Make your home page

Madam Walker Legacy Center raising funds for rooftop space

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Madam Walker Legacy Center is hoping to enter phase two of renovations, starting with a new rooftop event space.

A $250,000 grant is helping the center get started on donation efforts.

The Madam Walker building is nearly synonymous with Indiana Avenue. Knowing the history of music, entertainment, and business, representatives hope developing this rooftop will be an ode to that era and a much-needed economic driver.

Just four years shy of 100 years old, Walker Theatre hasn’t lost its luster. Madame Walker Legacy Center representatives say they hope to add a bit more shine.

“We have an amazing view from Indiana Avenue at that point, and we’re really excited about having the opportunity to now move forward,” said Kristian Strickland, President of the Madam Walker Legacy Center.

The non-profit is set to release its four-year strategic plan, and part of the plan includes transforming the rooftop of this city icon. Renovating and repurposing it as an outdoor performance and gathering space.

“Whether that is from a music perspective or programming, there’s a lot of things, great things, about what Madam Walker is able to do,” Strickland said.

The first phase of renovations began in 2018, which allowed representatives to start reviving programming in 2021. As other venues and organizations are incorporating indoor and outdoor experiences, Strickland says this will help them be competitive.

“It is all part of making sure that the Walker is never in the situation it was in before, and we know that we have to keep moving with the times,” she said.

A $250,000 seed-funding grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust has got fundraising efforts off to a good start, but they’ll need support from many more people and businesses to make it a reality.

The board is creating a rooftop project committee that is in the process of formulating the next steps before releasing a formalized fundraising strategy.

“From the bottom up, we want to make sure that we continue to drive people back down to the Avenue, and be able to provide a variety of options,” Strickland said.