With Jacqueline Moscou's reinstatement as artistic director at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, Moscou and the staff must get past...
With Jacqueline Moscou’s reinstatement as artistic director at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, Moscou and the staff must get past their differences for the good of the center, city officials say.
Moscou was placed on paid administrative leave in October after a report by an independent consultant suggested that for years she made racially offensive and intimidating comments to and about her Asian-American colleagues and used connections to the Seattle Mayor’s Office to get away with it.
The Mayor’s Office denied those connections and asked the Parks Department to look into the concerns raised in the report.
The Seattle Park and Recreation Department, which operates the Central Area arts facility, reinstated Moscou effective Thursday and said she will resume the work she did before.
Most Read Entertainment Stories
- 9 movies open Nov. 15 in the Seattle area; our reviewers weigh in
- What's there to do in Seattle this weekend? GeekGirlCon, movies galore and more
- I took my mom to a BTS concert for Mother's Day and it brought us closer together
- Did you know Seattle has a thriving sea-shanty scene? Get onboard with singalongs and shows
- You told us how great fictional detective Harriet Vane is. And now we've fallen for her. | The Plot Thickens
Parks officials on Friday would not discuss the decision to reinstate Moscou, calling it a personnel matter. Calls to Moscou’s attorneys were not immediately returned.
With Moscou’s return, Park Department officials say, employees inside Langston Hughes, where relationships for years were strained and allegiances divided, will need to look beyond what happened so that the center can “become whole again.”
Mickey Fearn, the department’s community-connections manager, said the circumstances surrounding Moscou’s removal caused the city to more closely examine the structure, staffing and funding at Langston Hughes, in a way it had not before.
Many had long said the center, which gave rise to generations of African-American talent, was run more like a community center than a performing-arts venue, with the artistic director reporting to the managing director instead of the two being equal.
Fearn said that in the coming weeks, the department will unveil a plan to help transform Langston Hughes into the performing-arts center it could be.
“We have to invest a lot of energy and effort in trying to make this place whole again, taking into consideration all the psychological damage that exists within that organization,” he said.
“Everybody involved will have to get to the point where the memory of this does not impact their ability to serve the public.”
Moscou’s removal from her job had prompted a public outcry from her many supporters, who saw it as a dilution of the center’s African-American focus as the neighborhood around Langston Hughes becomes increasingly gentrified.
Moscou and her attorney have said Moscou was removed for upholding the center’s mission, which Moscou has long said has been for and about African-American artists and culture. The city’s mission for the center is to serve all communities of color.
In January, the Parks Department hired Vivian Phillips, a longtime veteran of the arts and a supporter of Langston Hughes, to manage and stabilize the center through the rest of the year.
Lornet Turnbull: email@example.com or 206-464-2420.