Indianapolis, Indiana – At the commencement of the second annual Legacy Fest last Friday, Kristian Little-Stricklen, the President of the Madam Walker Legacy Center, astonished attendees with an unforeseen proclamation.
As an element of the organization’s forthcoming strategic plan, it was revealed that the rooftop of the iconic Walker Theatre building is set to undergo a transformation. Planned by Meticulous Design + Architecture, the renovation will repurpose the space into an outdoor venue for performances and gatherings.
“The Madam Walker Legacy Center has consistently been a pillar in Indiana Avenue and its local community,” stated Little-Stricklen. “With the initiation of this aesthetically pleasing rooftop project, we aim for it to also become our crowning achievement.”
Following the first revelation, Little-Stricklen unveiled another surprising news – a substantial grant of $250,000 as seed funding from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. This grant will act as a catalyst for the rooftop renovation project and bolster the center’s leadership efforts to secure full funding for the overall project.
The motivation behind this undertaking, she explained, is to pay homage to Madam Walker and the historical Indiana Avenue, which she was instrumental in developing.
As chair of the Madam Walker Legacy Center, Nichole Wilson shared the encouraging news that the center is “revitalized, renovated, and ready to lead,” particularly as the city plans to invest in redevelopment along Indiana Avenue.
The gala dinner that night was to be followed by a performance from the seven-time Grammy winner, humanitarian, and philanthropist Gladys Knight. Little-Stricklen and Congressman Andre Carson took this occasion to honor the R&B legend.
Congressman Carson provided a Congressional Record of his recognition of the “Empress of Soul” from June 14, 2023, in the U.S. House of Representatives. Concurrently, Little-Stricklen introduced Knight’s star on the Madam Walker Legacy Center Walk of Fame.
Little-Stricklen praised Knight’s contributions off-stage as a philanthropist and humanitarian, stating that these efforts truly “embody the spirit of our founder. We’re proud to showcase her on the stage that Madam Walker built.”
Approximately 5,000 people partook in the Legacy Fest 2023, which successfully raised $500,000 to buttress the organization’s year-round STEAM, entrepreneurship, women’s equity, social justice, and arts programs.
The next Legacy Fest has been scheduled for June 14, 2024.