The Athenaeum has served as a gathering place since the 19th century, but Indianapolis residents might not realize there’s
more to the building than its current tenants, a restaurant/bar and the YMCA.
"We need to have better name recognition in the community," said Cassie Stockcamp, president of the Athenaeum Foundation.
Stockcamp fears the foundation, which owns and manages the massive building at 401 E. Michigan St., is not as well-known as
The Rathskellar, the YMCA, or—until this year—the American Cabaret Theatre.
Lack of name recognition could be a problem when it comes to raising money for maintenance of the 1890s building. The foundation
hopes to eventually launch a capital campaign.
As a first step, the Athenaeum received $30,000 from the Indianapolis Foundation for rebranding.
Compton Strategies, the marketing firm founded by Indiana Pacers and Indianapolis Colts marketing guru Ray Compton, has the
contract, which includes a new logo and tag line.
Stockcamp said she’s grateful for the Indianapolis Foundation’s help in getting the effort off the ground.
"I truly believe everyone recognizes this is a historic landmark in the community," she said. "They also recognize
tired. And it needs community support."
Jim Morris, grants officer at the Central Indiana Community Foundation—an affiliate of the Indianapolis Foundation, said
Athenaeum Foundation is like a holding company that’s known for its famous brands. "Part of my kitchen sink of background
is marketing. When I spoke with Cassie, I understood where they were coming from. Nobody’s really heard of Darden [restaurant
group] unless you’re in the restaurant world."
The Athenaeum was built to unite the German immigrant community under one roof, and promote "sound mind, sound body."
"We are trying to create a community building that is promoting those values, and is accessible to the community,"
The Athenaeum’s founders were free thinkers, she said. To further the tradition, the foundation is working with the Liberty
Fund to start a speaker’s bureau.
Know of a gift that IBJ should feature? Contact Kathleen McLaughlin at [email protected].com.