$15M renovation set for Walker theater in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A $15 million renovation is set for the 1920s-era theater building in downtown Indianapolis that’s named for pioneering African-American businesswoman Madam C.J. Walker.

The project over the next two years aims to refurbish and modernize the four-story triangular Madam Walker Legacy Center building. Money for the renovation is coming from a Lilly Endowment grant and comes as the center’s leaders are starting a new partnership with nearby Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis for it to host classes, seminars and a speaker series.

Walker Center board chairwoman Joyce Rogers says the IUPUI partnership will help it better continue Walker’s legacy as a self-made female millionaire.

Walker was born in Louisiana to former slaves but built a grooming-products empire in the early 1900s that was based in Indianapolis.