August 30, 2022

Madam Walker Legacy Center seeking community support for city's newest mural

Madam Walker Legacy Center President Kristian Little Stricklen - Taylor Bennett/WFYI

Madam Walker Legacy Center President Kristian Little Stricklen

Taylor Bennett/WFYI

A public fundraising campaign is underway for a new mural honoring pioneering entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker. WFYI's Taylor Bennett spoke with Madam Walker Legacy Center President Kristian Little Stricklen, about the latest project in the city’s Bicentennial Legends Mural Series.

Madam Walker Legacy Center President Kristian Stricklen:  You know, one of the things I really want the community to know is that this just isn't like the Madam Walker of Legacy Center's mural. We really want it to be the community's mural. And that's why we want the community's support, we want you to come out on Oct. 13, when we unveil it, but we also need your support, and getting it done. 

It is the second Madam Walker mural.  The first of course, is the temporary mural that is in the Indianapolis Airport. This will be a similar mural to that one. There will be a few small changes, but it will be right at the corner of Indiana Avenue and Senate Avenue. That's about two blocks away from our building. We're really excited about that.

That has some significance to it as well. Madam Walker was one of the first donors to the former Senate Avenue YMCA, which would have been, I believe, just like a block north of where the mural will be. So we're all about uplifting her legacy. And so this is a great way of lifting up the legacy of everything that she was, she was an entrepreneur, but she was also an amazing philanthropist in this city. So we're happy to be able to, you know, pull that together with this mural.

WFYI's Taylor Bennett:  Now, you mentioned that the second one is going to be just a little bit different. What do you hope that the second one highlights a little bit more?

Stricklen: I think, as far as Madam Walker is concerned, there won't be a lot of changes to it. It's just size wise, is just kind of maneuvering some of the pieces. It definitely will continue to highlight her. But also her beauty brands, which is definitely what we want, you know, people to remember that she actually didn't start her brands here. But they were able to expand and she was able to become that self made millionaire here in Indianapolis.

Bennett: Is it going to be the same artist?

Stricklen: It is. Tasha Beckwith is back. She's already in the studio working. And so yeah, we just cannot wait to see the final.

Bennett: You talked about the grand unveiling, what is that going to be like?

Stricklen:  It's going to be amazing.  We are working with the Indianapolis Arts Council, and also the Indianapolis cultural trail. Those are two of our partners in this and we are as well as Indiana Humanities and we are doing a contest. 

This is part of that Indiana Legend series. Last year, we had the unveiling of the Major Taylor mural. So Madam is the second mural in that series. And so we're working with the Indiana Humanities. There's a contest to find a poet that will actually have an original poem that will be read at the ceremony. And then we're working on a couple of other things that can't share yet but will soon. It will just be an amazing day and celebration of Madam.

Bennett:  Kristian Strickland, president of the Madam Walker Legacy Center, thank you so much for taking time to talk to us.

Stricklen: Thank you

Contact WFYI Morning Edition newscaster and reporter Taylor Bennett at Follow on Twitter: @TaylorB2213.

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