Historic Dunbar Theatre Fundraising Consultant & Project Manager RFP Notice

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For the latest Press Release on the Dunbar Theater (in PDF format), click here.


"Thank you for the work you and the other volunteers of Power Community Development Corporation do for the McAdams neighborhood revitalization effort.

I am happy to enclose a check for $5,000 to support Power CDC. I would ask that the entire amount go to redeveloping the Dunbar Theater.

Jeff Colyer and I are proud to support your efforts to revitalize the McAdams neighborhood. We wish you the best of luck with POWER CDC's endeavors."

~ Gov. Sam Brownback
  State of Kansas
  June 30, 2011

The Dunbar Movie Theater was named after the
African-American Poet,
Paul Laurence Dunbar ...

Famed poet and author
Paul Laurence Dunbar
(1872 - 1906) became known as "the poet of his people" ... for his genius in writing verse in African American dialect that powerfully conveyed the feelings of slaves before and after emancipation.

Dunbar's literary skills were so developed that he bridged an immense racial divide to be singularly recognized by America's reigning literary critic, William Dean Howells, for the brilliance of his work.

Despite worsening health from tuberculosis at age 34, Dunbar produced a prodigious collection of short stories and novels during a creative outpouring from 1898 to 1904.

While some of Dunbar's work was light and sentimental, appealing to popular tastes and generating strong sales, he also authored poetry and prose decrying lynching and the unjust treatment of African-Americans.

Dunbar was featured on a "Black Heritage" series United States Postal Service Stamp issued in 1975.

Arts Classes - Dunbar Center will provide low-cost art classes to the general public.
Rental Opportunities - Dunbar Center will allow non-art organizations and businesses an opportunity to use the center, and experience the amenities and ambiance offered by the facility.
Serving a Diverse Population - The Dunbar Theater will serve various populations through a variety of art classes. Performing Arts services are important in supplementing the education of special populations.
Programming for youth - Dunbar Center expands educational and cultural programming for at-risk youth, after-school programs will be offered for elementary, middle school & high school students.
Arts are an economic driver - for every $1 invested in the arts, $9 are generated for the economy in Kansas. Kansans value the arts, because more people are engaged in the arts in Kansas than in any other state -- and they vote.
Arts are vital to communities. The state must support arts programs in the areas that need arts the most, which include the McAdams Neighborhood and northeast Wichita communities. A lack of funding for arts programs will negatively impact these areas tremendously.
Public investment is focused on opportunities that support private sector growth, such as development that focuses on making the McAdams Neighborhood more safe, liveable, attractive to young people and neighborly.


   We develop inner-city Wichita!

(click photos to enlarge)
Renovation of the Historic Dunbar Theater
click here for MORE INFO

PROGRESS! New facade, marquee, sign & entrance:
With new facade, sign, marquee, and entrance, the Dunbar Theater of TODAY, moving forward. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Dunbar Theater Future

artist's concept of the Dunbar Theater of the future.

1940s party at Dunbar Theater

drawings of the Dunbar Theater to come.

for the Dunbar Theater project.
drawings of the Dunbar Theater to come.


At POWER CDC, we're delighted to tell you about an exciting, new, community-based cultural arts initiative that is unfolding within the historic McAdams African-American neighborhood, right here in Wichita, Kansas. It is bringing the best of the past alive, with a new center of energy for the future...

The DUNBAR THEATER -- built in 1941, at 1007 N. Cleveland Street in the McAdams neighborhood -- served until 1963 as the only movie theater available to the African-American community in Wichita.

The Dunbar Theater holds a special place in the memories of many as a cornerstone of what was once the thriving commercial hub of Wichita's African-American community during the 1940s and 1950s. Many enthusiastically recall the popularity of the bustling neighborhood -- with its drug store, ice cream shop, hair salons, cafes -- and the Dunbar Theater for movies.

For decades, now, though, the theater has been vacant, deteriorating slowly, along with the surrounding neighborhood. However, a recent revival of interest in inner-city property for new development has brought new hope and new life to old neighborhoods, including the McAdams Neighborhood.

Community-Based Cultural Arts Initiative

In June 2003, the Wichita City Council adopted the McAdams Neighborhood Revitalization Plan to guide the revitalization of the neighborhood. A key component of reviving the neighborhood is bringing the Dunbar Theater back to life... as a community-based visual- and performing-arts center -- serving as the anchor for a rerbirth of commercial development at the intersection of 9th Street and Cleveland.

Earlier this year, the City of Wichita decided to commission a Feasibility Study to determine the viability of redeveloping the theater as a visual and performing arts center.  The study found that redevelopment of the Dunbar Theater will fill an unmet niche in the community for a performing arts venue with approximately 200 seats -- while also providing the surrounding neighborhoods with a much-needed facility to host meetings, receptions, youth activities and civic events.

The study estimates that the Dunbar Theater can be reopened for about $1.5 million -- a fraction of the cost of a new theater, bringing the Theater to life for its first public uses. Additional improvements will be done in two additional phases, costing approximately $1.5 million each, to achieve the full capability of the Theater. The Dunbar Theater Redevelopment Feasibility Study Report is available for viewing at the City of Wichita Planning artist's concept of the Dunbar Theater of the future. Dept. website. (CLICK HERE.)

As part of a community-based initiative, POWER CDC is taking the lead role with the acquisition and re-development of the Dunbar Theater, and today owns this historic prize. Accordingly, POWER CDC is now accepting financial contributions to redevelop and operate the theater.

As Executive Director of POWER CDC, I ask for YOUR financial support in helping achieve the goal of transforming the Dunbar Theater into a community-serving visual and performing arts center, and ultimately transforming the Dunbar District into a joyous center of community life, once again.

Your generosity and support are greatly appreciated. Your contributions are tax-deductible, and can be sent to POWER CDC, at the address below.

- James Arbertha, Executive Director
   POWER Community Development Corp.
   1802 N. Hydraulic
   Wichita, KS 67214

To make a donation, please click here..

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