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Kanye West wants to put a Yeezy office in Chicago and reopen the Avalon Regal Theater

Photograph: Cindy Barrymore/REX/Shutterstock

Kanye West's sudden appearance in Chicago at the end of August was treated with the requisite amount of celebrity fawning, as network affiliates stationed themselves in the Loop to catch a glimpse of the hip-hop superstar. In a brief interview with Fox 32, the Chicago-native revealed that he'd returned to his hometown from Los Angeles to work on music with Chance the Rapper. When asked why he comes back to Chicago, West replied, “It’s a super inspiring place that made me who I am, and I believe there’s some work that I can contribute to.” Thanks to a series of early morning tweets, we now have a better idea of what West has in mind.

West's first announcement unveiled his plans to create a Chicago office for his Yeezy footwear and clothing brand, setting up a place for local creatives to contribute to his various lines. Earlier this year, he announced plans to open Yeezy offices in New York, Wyoming and London, though its unclear if any of the locations have actually opened. 

Now that he holds an honorary degree from the School of the Art Institute, West is also making plans to join the world of academia. One of his tweets revealed his intention to teach a course at the Art Institute of Chicago as well as at the lesser-known American Academy of Art, a small private institution in the city that offers relatively affordable tuition and only enrolls 400 to 500 students.

West ended his Chicago-related tweets with a pair of announcements that were seemingly inspired by a visit to the Stony Island Art Bank, where philanthropist and artist Theaster Gates has turned a foreclosed bank into a community resource on the South Side. West stated that he wants to restore the Avalon Regal Theater, an ornate venue in South Chicago that opened in 1927 and hosted performers such as Michael Jackson, Herbie Hancock and the Supremes. The theater closed in 2003, but an investment group bought the aging auditorium last year and revealed plans to turn it into a venue that utilizes hologram technology.

With no mention of a timeframe, there's no indication of when any of these Chicago-based projects will see the light of day. It's important to keep in mind that West has a habit of brainstorming ideas via Twitter, only some of which actually come to fruition.

Take a look at West's tweets below and prepare yourself for even more breathless local news interviews if Kanye keeps his promises and starts spending more time in Chicago.


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