Seattle to Convert Langston Hughes Institute Into Self-Sustaining Nonprofit

Dec 16, 2013

The city-operated Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI) will soon be its own self-sustaining nonprofit organization.

Under a five-year plan, Seattle plans to hire a transition coordinator, help LHPAI secure nonprofit status and gradually decrease its financial investment in one of its oldest cultural institutions.

LHPAI, which received $750,000 in city funds last year, is the only theater owned and operated by Seattle. The city has been working for years to figure out a new model for an organization mired in administrative and financial troubles in recent years.  

City officials say it's time for Langston Hughes to be self-sustaining, following in the footsteps of Spectrum Dance and Bathhouse Theater. 

"It came into the city at a time that a number of other cultural institutions did, and those have all spun off into their own nonprofits," said Randy Engstrom, director of Seattle's Office of Arts and Culture. "We believe it’s going to be in the best interest to preserve the mission of Langston long-term to help them develop nonprofit capacity as well." 

The city hopes to have the new nonprofit organization in place by 2016. By 2018, it hopes LHPAI will be financially responsible for staffing and programming events.