Building Acquisition Solidifies Residency in South Seattle Neighborhood At High Risk of Displacement
Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today that the City of Seattle provided $1,190,000 in funding to Black & Tan Hall for the purchase of the historic theater building located at 5608 Rainier Avenue South. The organization will provide arts and cultural programming in Hillman City. Funding was made available through the Office of Planning and Community Development’s Equitable Development Initiative (EDI).
Black & Tan Hall aims to create a model for community-led development that places people first, building collective wealth among historically disenfranchised communities while providing good jobs and job training. Their new building will be a cultural hub that serves the diverse communities of Rainier Valley through culturally reflective programming, showcasing artists from BIPOC and LBGTQIA communities.
“The City of Seattle is making a historic investment of more than $100 million in our Black, Indigenous, and communities of color that have faced generations of systemic racism and oppression that has kept them from economic justice. Increasing community ownership of land is one way in which we can begin to address the systemic inequities,” said Mayor Durkan. “Investments in cultural spaces like Black & Tan Hall are crucial during this time when so many have been forced to close their doors due to the financial hardship created by the pandemic. With this funding, we are helping to ensure that Black & Tan Hall will have a home in South Seattle for as long as they determine with the ability to serve the community for decades to come.”
Black & Tan was co-founded by professional musician and educator Ben Hunter, well-known local chef and youth culinary educator Tarik Abdullah, and long-time South Seattle community organizer Rodney Herold. The founders envisioned a supportive and collaborative business where their passion for food, the arts, and community organizing could flourish.
“The pandemic clearly demonstrates the value we place on spaces to convene that make us feel connected and part of a community – places where laboring people can go to relax and be joyful together,” said Ben Hunter.
EDI, administered by the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD), was created to respond to the needs of marginalized populations, reduce disparities, and support access to opportunity in healthy, vibrant communities. The initiative is championed by community organizations concerned about displacement pressures and historical lack of investment that has occurred in communities of color in Seattle. EDI fosters community leadership and supports organizations to promote equitable access to jobs, education and childcare, outdoor space and recreation, cultural expression, healthy food, and other community needs and amenities.
“This pandemic has also revealed the structural inequity that has created unprecedented health and wealth gaps that have a staggering impact on BIPOC communities. Ensuring these communities thrive is our best investment in these uncertain economic times, and our partnership with Black & Tan Hall is one part of that effort,” says Sam Assefa, director OPCD.
Black & Tan Hall has hosted local and national touring musicians, pop-up brunches around Seattle, and a local history event in partnership with MOHAI. Most of Black & Tan Hall’s 33 investing partners live within one mile of the hall, and are active in anti-racism, anti-gentrification, and anti-displacement work in the community.
Black & Tan Hall plans to open its doors in 2021.