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A Community’s Beating Heart

In 1941 the historic Dunbar Theatre opened in the heart of Wichita’s black community and became the first non-segregated theatre. The stylish, 467-seat theater advanced Ninth Street and Cleveland as an important black business core. It became a showcase not just for movies, but for nationally touring performers, speakers and a venue for community events.

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The challenge of revitalizing a historic community gathering place means we need to energize the community to help us. Greteman Group's support through branding, building a website, updating our social channels and outreach were exactly the tools we needed to get that energy moving.

DARREN MUCI
Dunbar Theatre Project Manager
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Creative Worthy of an Icon

The Dunbar closed as a movie theater in 1963. For years, the community tried to repurpose the space and save the historic presence in the McAdams neighborhood. In 1990, it was set for demolition. Advocacy led by the Power Community Development Corporation, an inner-city economic recovery organization, resulted in the building’s purchase and registration with the state historical board. Redevelopment inched along for 30 years. Fast forward to 2017 and the Power CDC. It formed the Dunbar District executive committee, conducted a feasibility study and created a five-year plan that moves beyond theater restoration to an entire district with a performing arts center, arts education and retail opportunities. To support these efforts, we developed a marquee-inspired logo, marketing collateral and donation-motivating microsite.

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Raising Awareness and Funds

The new website, updated social media and an editorial calendar work together to drive engagement. Messaging communicates both Dunbar’s history and its future. Motion engages users and creates a theatrical feeling. The logo animates when the site loads, flashing like a vintage theater sign. A light bulb flickers to simulate turning the lights back on. Button rollovers look like spotlights. The feasibility study and five-year-plan lay everything out clearly. Let’s keep the momentum going so the theater opens as planned by 2021.

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The Dunbar Theatre is an important piece of Wichita's history and its future.The branding reflects the energy of the vibrant McAdam's neighborhood.

MEGHAN WOLFE
Art Director