Our Team

Ebony Arunga

Executive Director

Ebony Arunga is an arts manager, advocate and entrepreneur. She was born in Kisumu, Kenya and raised in the historically Black Central District of Seattle, Washington. In 2008 she graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Theatre, emphasizing on Stage Management. As part of a multi-faceted artistic family Ebony has managed artists, projects and events both nationally and internationally.

Ebony’s presence in the Seattle arts scene grew prevalent through her work as an event producer at the legendary Faire Gallery Cafe. In 2020, she teamed up with Ijeoma Oluo, Gabriel Teodros and LANGSTON to manage the Seattle Artist Relief Fund (SARF), the largest COVID-19 relief effort geared towards directly supporting artists in Washington State. In 2022 she joined The Cultural Space Agency as the Interim Community Liaison. She recently served on the Seattle Arts Commission (SAC) co-chaired the Facilities and Equitable Development committee (FED). She served as the board chair at LANGSTON and in 2023 she transitioned to become the Interim Executive Director of LANGSTON.

Sadiqua Iman

Director of Programs & Partnerships

Sadiqua Iman is the Director of Programs & Partnerships at LANGSTON Seattle and the Arts and Culture Partner with Black & Tan Hall and co-founded Nile’s Edge Healing Arts. As an active artist, producer, and director, Sadiqua has created and produced Tail Feather, aboi-lesque ballet, at LANGSTON, Sovereign queer black woman festival, at 18th and Union, and directed August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean” at the Chattanooga Theatre Center. Her latest performance project is “Momentum of the Muse,” a multi-part dance film exploring and engaging with black art in Seattle, Washington, featuring performances in WaNaWaRi, Arte Noir, Frye Art Museum, and the Vivid Matters Art Collective Black Lives Matter Mural in Capitol Hill.

Taylor Freeman

Program Coordinator
She/Taylor

Taylor Freeman is a multidisciplinary artist currently living in Seattle. Taylor likes all things black, queer, and folkloric. Taylor’s storytelling journey started with 6 pieces of paper covered in crayon wax to make her first comic book. Living in Texas, Taylor learned about the world through doing theater. Now, Taylor is a 2023 Honors graduate from the University of Washington, with a degree in Drama: Performance and International Studies. Taylor’s research focuses on storytelling as a site of healing and space policy. She is excited to be a part of the LANGSTON community.

Nardos Tegegne Assefa

TIPS Intern, Marketing and Youth Program’s Coordinator
She/Her

Nardos Assefa was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and grew up in the greater Seattle area. She is an ambitious example of the brilliant black youth she works to cultivate at LANGSTON. Her background in her school’s Associated Student Body as Freshman Class President makes her an ideal candidate for the youth representative work she will be doing, as well as increasing the quantity of youth at LANGSTON. She has experience in event planning and fundraising, having planned an event for hundreds of people. Nardos is Valedictorian of her Rainier Prep Class of 2023 and personally places a big emphasis on the importance of education. She has been involved in art her whole life, personally always trying new subjects in art and even creating a mural for her prior middle school. She loves the stories art tells and does the same through her own. She is an artist, a scholar, and a woman of faith.

Board

Anthony Tackett

Chair

Anthony Tackett has worked 20+ years as a storyteller and filmmaker for a number of organizations locally and internationally. His company Abstract Media focuses on uplifting and empowering people to help them realize their vision and brand in media.

His work allowed him to fulfill his lifelong dream to travel the world; with his camera. A graduate of The Evergreen State Tacoma and now is studying as a Master Student at The Seattle Film Institute where he also served as Director of Operations and instructor. He has also taught in the community filmmaking fundamentals to students of all ages.

Anthony is now a Commissioner of the Seattle Film Commission, Founder of the Seattle Filmmakers of the African Diaspora (530+) strong) and Director of the Board at LANGSTON. His endeavors don’t stop there as he is constantly creating with other amazing creators, partners and organizations. Look out for more from this fellow by following his social media.

