Poor old Washington Hall, built in 1908 and host to events featuring Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Du Bois, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Marian Anderson and Jimi Hendrix, and which was nearly demolished. Historic Seattle bought the hall in 2009, and has a $9 million plan to renovate and re-energize the place.
To kick off the next phase of fundraising, a free event called “The Before Party – Campaign to Restore Washington Hall,” is Saturday, Jan. 18, at the hall on 14th Avenue. All-ages activities and entertainment start at 5 p.m. Adults-only fare follows at 9 p.m. UPDATED: Pianist Ruby Bishop (who likely performed at the hall decades ago when it hosted jazz gigs), Kathleen Hunt, Jody Kuehner, Queen Shmooquan and Lily Verlaine are among the performers. Scott and Max Giampino and Brian Probart are featured DJs. Details here.
Along with a restoration the main performance hall and safety upgrades for the whole building, plans are afoot to furnish the building with an on-site recording studio, a low-frequency radio station, an “Innovation Hub” to encourage new artist collaborations and space for community forums. $3.5 million has already been raised.