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Stony Island Arts Bank - Project Items - Theaster Gates

Dancin' Minstrel with Tap Board, Edward J. Williams Collection.

Designed by William Gibbons Uffendell and built in 1923, the bank at 68th and Stony Island was once a vibrant community savings and loan. Today, the restored Stony Island Arts Bank provides the South Side of Chicago with 17,000 square feet of space for innovation in contemporary art and archival practice. Programs at Stony Island include Arts Bank Cinema, which is a free weekly screening and analytical discussion of films by and about black people, and exhibitions curated by and in partnership with local artists.

Archival collections housed at the Arts Bank include:

• Glass Lantern Slides, a collection of more than 60,000 glass lantern slides acquired from the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago. They cover art and architectural history from the Paleolithic period to the Modern era.

• Johnson Publishing Company, a collection of books and periodicals donated by the Johnson Publishing Company (JPC), publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines; JPC publications from the 1940s to the present day; and the inhouse library once used by JPC editors and writers.

• Frankie Knuckles Collection, the personal vinyl collection of the godfather of house music. Knuckles was one of the first DJs to perfect the art of mixing records and was known for overlaying electronic drum machine rhythms onto disco tracks.

• Edward J. Williams Collection, a collection of approximately 4,000 objects of “negrobilia” that make use of stereotypical images of black people. Williams began collecting these items 30 years ago to remove their offensive imagery from public circulation, and the collection now serves as a reminder of history and a catalyst for ongoing examination.

Stony Island Arts Bank

"Black Autonomy alone is too Radical for the current America."