East St. Louis Action Research Project
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Providing Emergency Assistance to the Dunham Centers
Ms. Katherine Dunham, a world-renowned African American choreographer and dancer, came to East St. Louis in the late 1960s to provide arts and humanities training to children. In recent years, the Dunham Centers for Arts and Humanities have experienced financial difficulties, culminating in December, 1995, when electricity and gas service were terminated for non-payment of bills at the museum, school, offices and residence. Shortly thereafter, ESLARP formed an Emergency Assistance Committee to lend technical support to the Dunham Centers.
Nearly $25,000 in commitments was secured through ESLARP's efforts,
an emergency solicitation letter was sent to nearly 1,200 "Friends
of the Dunham Centers" and a stabilization plan was created. Students
carried out long-overdue interior and exterior maintenance projects at
the Dunham Dynamic Museum in early 1996 and worked with the Dunham Centers
and the Olivette Park Neighborhood Association to host a community open
house at the long-shuttered museum. On campus, ESLARP worked with the Department
of Dance and the College of Fine and Applied Arts to organize a dinner
in Ms. Dunham's honor, as part of an African American Dance Conference.
A presentation by Professor Reardon and remarks by Ms. Dunham helped raise
the awareness of the plight of the Dunham Centers within the arts community.
The University of Illinois contributed $8,000 to boost the fundraising
efforts of the Centers.
Document author(s) : Angie Morgan
HTML by :Nandita Godbole
Last modified: September 30, 1996
East St. Louis Action