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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Future charted for Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute

12/16/2013  10:00:00 AM

Future charted for Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
New non-profit status targeted for 2016 along with increased capacity for fundraising, artistic endeavors and partnerships

Seattle WA, -- The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) and Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI) presented a set of recommendations for the future of the Institute to Seattle City Council today. These recommendations position LHPAI for continued success in the future. The recommendations state that the city should maintain the building (located at 104 17th Ave. S., Seattle) and that LHPAI should transition to a self-sustaining non-profit arts organization over the course of five years. In order to help transition LHPAI successfully, the city will undertake a series of steps, including assisting LHPAI in securing 501(c)(3) status, developing a board of directors, and building additional capacity for fundraising, programming and staffing. At the same time, the city will gradually decrease financial investment in the non-profit as it builds towards independence. The new LHPAI non-profit should be operational starting in 2016, and by 2018 would be fully financially responsible for staffing and programming for annual events such as the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival, annual Gala, summer teen musical, fall play, Black History Month programs, and related arts education and performing arts workshops. The city will continue to own and operate the building and take financial responsibility for major maintenance.

"This plan was developed with a wide range of thoughtful community perspectives in the room," said Office of Arts & Culture director Randy Engstrom. "It allows the historical mission of Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute to be preserved, and helps ensure the organization's success as it moves to its next chapter."

"I'm pleased with the level of support the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute has received from the city over the last year," said LHPAI executive director Royal Alley-Barnes. "The ability to expand our financial capacity has intriguing possibilities. Flexing our artistic wings to further support the LHPAI mission in ways that could not happen within the city structure is exciting and the possibilities are enlivening."

Together, the Office of Arts & Culture, LHPAI and Seattle Arts Commissioners will develop a transition team to provide support to the transition process and work collaboratively on the implementation of the timeline. A RFQ for a Transition Consultant is expected to be announced in January, 2014.

The Langton Hughes Performing Arts Institute is housed in what was formerly the Jewish synagogue of Chevra Bikur Cholim in the Central District at 104 17th Ave. S., 98144. The building is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places as a historical landmark. The Institute was established in 1969 to provide cultural space in Seattle's historic Central District area, and was part of Seattle Parks & Recreation from 1971 to 2012. In January, 2013, LHPAI moved from Seattle Parks & Recreation to the Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS). Over the past year ARTS, working with LHPAI and the Seattle Arts Commission and a 17-member Action Committee, developed a plan for the long-term operations of LHPAI. The Action Committee was made up of current and former Seattle Arts Commissioners, LHPAI stakeholders, arts leaders, community members, City of Seattle department directors, representatives from City Council and the office of Mayor McGinn, and the City Budget Office.

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Instittue | Preserving the legacy.
LHPAI celebrates, nurtures, presents, and preserves African American and Diaspora performing arts, cultural wealth and iconic legacies. Named for the prolific African American artist Langston Hughes, LHPAI represents the pluralism of the African American community in film, dance, theatre and music.

Office of Arts & Culture | Making art work.
We envision a city driven by creativity that provides the opportunity for everyone to engage in diverse arts and cultural experiences. We are supported by the 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council.

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