The St. Laurence school building. Photo: Place Lab.

Theaster Gates’s Rebuild Foundation Receives $300,000 from JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase has awarded $300,000 to artist Theaster Gates’s nonprofit the Rebuild Foundation—an arts, education, and cultural development initiative that aims to transform urban communities—in support of the final phase of its renovation of St. Laurence Catholic elementary school on Chicago’s South Side. Gates bought the school, which shuttered sixteen years ago, for $451,500 in 2014. It will serve as the new home for his foundation’s Arts and Innovation Incubator, which is currently housed at the Stony Island Arts Bank.

“Artisan entrepreneurs on Chicago’s South Side have the talent, drive, and innovative ideas they need to succeed—and now they also have the space and institutional support that all entrepreneurs need,” Gates said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to partner with JPMorgan Chase to bring life-changing, hands-on training and mentorship to small business owners in this part of the city.”

JPMorgan Chase’s investment in the initiative is part of the company’s three-year, $40 million campaign to revitalize Chicago’s South and West Sides by creating new economic opportunities. The Rebuild Foundation is also working toward the same goal by providing free arts programming, creating new cultural amenities, and developing affordable housing and studio spaces. According to its website, the Rebuild Foundation is part of a network of sister organizations, including Arts + Public Life, Place Lab, and the Space Fund, that collaborate to extend the social engagement of Gates’s studio practice.