Coalition buys former KKK headquarters in Fort Worth to create a local arts and healing center

The impressive, dilapidated brick building on the North Side of Fort Worth was once the Texas headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan, a heritage site that Transform 1012 N. Main St. want to turn. The coalition of non-profit organizations has bought the former Klavern No. 101 auditorium with plans to turn it into the Fred Rouse Center for the Arts and Community Healing, named after a black butcher who was lynched by a white mob in Fort Worth in 1921.

“Fort Worth has a history of racism and racial violence, as in the words of the very first person I told about the project, who is a member of one of the founding families of Fort Worth, it has never dealt with, it has never counted on So this building will be an opportunity, ”says Daniel Banks, Chairman of the Board of Transform 1012 and co-founder of the art and service group DNAWORKS, which is based in the city.

“It was built to remind the Spanish-speaking and blacks and immigrants from the North Side that they were constantly under surveillance, that they had no agency.”

He says the interest in the project is already helping to realize its purpose “around conversations about privileges and white supremacy and resources and opportunities and access. It’s all conversations, just knowing the project is out there.”

A concept rendering of the Fred Rouse Arts and Community Healing Center, as a coalition of nonprofits called Transform 1012 N. Main St.  plans to build at the former Texas headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan in Fort Worth.
A concept rendering of the Fred Rouse Arts and Community Healing Center, as a coalition of nonprofits called Transform 1012 N. Main St. plans to build at the former Texas headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan in Fort Worth.(Concept rendering of MASS Design Group / Courtesy of Transform 1012 N. Main St.)

The former owner donated part of the cost, according to Banks, but he will not say how much Transform 1012, organized in 2019, ended up paying. A bid at the time to stabilize the building and bring it up to code was $ 1.62 million, he says. The hard cost of making it the coalition’s vision is around $ 35 million. It does not include soft costs as designed.

The vision spans a wide range and includes a performance space; art education; Social Services; exhibition, meeting and living / working space for artists and entrepreneurs-in-residence; and a marketplace for agriculture and crafts.

“I imagine a crossroads where the whole of Fort Worth can come together, where every cultural group feels a sense of belonging, to be seen, represented and listened to,” Banks says. “This is an opportunity for healing on a massive scale.”

In addition to DNAWORKS, the coalition includes such groups as LGBTQ SAVES, the Opal Lee Foundation, the SOL Ballet Folklórico, and the Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice. The money to buy the building came from the Rainwater Charitable Foundation, Atmos Energy, the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources of funding.

The former Texas headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan, located on the North Side of Fort Worth, has been acquired by a coalition of nonprofits planning to transform into an arts and community healing center.
The former Texas headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan, located on the North Side of Fort Worth, has been acquired by a coalition of nonprofits planning to transform into an arts and community healing center.(Timothy Brestowski / Courtesy of Transform 1012 N. Main St.)
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JMW Turner's painting from 1840 "Slave ship (Slaves throw the dead overboard and die, the typhoon comes)" depicts the harsh cruelty of the slave trade.  (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Henry Lillie Pierce Fund. Photo: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

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