Ambitious. Intelligent. Independent.

"I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don't sit down and wait for opportunities to come. Get up and make them." - Madam C.J. Walker

Hello Madam Walker Legacy Center Supporters!

Our building is currently undergoing renovations and we are currently closed. Our staff is currently operating at the Julia Carson Government Center, 300 East Fall Creek Parkway, Indianapolis, IN, 46205. Please make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for information about our programming and construction updates.

If you have any questions or need any additional information please feel free to contact us at 317-236-2099.

To assist our renovation efforts with a tax-deductible donation, please click the button below.

Donate

Hello Madam Walker Legacy Center Supporters!

Our building is currently undergoing renovations and we are currently closed. Our staff is currently operating at the Julia Carson Government Center, 300 East Fall Creek Parkway, Indianapolis, IN, 46205. Please make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for information about our programming and construction updates.

If you have any questions or need any additional information please feel free to contact us at 317-236-2099.

To assist our renovation efforts with a tax-deductible donation, please click the button below.

In January 2018, the Madam Walker Legacy Center (MWLC) and Indiana University (IU) embarked on a new partnership that will continue in the rich legacy and tradition of Madam C.J. Walker and include a complete renovation of the MWLC building and new programming.

The collaboration and the future renovations are all part of a larger strategic plan to elevate its profile and reach and ensure long-term sustainability. This partnership will lay the necessary groundwork to place the MWLC on a stronger path forward to better serve the current generation of leaders, entrepreneurs and community members, as well as those to come.

Critical to this endeavor is the generous grant support of the Lilly Endowment Inc., totaling more than $15.3 million which will assist in the transitional operations of the MWLC and a full renovation of the building, with state-of-the-art equipment, operational system updates and exterior improvements.

Additionally, through this effort, the MWLC will be able to focus on critical programming in the areas of art, financial literacy, leadership, entrepreneurship and philanthropy.

This new programmatic thrust will help to ensure the Walker’s sustainability and economic viability, and includes a new slate of class offerings, workshops, seminars and a speaker series in partnership with IUPUI, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, to help better serve the community. The MWLC program offerings are built on collaborative partnerships and the board of directors will engage the local community to provide thoughts in shaping future programming and partnership opportunities. In addition, space rental will continue in the newly renovated facility for public use.

Both the partnership and the support of the Lilly Endowment Inc., along with the strategic rebranding, including a name change to the Madam Walker Legacy Center is an important step towards the MWLC long-term sustainability. Renovations are expected over an 18-month period, which accounts for contracting, permits, approvals and construction with the expected public opening of the new Madam Walker Legacy Center in 2019. As the last surviving iconic building on Indiana Avenue, a vibrant, active and modernized MWLC, will benefit the community for decades to come.

Madam Walker Legacy Center FAQ’s

1. When will the restoration be completed?
Late December 2019, early January 2020.


2. When will the building be occupied?
We will reoccupy the building in two phases. In Phase 1 The Madam Walker Legacy Center and possibly tenants will move in, with the Walker hosting the theater‘s first event on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration. In Phase 2, the 4th floor will be open and fully available as an event space.


3. What is the relationship between the Walker Building and Indiana University?
Madam Walker is the owner and landlord. IU is the master tenant for the building.


4. What are the improvements made in this restoration, what has changed?
This building was originally built in the 1920s, subsequently, the focus of our restoration has been to improve the building’s infrastructure to ensure its sustainability for the next 50 years. This includes, heating and cooling systems, updated and increased number of bathroom facilities, lighting and electrical systems, new roofing and installation of a new larger elevator that will stop on the ballroom level. In addition, aesthetic improvements such as new windows at ground level, installation of new carpet, painting and creating a newly designed pre-function gathering place, which will visually anchor the first-floor corner abutting Indiana Avenue.



5. What has been improved in the Theater, will it still retain its seating capacity?
The existing fixed seats will be removed, repaired, repainted, re-cushioned and reupholstered. Additional improvements include installation of flat areas to allow for wheelchair accommodations and flexible seating in several areas on the ground level as well as, enlarged aisles and ramps to further improve accessibility. Seating capacity will maintain pre-restoration capacity. Other improvements include a new HVAC and LED lighting with improved cinema and theatrical lighting and sound systems.


6. What will happen to the former Museum space? Artifacts from Madam C.J. Walker’s life and business will be prominently displayed throughout the building.


7. How can the public book events at the Walker? Inquiries for rental space should be directed to the Event and Conference Service Team. 317-236-2099


8. What about the programming, will we have new offerings?
Yes. New and enhanced multimedia tours, Empowerment Series providing forums in entrepreneurialism, philanthropy and advocacy as well as, a National Performance Cultural Series. The “Avenue Series” will celebrate events such as Music on the Avenue and Art on the Avenue.


9. Is there office space available for lease?
Currently, no additional office space is available for lease.

Judith Thomas

Madam Walker President

I am excited to be a part of the revitalization of The Madam Walker Legacy Center.  I look forward to celebrating the cultural past of the building and Indiana Avenue while creating new energy, ideas and partnerships in the years to come. Madam Walker was a woman full of pride and ingenuity and her vision is still alive today in the Madam Walker Legacy Center.” – Judith B. Thomas

Born in Gary, Indiana, Judith B. Thomas and moved to Indianapolis in 1977 where she attended North Central High School and Butler University. She has held positions at WRTV Channel 6, the Indiana Convention Center, the RCA Dome and was the Director of Marketing at the National Federation of State High School Associations. Most recently she was the Director of Convention Services at Visit Indy.

Her expertise in facility management, sales, marketing, contract and union management, as well as stakeholder relations will effectively usher the Madam Walker Legacy Center into its next chapter. These talents coupled with her sound critical thinking skills, strategic problem-solving expertise and ability to unify unique and diverse audiences will open the doors to new partnerships and innovative programming that will support the new mission and vision of the organization.

She has a love for all things artistic including jazz, dance, literature, theatre and visual arts. Thomas and her husband Joe have been married for over 20 years and have 4 children.

Our Partners

The Madam Walker Legacy Center invites the community to become a part of our journey. Building renovations will be complete during Spring 2020. Please consider this when submitting your inquiry.

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617 Indiana Avenue

Indianapolis, Indiana 46202

317-236-2099

An integral part of the Indianapolis legacy, the Madam Walker Legacy Center is a 501 c3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of Madam C.J. Walker by providing cultural education, promoting social justice, supporting entrepreneurship and empowering youth to become the next generation of business owners and civic leaders.

The MWLC seeks to empower, educate and entertain and uses its historic building as a venue for celebrating cultural diversity, rich heritage and cultural traditions, primarily through art from the African-American perspective.