Shortly after the Wildey closed in March 1984, a group of energetic friends of the arts came up with the idea with using the Wildey as an arts center for Madison County. The group had four months to raise $50,000 in cash and pledges, which they did, and in November 1984, the Madison County Arts Council began the process to purchase the building for $150,000. A Canadian businessman donated a Wurlitzer theater organ to the project and Plitt Theatres Inc, which had leased the Wildey building as a movie theater, donated the theater’s 700 seats, projection equipment, screen and air-conditioning equipment.


The Wildey Arts Center had gathered a group of dedicated volunteers. Unfortunately, the project ultimately failed when the State ran short on funds and no grant money would be available for the foreseeable future.

A benefit piano recital by Ruth Slenczynska helped raise money for the Wildey Arts Center initiative in 1985. Photo by Steve Brown.

Photo by Lance Mallon.