Arts producer and communications consultant Vivian Phillips has been named as temporary manager for the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.
Phillips replaces former manager Jacqueline Moscou, who was placed on three months of forced administrative leave and then asked to leave in October while the city investigates a complaint she only wanted to hire African American actors and staff.
Phillips will work at Langston Hughes through 2008 to ensure that going into the future the facility has a competent, functional staff in place who will effectively and efficiently manage the center's artistic, business, program and community functions.
Phillips' goals for the yearlong assignment is to implement an ongoing public engagement plan; carry out a sustainable plan that identifies the activities that will need to be implemented to ensure the center accomplishes its vision and mission; implement a development plan that identifies potential sources of funding; and carry out a plan that results in appropriate collaboration with the arts community, community-based organizations and other public and community institutions.
"Primarily my goal is to support the good work that's already going on there and create an environment where we can do what we do better and bring more people into the facility, have more activities and continue to focus on youth," Phillips said. "It's really about streamlining systems or putting new systems in place. We want the community to feel secure that Langston Hughes is a secure operation and that there is no change in the mission, we will continue to be focused on art and cultural activities that are steeped in the African American experience but also engaging the greater community at the same time."
"To a large degree, my interest and activities within the arts stems directly from my early involvement as a volunteer at Langston Hughes," Phillips said. "It has always been important to me and I'm honored for the opportunity to be a part of securing the future of this vital community asset."
In the past Phillips has focused on arts, media, outreach and communications plans for clients that include the Bullitt Foundation, City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, the University of Washington Child & Adolescent Institute, the Seattle Housing Authority, 4Culture, AfraGenesis Radio Network and the Seattle Theatre Group. Phillips is currently the Managing Director of the Hansberry Project at ACT, where she is also a Producing Associate.
Before that, Phillips served as Director of Communications for then-Mayor Paul Schell, co-hosted "True Colors" on KOMO and KCTS-TV, and as Associate Director of the Landmark Association/ Paramount Theatre.
Drawing on her vast experience in communications, Phillips says she will make sure that the community will be informed on what goes on with Langston Hughes.
"Improving those communications systems will be really high on my list of priorities," Phillips said. "We're talking about a combination of individual meetings with our partners and members of the community, to some level of public meetings to the way we communicate externally; be it email, newsletters, but really focusing on increasing our communication in the community."
During 2007, Langston Hughes brought a wealth of cultural and artistic offerings to the community, including Book-It Theatre's "Bud Not Buddy," the Seattle Symphony, the African American Film Festival, Black History Month events including "I Dream a World," and storytelling, the play "Hurricane Katrina: I too am Worthy," a debating partnership with the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, the annual Teen Summer Musical, a fundraiser for African American Scholars for Dollars, a Master Choreographer series, poetry slams, youth summer drop-in programs, a community barbeque, Art in the Park, a showing of the Filipino film "Sandaan," and "Holiday Hodgepodge," a Senior Theatre Program production.
"I would just like to thank everyone who has reached out and offered their support and we look forward to their continued support of Langston Hughes," Phillips said.