Naho Shioya

Secretary

Naho is a mission-driven and value focused leader and consultant in Education, Arts & Culture, and Race and Social Justice. A strategic thinker through equity lens, she facilitates organizational transformation work in nonprofit, public, and private sectors. She is a thoughtful bridge builder with the aptitude to connect our culturally and socially diverse communities. She has the ability to engage people from all walks of life and inspire them through compassion and creativity. With over 20 years of experience, she is well versed in navigating non-profit management strategy, board relations, guiding organizational strategic plan development, designing and facilitating race and social justice workshops, and facilitating arts and arts-integration trainings. She is a member of Seattle Public Schools Visual and Performing Arts Department’s Anti-Racist and Culturally Responsive Arts Education framework – “Roots” team and Ethnic Studies/Theatre of the Oppressed project team.

As an actor, she has worked internationally in Asia, Canada, Europe and the U.S. Locally she has appeared at Intiman Theatre, ArtsWest, Seattle Children’s Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, Seattle Public Theatre, and On the Boards, 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 City of Seattle. She is a graduate of the University of Washington, School of Drama, Professional Actor Training (MFA) Program, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Education degree through University of Washington College of Education, Leadership for Learning (Ed.D) program.

Randy Engstrom

Treasurer

Randy Engstrom has been a passionate advocate and organizer of cultural and community development for over 20 years. He is currently the owner and principal of Third Way Creative, a collaborative consulting studio 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 and advocacy, and regular lecturer at the Evan’s School of Governance and Public Policy at the University of Washington. 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. At the City he also led several multi-department subcabinets, including Affordability and Livability, Youth Opportunity, The Future of Work, and COVID Recovery. 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. Before joining the City he owned Reflex Strategies, a cultural and community based consulting practice. From 2005-2010 Engstrom was the Founding Director of the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, a multimedia and multidisciplinary community space that offers youth and community member’s 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.

Marie T. Kidhe

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 to all projects, large and small. Her leadership has resulted in successful outcomes in her consultancy work with 4Culture, Métier Brewing Company, Rainier Valley Corps (RVC), Communion Restaurant Bar & Grill, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, Seattle Chapter Black Panther 50th Anniversary Organizing Committee, Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas, ARTE NOIR, and Historic Central Area Arts & Culture District (HCAACD). Marie’s warm and collaborative leadership and management style was a highly valued asset during her tenure at the Northwest African American Museum and her current community engagement leadership role for Friends of Waterfront Seattle. 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.

Gilda Sheppard

Gilda Sheppard, PhD, is an award-winning filmmaker who has screened her documentaries throughout the United States, internationally in Canada, Ghana, West Africa, South Africa, the Festival Afrique Cannes Film Festival, 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 is faculty Emerita of Sociology, Cultural and Media Literacy at Evergreen State College in Tacoma.

Steve Sneed

Steve began his career at the age of 15 as the Leader of the African Drum and Dance group the OGUNDA’S. For seven years, the group performed at festivals, prisons, colleges and various special events in the State of Washington including CTI Jazz at the Paramount Theatre. He later studied theatre arts, music and advertising at the University of Washington, worked as an Equity actor in Seattle,  and produced and directed plays in Seattle. As an actor he was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role in the KCTS 9 Drama, Cellar George of which he played the title character.

Steve served as Director of the Langston Hughes Center for 11 years and 20 years as the Managing Artistic Director at Seattle Center, managing Festal, a series of Cultural Festivals.In 2001 Steve was the Recipient of the Corporate Council for the Arts (now Artsfund) “Unsung Hero Award”. He was selected as “Man of the Year” by the Fifth District First AME Church of the Pacific Northwest and in 2019 he was given the City of Seattle Leadership in Management award and the Cultural Custodian Award from the Central District Reunion committee.

Currently he teaches acting at Alan T. Sugiyama High School.

Steve Directed the Community Black History production, “Can I get a Witness” which involved over 50 cast and crew members and performed to capacity crowds at the Langston Hughes Arts Institute. Steve is the proud Dad of 6 Children, 6 grandchildren and is madly in love with his wife, Vida, his childhood sweetheart. They will celebrate  43 years of marriage this year.