Former KKK auditorium to be reborn as cultural arts center in Fort Worth | News

A Texas-based nonprofit organization by the name of Transform 1012 N. Main Street (T1012) has announced the purchase of a former Ku Klux Klan auditorium in Fort Worth, Texas. It will be converted into the Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing, a new cultural center and space for reconciliation and recovery for the community.

The auditorium, located at 1012 N. Main Street, opened in 1924, when Fort Worth had one of the largest KKK memberships in the United States. It served as the group’s headquarters in Texas and was designed to intimidate black, Hispanic and immigrant residents returning home from downtown.

The acquisition was the driving force behind the creation of T1012 in 2019. The nonprofit is a coalition of local arts, grassroots, and service organizations, as well as pro bono partners and individuals. The purchase of the building was made possible through a grant from the Rainwater Charitable Foundation and the efforts of the T1012 Foundation Board, which includes the eight local organizations DNAWORKS, LGBTQ SAVES, Opal Lee Foundation, SOL Ballet Folklórico, Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice, The Welman Project, Window to Your World and the 1012 Youth Council. Project founders also include Atmos Energy, the Ford Foundation, MASS Design Group, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Tecovas Foundation.

Current status of the site. Image: Transform 1012 N. Main Street

The Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing pays tribute to Mr. Fred Rouse, a black butcher who was lynched by a white mob in Forth Worth in 1921. Through this initiative, T1012 aims to return resources to communities that have suffered marginalization and violence. brought by the KKK. The coalition ensures that the space will be animated and programmed by representatives of these communities.

“I envision a hub where all of Fort Worth can come together,” said Daniel Banks, Ph.D., chairman of the board and co-founder/co-artistic director of DNAWORKS, adding “where every cultural group feels a sense of belonging, of being seen, represented and heard; where we freely and openly celebrate the richness of our individual cultures; and where repairing past wrongs and damages leads to greater respect and appreciation, to creativity and love of self and others.

Proposed redesign concept. Image: Transform 1012 N. Main Street

Plans for this adaptive reuse project include the creation of a state-of-the-art performance space, arts training and programming, services for underserved and LGBTQ+ youth, exhibition spaces dedicated to justice social and civil rights, a creative space and tool library for local DIY classes, meeting spaces for racial equity and leadership workshops and community events, an urban agricultural and craft market in outdoors and affordable living/working spaces for artists and entrepreneurs in residence.

“As a child, my family lost our home to over 500 people, and I don’t know if they were Klansmen or what they were, but they didn’t want us in the neighborhood,” he said. said the Juneteenth community and activist and founding council. Member Dr. Opal Lee. “I want people to know that they can work together, live together, play together – and this building personifies that for me.”

James C. Tibbs