Former Historic Harambee Cinema Could House Art Studio, Other Uses

A historic former movie theater in the Harambee neighborhood of Milwaukee would house an art studio and other new uses under plans filed with city officials.

The former Grand Theater, 2917-2923 N. Holton St., would include Power Art Studios on the first floor.

“Power Art Studios will operate as a workspace first. Then we will open it to the public for workshops and community classes,” reads the proposal from Luis A. Lugo, who operates Power Property Management Inc.

“Eventually, we will partner with schools and provide internships for young people and mentor students. We will organize and coordinate evenings/gallery exhibitions to showcase people’s work,” says the proposal, filed with the Department of Neighborhood Services. of the city as part of an occupation. permit application.

The city-owned building is listed for sale by the city’s Development Department for $15,000. Its sale would require the approval of the Communal Council.

The terms of sale include requirements that the buyer restore and expand the 6,846 square foot building in a timely manner.

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Power Art Studios is started by Lugo and his daughter, Tatiana, painter, screen printer and dance teacher.

The studios would include an art studio, a dance studio, and stations for painting, carpentry, screen printing, and sewing.

“The purpose of Power Art Studios is to create something beautiful and of value to the community,” the proposal reads.

“We want to plant a seed that will bring life, love and positive change to all who enter. We will primarily serve youth and young adults who seek to stimulate their inner creativity and self-expression,” a- he declared.

Power Property Management, which buys, rents and sells properties, would operate on the second floor of the building.

The Grand Theater was built in 1911 in the Spanish Colonial architectural style, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society.

In a nod to the evolution of the neighborhood, it was later renamed Puerto Rico Theater and then Magik Grand Theater, before closing in 1975.

The building was last used as a church before the city acquired it by tax foreclosure in 2016.

In 2018, the common council granted Riverwest Investment Cooperative an exclusive one-year right to negotiate the purchase of the property.

The co-op had a $2 million proposal to convert the old theater into a performance venue, as well as weddings and other events. These plans failed to secure funding and were abandoned.

Tom Daykin can be emailed to [email protected] and followed on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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