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Seattle Celebrates 50 years of African-American Culture at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute

By Erika Lindsay, Chief Communications Officer, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) announces the 50th Anniversary Celebration for the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI) will be held on September 10 from 1-5 p.m. Please join us as we celebrate the community members and artists that have sustained LHPAI over the past 50 years. Mayor Bruce Harrell will welcome the community.

“Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute must always serve as an accessible hub for artistic excellence, cultural engagement, and civic life here in Seattle. From my youth through to today, I’ve seen many engaging and thought-provoking performances, shows, and events, elevating messages and themes that remain with me now. Its location within Seattle’s historic African-American community — the Central District — reinforces the salience of the artistic contributions of the city’s African-American communities past, present, and future.”

Mayor Harrell

Organized in collaboration with LANGSTON and the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas, the program will feature, highlight and honor key members of the LHPAI community who have contributed to its longevity and who are instrumental in shaping its future.

“Each year Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute recommits and rejuvenates its civic and cultural connections through the robustness of programs community engagement. For 50 to come LHPAI will be a steward of African-American arts in Seattle, and a beacon for arts engagement citywide.”

royal alley-barnes, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Acting Director.

The celebration will be hosted by Isiah Anderson, Jr., Teen Summer Musical Director, and Steve Sneed, Former Director of Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Remarks will be provided by Mayor Bruce Harrell, Seattle Parks Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams, and ARTS Acting Director royal alley-barnes.

Vivian Phillips, ARTE NOIR Founder, will introduce community Artists Honorees Tee Dennard, Bobby Wooten, and Kibibi Monie. The program will also feature performances by the 2022 Teen Summer Musical, managed by Acts On Stage in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation, Black Stax, Arami Walker, Marco Farroni, Anzanga/Zambuko Marimba Ensembles, and the Northwest African American Museum’s African American Cultural Ensemble, DJ TOPSPIN aka BLENDIANA JONES, Josephine Howell, LiaPlusSum, and DJ Yaddy.

Built in 1915 and named after the renowned African-American cultural luminary, Langston Hughes, the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI) is a historic landmark in the historic Central Area of Seattle. Designed by B. Marcus Priteca, and formerly the orthodox Jewish Synagogue of Chevra Bikur Cholim, the building became a community center and part of the City of Seattle’s facilities in 1972. It underwent extensive renovations in 2011 to preserve its architectural character and update the facilities.

For 50 years, and throughout multiple iterations and re-imaginings LHPAI has played a central role in the artistic, cultural, and social life of Seattle’s Central District. LHPAI has always been an engaged neighbor and cultural partner welcoming Central District community members and organizations as well as those operating throughout the city of Seattle.

Special thanks to our promotional partners Black Heritage Society of Washington State and the Central Area Neighborhood Council.


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