One of the most recognizable fine arts venues in Indianapolis is undergoing a major renovation. The work at the 1890s-era Athenaeum Theatre is being co-ordinated by the Athenaeum Foundation Inc. and is expected to be complete in the middle of the month. January 6, 2015
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Athenaeum Foundation is working with a group of benefactors to renovate the Athenaeum Theatre back to its original 1893 design.
The Efroymson Fund, a Central Indiana Community Foundation affiliate, and current tenant Young Actors Theatre, have each donated $10,000 towards the cause. Other contributions include $20,000 from current tenant Indy Metro Church and a Klipsch Surround System from Heartland Film.
“We're very excited to invest in such a historic theater to help create an incredible future for Indianapolis residents for years to come,” said Aaron Story, pastor of Indy Metro Church.
“Young Actors Theatre works with 1,900 K-12 graders a year from every side of Indianapolis,” said Justin Wade, Young Actors Theatre executive artistic director. “The Athenaeum is a second home for them and YAT is committed to partnering with the Athenaeum to make the Athenaeum Theatre a destination spot in Indianapolis as it becomes a world class city.”
Sponsoring the project with an additional $10,000, the Athenaeum Foundation is coordinating the theater's renovation installations. A new main curtain and legs, screen, projector and updates to the electrical system will all be added to the theater. In addition, the two prosceniums, which were added in 1999 and 2005, will be removed to expose the original proscenium.
“It's a collaboration of different organizations coming together who understand the building, its historical significance and contemporary uses, and their role in it,” said Athenaeum Foundation President, Cassie Stockamp. “We are extremely thankful for our supporters who are giving their time and money to make the Athenaeum a better place for our community to gather.”
The historic German-American theater will continue to serve the public in consideration of the founders' vision for the space to engage diverse communities. The Athenaeum Theatre may be rented for various occasions including worship, meetings, weddings, fundraisers, dinners and performances.
The theater's renovations began the week of December 15 and are scheduled to be complete by the middle of January.
The Athenaeum, formerly known as the Das Deutsche Haus, preserves and enhances its historic German-American landmark to advance the “sound mind in a sound body” values of its founders through programming that lifts spirits and engages diverse communities. Built in 1894, it serves as a community center for many cultural, business and nonprofit groups including the YMCA, Young Actors Theatre and the Rathskeller restaurant. The Athenaeum is listed three times in the National Registry of Historic Places for architecture and historical significance, as part of the Massachusetts Avenue Commercial District and as being within the Lockerbie Square historic district. In 2010, the Biergarten was voted the No. 1 music venue in the city of Indianapolis by NUVO magazine. Metromix voted the Rathskeller as the No. 1 bar in the city in 2010.
The Athenaeum Foundation Inc. was established in 1991 and is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Source: The Athenaeum Foundation Inc.