources the organization hopes the community will use. Over drinks, guests had the chance to explore the site’s second floor and impressive library of the Johnson Publishing Archives and collection of more than 60,000 glass lantern slides from The University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which range in subject from Primitivist art to the Modernist period.

Open Gallery

Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation

Rebuild’s CEO, Ken Stewart, along with Gates, were joined by over 150 guests, for what felt like a very intimate gathering of artists, philanthropists, cultural and community leaders, both from Chicago and abroad. At a long center table of the bank’s atrium, between towering steel beams, sat artists like Kerry James Marshall, Hank Willis Thomas, Glenn Ligon, Nick Cave, Chris Ofili, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, and Carrie Mae Weems (who gave her very own toast after Gates gave his). There was architect David Adjaye with his wife, in town for the opening of his exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago the previous evening, sitting next to curators, museum directors, and gallerists like Okwui Enwezor, Thelma Golden, Sarah Herda, Anne Pasternak, Michael Darling, Naomi Beckwith, Tony Karman, Rhona Hoffman, Jay Jopling, and Shaun Regen.

The family-style dinner, enjoyed on tables, chairs, and pottery designed specifically for the occasion by Gates’ studio, was created by chef Erick Williams of mk restaurant in Chicago. Williams and Gates are frequent collaborators, and the chef volunteers as a a mentor and educator for local youth. On Saturday night, a prailine and mustard green salad was followed by blackened shrimp Americaine, marinated trumpet mushrooms, cider-braised short ribs, sharp cheddar grits, late summer corn salad, spiced summer squash, and buttermilk biscuits with a whipped strawberry rhubarb butter.

Open Gallery

Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation

After the delectable meal and a couple of lively toasts, Meshell Ndegeocello performed amid the Johnson Publishing archive library, followed by an intimate performance from jazz pianist Jason Moran on the third floor. Later, DJ Alan King turned the evening into a dance party spinning vinyl records from legendary house music DJ Frankie Knuckles’ collection (also housed on the third floor of the Arts Bank, alongside the collection of Edward J. Williams featuring “negrobilia” dating from the Civil War era to the present, acquired in an attempt to remove offensive materials and stereotypical images of black diaspora from circulation).

Rebuild goes beyond the art and design world in scope, and so the evening was hosted by honorary co-chairs Amy Rule and Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, and a committee that included Anita Blanchard, Lisa Yun Lee, Liz & Eric Lefkofsky, Sandy Reynolds, Cari & Michael J. Sacks, Chelsea & James Smith, and Chance the Rapper.

Open Gallery

Sarah Herda, Ken Stewart
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation

The lucky few in attendance left feeling energized and invested in Rebuild’s future on the South Side of Chicago and beyond.

Open Gallery

Anita Blanchard, Glenn Ligon, Martin Nesbitt, Victoria Rogers
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation

Rebuild Foundation is a nonprofit organization that endeavors to rebuild the cultural foundations of underinvested neighborhoods and incite movements of community revitalization that are culture based, artist led, and neighborhood driven.

Open Gallery

Eugenie Tsai, Rujeko Hockley, Hank Willis Thomas
Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com, Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation
Alan KingAmy RuleAnita BlanchardAnne PasternakArt Institute of ChicagoCABCari & Michael J. SacksCarlos BungaCarrie Mae WeemsChance the Rapper.Chelsea & James SmithCheryl Lynn BruceChicagoChicago Architecture BiennialChris OfiliDavid AdjayeDorchester ProjectsEdward J. WilliamsErick WilliamsEXPO ChicagoFrankie KnucklesGlenn LigonHank Willis ThomasJason MoranJay JoplingKaty DonoghueKen StewartKerry James MarshallLisa Yun LeeLiz & Eric LefkofskyMeshell NdegeocelloMichael DarlingmkNaomi BeckwithNick CaveOkwui EnwezorRahm EmanuelRebuildRhona HoffmanSandy ReynoldsSarah HerdaShaun RegenStony Island Arts BankTheaster GatesThelma GoldenTony KarmanWhitewallWhitewaller

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