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Dunham Site Gets $100K Grant For Repairs, But Utility Payment Looms

(Erin Williams / St. Louis Public Radio)
Leverne Backstrom, board president of the Katherine Dunham Centers for Arts and Humanities, stands in front of the Katherine Dunham Museum.

An East St. Louis museum dedicated to late choreographer and civil rights activist Katherine Dunham is getting a $100,000 state grant for fix-ups, but an unpaid utility bill could cast the site into darkness.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports administrators of the landmark need to pay St. Louis-based Ameren $486 by Thursday to keep the lights on. Dunham considered East St. Louis her adoptive home. She pioneered a dance technique combining Caribbean and African styles. She died in 2006 at age 96.

The museum board's president on Tuesday accepted the $100,000 state grant. It will be used to fix the chimney, upgrade the soffit and fascia, and replace at least two of the five heating and cooling units.

More: Check out St. Louis Public Radio's Erin Williams' report on Katherine Dunham's legacy in East St. Louis and the condition of the museum - along with Dunham's former homes.

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