This Abandoned Bank Was Transformed Into A Gorgeous Arts Center (11 PICS)

Artist Theaster Gates has converted a derelict bank building in a low-income Chicago neighbourhood into a cultural venue with galleries, event space, and libraries for books and vinyl records (+ slideshow).

Called Stony Island Arts Bank, the project is the latest by Gates, a social activist artist and urban planner known for purchasing and transforming dilapidated structures in the city's South Side district into cultural facilities.

Encompassing more than 17,000 square feet (1,580 square metres), the new arts centre will host the opening event on Saturday for the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Gates calls the Stony Island Arts Bank "a laboratory for the next generation of black artists and culture-interested people; a platform to showcase future leaders," according to a statement.

Gates purchased the property from the city in 2013 for $1 (£0.66). To help fund its refurbishment, he salvaged marble components from the structure and crafted them into 100 rectangular blocks he dubbed "bank bonds". Via

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