New leadership at Langston Hughes center to highlight 'black brilliance' | KUOW News and Information

New leadership at Langston Hughes center to highlight 'black brilliance'

Jul 5, 2016

Seattle’s historic Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute has new leadership, and a new mission.

The new nonprofit group calls itself LANGSTON. Its mission is to oversee all cultural programming at the Central Area landmark.


Board chair Inye Wokoma says LANGSTON will highlight what he calls "black brilliance."

Wokoma: “Making sure that the artists that we work with, the artists that we bring in really represent the best of what we have to offer.”

LANGSTON formed late last year, three years after oversight of the arts center was transferred from Seattle’s Parks department to the Office of Arts and Culture.

Advocates for the city’s African-American community wanted more say in programming at the old theater.

Vivian Phillips chairs the Seattle Arts Commission. She’s also a member of LANGSTON’s board of directors. Phillips also sits on KUOW’s board.

Phillips says Langston Hughes has weathered financial and artistic ups and downs over the past few decades.

Phillips: “The fact that the organization has struggled, and continues to fight, and continues to re-emerge in some way, is an indicator of its cultural significance in this city.”

The nonprofit LANGSTON will roll out its programming plans for the facility this fall. The organization hopes to hire a new executive director by early 2017.