The Rebuild Foundation


Theaster Gates, the sculptor and international artist who’s work has been displayed in world renowned galleries such as The Whitney in New York and The White Cube in London is the founder of The Rebuild Foundation.

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After studying Iowa he returned to his home town of Chicago in 2006 and wanted to give back to his community and invest in the people and buildings in the South Side of the city which was a rundown district afflicted with social problems and gun violence.


In 2009, Gates founded the Rebuild Foundation to help transform and breath life back into the neglected neighbourhoods in the South Side through affordable accommodation, artist studios and cultural institutions. At the heart of these projects is Stony Island Arts Bank, which the Rebel Foundation bought from The City of Chicago for $1 in 2013 and spent $4.5m from Fundraising, loans and his own money to convert this building into a community exhibition centre, library and hub for the neighbourhood.  


Today the Rebuild Foundation has become a leading example of a platform for art, cultural development, and neighbourhood transformation. The rebuild Foundation support artists and strengthen communities by providing free arts programming, creating new cultural amenities, and developing affordable housing, studio, and live-work space. Their mission is to demonstrate the impact of innovative, ambitious and entrepreneurial arts and cultural initiatives.

Their work is driven by three core values: black people matter, black spaces matter, and black objects matter and in turn they are using this to leverage the power and potential of communities, buildings, and objects that others have written off.