Cincinnati is likely to give $500,000 to the Madcap Puppets for its plan to remodel a Westwood building into a new performance space.
Artistic Director John Lewandowski said the project at the former Bell Telephone Exchange Building on Harrison Avenue will also benefit the community.
“How the arts can lead revitalization in a neighborhood like Westwood and how the arts are a critical part of the fabric of our community that helps keep us together and give us pride in our neighborhood and pride in what we’re doing,” Lewandowski said.
When the building is complete it will have a 200 seat theater, a community education center and an exhibit hall.
Work on the $2 million project is expected to be complete sometime next year although there will be some limited events there this year.
Mayor John Cranley introduced the city funding legislation this week, and the full council could consider it by month's end.
“The theory for the last 20 or 30 years is that families with kids go to the suburbs, that’s been the theory,” Cranley said. “Here we’re putting a headquarters for children, for the wonderful activities that are going to happen here in this theater. We’re going to use that to help repopulate our city, repopulate Westwood and take it to bigger and better places.”
The group said the main stage theater will offer performances every weekend with school shows through the week.
The first Madcap season was in 1981 and it was incorporated as a non-profit in 1984. Each year more than 200,000 children and their families see a Madcap production.