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  • Writer's pictureMonique Wingard

A New Home for One of America’s Greatest Art Forms

In October, Chicago TREND, celebrated a $5 million investment from Fifth Third Bank to finance community revitalization in partnership with the Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF). The fund will help make the vision of Chicago-born actor, Harry Lennix a reality—The Lillian Marcie Theatre.

“As a new institution, the Lillian Marcie Theatre will be the epicenter of entertainment, instruction, and history,” said Lennix. “[There is a vital need to hold up our best traditions in the living arts so that the world will be able to experience them firsthand.”

CCLF has closed 486 loans, totaling more than $210 million in financing and leveraged an additional $1.4 billion in public and private sector capital for community projects.

The Lillian Marcie Theatre will celebrate the broader Black experience through performing arts and honor the lives of Lillian Lennix, Harry Lennix’s mother, and his mentor, Marcella “Marcie” Gillie.

“Commerce and culture are mutually dependent upon each other to create a great society,” said Lennix. “The fact that Fifth Third Bank recognizes this investment at the local level through Chicago TREND and the Chicago Loan Fund is of reciprocal benefit.”

More than 327 census tracts within Chicago have been identified as “opportunity zones,” and Lillian Marcie Theatre is one of them. The future site of the theatre was built in 1925 at 4343 S. Cottage Grove Ave and spans more than 11,590 SF on a 15,000 SF lot in the heart of Bronzeville.

Lennix will be leading this effort along with real estate and entertainment industry veterans, Keith and Aaron Giles, and Mike Wordlaw.

Chicago TREND stands for Transforming Retail Economics of Neighborhood Development, a social enterprise that focuses on the funding and growth of commercial developments in emerging neighborhoods.

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