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Arts United to receive $6 million READI grant

Arts United
Ella Abbott
The Arts United Center in downtown Fort Wayne.

Arts United will receive a $6 million grant to support modernizing and expanding the Arts United Center in downtown Fort Wayne.

The grant has been approved by the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority, which aims to support regional economic development strategies that make Indiana cities magnets for talent.

Arts United President Susan Mendenhall said the Arts United Center is an important historical landmark, built in the 1970s, but that also means it was built without accessibility in mind.

“So, the ability to allow people of all abilities to participate, not only as performers but onstage and backstage, is really important to us,” she said.

The modernization project is estimated as a $42.4 million investment. The money would support adding two elevators to the building, a passenger and a freight elevator.

Mendenhall also said the building’s technology needs to be updated to better support current technology and improve shows.

She said they’ve raised about 70 percent of that $42.4 million goal so far. They hope to reach the goal by early 2024, which will enable them to begin renovations in mid-2024.

Arts United has also received $3 million from the City of Fort Wayne, 3 million dollars from the Allen County Commissioners, $3 million from the Allen County Capital Improvement Board and private support from individuals, businesses and foundations.

Ella Abbott is a multimedia reporter for 89.1 WBOI. She is a strong believer in the ways audio storytelling can engage an audience and create a sensory experience.