The Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute is located at 104 17th Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98144. The Institute is dedicated to celebrating the legacy of Langston Hughes through the performing arts. The Institute offers a wide variety of programming, including theater, music, dance, and visual arts. The Institute also serves as a community gathering place, providing a safe and welcoming environment for people of all ages to explore the arts. The Institute has a theater, a dance studio, and a gallery space.

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (2007). This view is from the southwest.

Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI) is a cultural, community and artistic center of the Central District in seattle, washington, USA. It was founded in 1969 and is named after the writer and leader of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes. It is located at 104 17th Avenue South and was built as a synagogue in 1915 designed by Marcus Priteca. He was also the architect of many theaters. It is designated as a Seattle Landmark.

The institute has been known as Yesler-Atlantic Community Center, Langston Hughes Cultural Center, The Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center, and Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.

building history

the byzantine style synagoguecompleted in 1915, it was designed by B. Marcus Priteca for the orthodox jew congregation Chevra Bikur Cholim, now Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath. Priteca completed his plans for the building in early 1913; the synagogue opened in August 1915. The lower floor of the annexe on the south side of the building dates from 1961, the upper floor from 1971.

Seattle Langston 01.jpg

The congregation sold the building to the city of Seattle in 1969, originally under the Model Cities Program. It became part of Parks and Recreation in 1972. The interior of the auditorium was renovated in 1971: a porch area was removed, extending the auditorium seating further back. In 1991 an addition was made to the east side of the auditorium, as well as seismic retrofit improvements; another addition was made to the southwest corner of the auditorium in 2003. Additions to the building were for office and support spaces and to provide barrier-free access.

organizational history

The Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute was founded in 1969, originally under the Model Cities Program. The city purchased the building in 1971, with the intention of housing the city’s first African-American theater, Black Arts/West, and a minority film training center, Oscar Productions. However, renovations at the time took so long that these organizations found other housing. Still, the institute became “Ground Zero” for Seattle’s hip hop scene and played a role comparable to local African-American theatrical talent.

From its inception until the early 21st century, LHPAI had “a split personality” as a “recreation center for neighboring children and families”, strongly associated with Seattle’s African-American community, [that] also aspired to be an arts organization, where serious actors, dancers and poets perform and train.” Deriving its funds from the city – an unusual situation for a Seattle arts organization – meant that it was free from payroll and payment worries. However, it also led to a mandate that, in the words of former institute coordinator Steve Sneed, could emphasize “arts and crafts, not fine arts.”

In 2001, Parks and Recreation gave the institute a mandate to move more strongly toward the latter goal. LHPAI artistic director Jacqueline Moscow began an “ambitious” program to train young actors in 2004. Concerns were expressed during the transition that LHPAC could lose its “open door, neighborhood feel” and that “the Afro-Brazilian focus will be diluted.” The latter concern arose, in part, because the Parks Department hired Manuel Cawaling, a asian americanas administrative director of the institute.

Moscow, an African American, was placed in administrative license in October 2007, following multiple allegations that she had “made racially offensive and intimidating comments to and about her Asian American peers”. She was reinstated in early March 2008 after a “public outcry”.

References

External Links

Coordinates: 47°36′05″N 122°18′36″W / 47.60139°N 122.31000°W / 47.60139; -122.31000


Source: Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center
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