Tim Lennon to lead Seattle non-profit for African American arts

Central Area, Seattle, WA– LANGSTON, the new non-profit arts organization recently established after an extensive community process to guide programming intended to strengthen and advance community through Black arts and culture, announces the selection of Tim Lennon as Executive Director. Lennon will begin his tenure on January 3, 2018.

Inye Wokoma, president of the board of LANGSTON stated, “Tim’s combined experience working at the City of Seattle, with local festivals, and with artists, makers and non-profit organizations makes him the ideal person to carry out the mission of this new arts organization and launch it to success. We are so excited that such a dynamic local arts leader and community collaborator will be LANGSTON’s first executive director.”

Lennon has held leadership and programming positions in Seattle at several non-profit organizations and public sector offices, including: The Vera Project, Office of Arts & Culture, Seattle Center Foundation, and One Reel. His current board service includes The Washington Bus and the Seattle Music Commission for which he chairs the advocacy and economic development committee. He is an alumnus of the Leadership Tomorrow program and currently serves on its curriculum committee, and was selected in 2017 for Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders Program.


Additionally, Lennon played a key role in supporting the transition process for LANGSTON, which centered on creating a community-led organization that resides within the historic Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Lennon has also been an advocate for and planning advisor to the Historic Central Area Arts and Cultural District.

“I’m inspired by Seattle’s artists, collaborators and community partners who are passionate about the legacy of LANGSTON, and I look forward to continuing work of establishing a thriving arts and cultural institution in this historic space named for one of America’s most prolific artists of African descent. In partnership with the local and broader community, we will build upon the existing legacy and further cultivate Black brilliance through robust arts and cultural programs,” says Lennon.

Photo: Tim Lennon by Michael B. Maine


LANGSTON is the new non-profit arts organization created in response to both the community and the City’s desire to support the historic mission of Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.

LANGSTON’s mission is to strengthen and advance community through Black arts and culture.

After 40 years of programs and a three-year review and engagement process, LANGSTON was conceived and designed by the community with the vision of transforming Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute into an independent and thriving arts organization and a hub for African American arts and culture.

LANGSTON is housed at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute building, which is owned by the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, and operated by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

News Release: Newly founded LANGSTON to strengthen Black arts and culture in Seattle

New non-profit arts organization announces formation and Board of Directors  

SEATTLE (June 30, 2016) — The Office of Arts & Culture is pleased to announce the founding of LANGSTON, an independent non-profit arts organization based in the heart of Seattle’s Central Area. LANGSTON’s mission is to strengthen and advance community through Black arts and culture. With a vision to cultivate Black brilliance, LANGSTON will launch its inaugural season in the fall of 2016, at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S., under the leadership of its founding board of directors, community advisors, and arts champions.

LANGSTON’s founding board of directors includes:

  • Inye Wokoma, Ijo Arts Media Group (Chair)
  • Sheley Secrest, NAACP (Treasurer)
  • David Harmon, Olio Development Design Strategies (Secretary)
  • Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, Frye Art Museum
  • Randy Engstrom, City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Ex-Officio
  • Terri Hiroshima, University of Washington
  • Vivian Phillips, Seattle Theatre Group
  • Andrew Russell, Intiman Theatre
  • Sharon N. Williams, CD Forum

To ensure long-term stability and success, the LANGSTON Board of Directors has spent the first two quarters of this year establishing a strong foundation and creating strong financial and programmatic infrastructures. Additionally, dedicated focus has been placed on securing dynamic leadership for the organization by launching a national search for the new organization’s first Executive Director.

The LANGSTON founding Board will support artistry that breaks molds and challenges both artistic and cultural traditions. In service to the cultivation of Black brilliance, LANGSTON will engage, nurture, and support a wide range of local and national artists to share distinct artistry and build relationships and connections to the creative processes. Programming will occur year-round and serve multi-generational audiences and participants.

LANGSTON will be located within Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute’s (LHPAI) historic building. The current LHPAI staff will continue to work for Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture to manage building rentals, support rental programs, and maintain the building and associated property. Highly regarded signature programs of LHPAI, such as the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival and Teen Summer Musical, will continue in 2016. Additional programs, festivals, and artist development will be announced at an open community welcome event in August. LANGSTON will hire a contracted Program Manager in August to carry forward their initial programming while the search is conducted for a new Executive Director.  Details about the Program Manager position can be found at

LANGSTON was created in December of 2015 in response to both the community and City’s desire to establish an independent nonprofit that was community driven and committed to the historic mission of Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, a former program of the City’s Parks Department and Office of Arts & Culture. After a three-year review and engagement process, LANGSTON was founded and designed specifically to serve as the hub for African American arts and culture in Seattle.

“LANGSTON is an exciting and necessary addition to the arts ecosystem in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest,” said LANGSTON Board Chair, Inye Wokoma. “It will expand and evolve the boundaries and experiences of African American artistry and Blackness, while creating pathways for accessing African American arts, culture, and community. LANGSTON will contribute to the depth, value, and diversity of Seattle as a world-class city for the arts and artists.” Wokoma is joined by all members of the new board in articulating a commitment to creating a LANGSTON that serves in ways that matter most to the community.

For more information about LANGSTON, visit our website, or email


LANGSTON is a newly formed, community conceived and designed nonprofit arts organization whose mission is to strengthen and advance community through Black arts and culture in service to cultivating Black brilliance. It provides multigenerational, multi-genre programming that is responsive to community needs and desires. LANGSTON will promote artistic expression, encourage artistic excellence, cultivate leaders, practice radical inclusivity, and facilitate cultural education and possibility in our practices, policies, and partnerships.