LANGSTON SEATTLE BOARD
Artist, Educator, Founder of Seaweed International
Ebony Arunga holds a BFA in Theatre with an emphasis on Stage Management from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She is proud to be the first Stage Manager of color to graduate from TheatreVCU’s Stage Management program. In 2008 she moved back to Seattle and worked with a team to establish the Jus B Happy Hour at Faire Gallery Cafe which served as a launch pad for artists to take their skills to the next level. In 2011 she moved to Nairobi, Kenya where she worked for The Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists as an Administrative Coordinator and Personal Assistant to world-renowned writer Binyavanga Wainaina. In 2013 she became a founding member of Arunga Music and coordinated a number of projects including Music Never Sleeps, a docu-series released in 2018 that followed artists from Seattle who traveled to Kenya to produce music, poetry, fashion, and events. In addition to her work as an events manager for a number of local organizations, she is the owner of the African jewelry and apparel company Seaweed International.
Filmmaker, Educator, Principal at Abstract Media LLC., Founder of Filmmakers of the African Diaspora
Anthony Tackett is a Filmmaker of 23 years working on commercials and narratives along with community support/outreach and as an instructor teaching people from 8 to 70 years old. He is the Founder of the Filmmakers of the African Diaspora Facebook group bringing together black and POC filmmakers to create a safe space for underrepresented filmmakers. Anthony is the Co-chair of the Seattle Film Task Force, the primary goal is to create opportunities for racial, financial equity, and education for the underserved and underprivileged. Anthony is currently directing and filming his first feature documentary “Black June” a film following Black Lives Matter Protests that started on June 1st, 2020 after the public lynching of George Floyd.
Performer, Director, Teaching Artist, Consultant
Naho Shioya has over 20 years of professional experience working in nonprofit, public, and private sectors as an educator, theatre artist, and consultant. Ms. Shioya strives to connect our culturally and socially diverse communities through exploration, presentation, and education and has the ability to engage people from all walks of life through creativity and active learning. As an artist, she has worked internationally in Asia, Canada, Europe, and the U.S. Locally she has appeared at Seattle Children’s Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, On the Boards, and Arts West, among others. As a director and teaching artist, she has worked with various organizations and schools in the greater Puget Sound area including Seattle Repertory Theatre, Book-It Repertory Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Youth Theatre Northwest, Studio East, Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Seattle Public Schools, and the City of Seattle. She is a member of the experimental, multi-disciplinary arts group Aono Jikken Ensemble (AJE) for which she is a performer, vocalist, and benshi (silent film narrator).
Educator, Arts Policy Consultant, Former Director, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
Randy Engstrom has been a passionate advocate and organizer of cultural and community development for over 15 years. He is currently the owner and principal of Third Way Creative, a consulting practice focused on cultural policy, racial equity, and creative economy. He is also Adjunct Faculty at the Seattle University Arts Leadership Program where he teaches cultural policy, advocacy, and resource development. Most recently he served as Director of the Office of Arts and Culture for the City of Seattle where he expanded their investments in granting programs and Public Art while establishing new programs and policies in arts education, cultural space affordability, and racial equity. He served as Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission in 2011 and was Chair of the Facilities and Economic Development Committee from 2006 to 2010. Previously he served as the Founding Director of the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, a multimedia/multidisciplinary community space that offers youth and community members access to arts, technology, and cultural resources. Prior to Youngstown, Randy spent 3 years as the Founding CEO of Static Factory Media, an artist development organization that owned and operated a record label, bar/performance venue, graphic design house, recording studio, and web development business. In 2009 Randy received the Emerging Leader Award from Americans for the Arts and was one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. He is a graduate of the Evergreen State College in Olympia, and he received his Executive Master’s in Public Administration at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Governance and Public Policy.
Educator, Filmmaker, Community Builder
Gilda Sheppard is an award-winning filmmaker who has screened her documentaries throughout the United States, and internationally in Ghana, West Africa, and at the Festival Afrique 360 Cannes, France, and in Germany at the International Black Film Festival in Berlin. Sheppard is a 2017 Hedgebrook Fellow for documentary film and a 2019 recipient of an Artist Trust Fellowship.
Sheppard currently (2020) completed her documentary Since I Been Down on education, organizing, and healing developed and led by incarcerated women and men in Washington State’s prisons. Since I Been Down has been accepted at over 14 film festivals in USA and Canada and won the Gold Prize at the Social Justice Film Festival and was recognized among audience favorite “Best of the Fest” at DOC NYC, Best Feature Documentary at Local Sightings Northwest Film Festival.
She is the 2021 recipient of the Impact Docs Award for Excellence in Directing Documentary Feature. Sheppard is a Professor of Sociology, Cultural and Media studies at The Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus and volunteer teaches at men and women prisons in Washington State.
Marie T. Kidhe
Curator, Producer, Community Builder, Senior Community Engagement Manager at Friends of the Waterfront Seattle
Marie T. Kidhe is an effective and savvy community engagement leader, project manager, and event curator. Marie employs her project management, outreach, and event development expertise to achieve the highest degree of success in all projects, large and small. Her leadership has resulted in successful outcomes in her consultancy work with 4Culture, Métier Brewing Company, Rainier Valley Corps, Communion Restaurant Bar & Grill, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, Seattle Chapter Black Panther 50th Anniversary Organizing Committee, and Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas. Marie’s warm and collaborative leadership and management style was a highly valued asset during her tenure at the Northwest African American Museum. Having cultivated numerous contacts and partnerships across the Seattle community, Marie brings collaborative and skilled organizing, and strategic outreach approaches to all of her projects.
Marie is a first-generation Ugandan-American and native Seattleite with more than 20 years of administrative and management skills — accompanied by a network of nonprofit, small business, corporate, and grassroots affiliations and relationships. Her network and integrity of service allow her to garner input and involvement across multiple groups of people with versatile perspectives ensuring everyone involved truly feels vested in the project.
Artist, Journalist, Filmmaker, Founder of Wa Na Wari
Past Board President Emeritus
Inye Wokoma is a visual artist, journalist, and filmmaker. He received his B.A. degree in journalism and filmmaking from Clark Atlanta University. He is the recipient of two photojournalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, a 2004 National Council on Crime and Delinquency PASS Award for criminal justice reportage, a 2012 Telly Award for his film ‘Lost and (Puget) Sound’, a 2019 Americans For The Arts Public Art Year In Review Award as a part of the groups show ‘Borderlands’ and a 2019 Neddy Award Winner in the Open Medium category. His work explores themes of identity, community, history, land, politics, and power through the lens of personal and visual narratives. A commitment to social practice prioritizes the utility of his art to the collective welfare of his community. Four of his most recent projects, A Central Vision, An Elegant Utility, This Is Who We Are, and Wa Na Wari represents a prismatic exploration of the history, current experience and future of Seattle’s African American Community. Inye’s family has lived in the Central District since the 1940s.