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Benefit for Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center

After a $3,800.000 renovation that started in March of last year, Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center will celebrate both its re-opening and its 40th anniversary with a special benefit this Saturday. I’ll be attending and I look forward to seeing the improvements first hand.

Proceeds from the event go to Langston’s Summer Teen Musical & Langston Hughes Performing Arts Academy. Jazz impresario Ernestine Anderson and master trombonist Julian Priester are the event’s Co-Chairs.

The event takes place Saturday, June 30th, starting at 6pm at 104 17th Avenue South. Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets.

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center (photo by Joe Mabel)

Now guided by Executive Director Royal Alley-Barnes and Artistic Director Jacqueline Moscou, Langston has since 1969 served as a cultural center for the Central District neighborhood. Designed by architect B. Marcus Priteca, it was originally a Jewish synagogue.

The building holds about 5,000 square feet of floor space over 3 floors in the main structure and about 3,000 in an annex over two floors and a mezzanine. While the renovation addressed practical fixes, like seismic upgrades, ADA access and the electrical system, it also provided new seats and carpeting for the 288-seat auditorium, installed new floors and refurbished the lobby’s antique Tiffany light fixtures.

A small apartment was also added, allowing artists-in-residence to bunk for free while working at Langston. Oakland California artist Jennifer Johns was the first to stay there while on a fellowship through Food First, a food-policy think tank. Earlier this month, she created a multimedia project that involved food from around the world mirroring some of Seattle’s Central District cultural flavors. Langston expects to focus on these kinds of community collaborations while extending their capacity by partnering with organizations such as Earshot Jazz Festival, the Seattle Symphony, the Seattle Theatre Group and others.

To find out what’s happening next at Langston, check out their web site.

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