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DCCAH Invites Public to a Community Forum on the Future of the Historic Lincoln Theatre

Monday, February 11, 2013

On Tuesday, February 26, 2013, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) will host a facilitated discussion on the future of the Lincoln Theatre. This discussion will include a public feedback session which will help drive the process of selecting an operator to manage the theatre.

In December 2012, the DC Department of General Services (DGS) released a Request for Letters of Intent (RFLOI) for an operator to occupy and operate the historic U Street theatre. Applicants were asked to submit their proposed use, lease terms, rental terms, business model and vision for the theatre.

"We are committed to facilitating the selection of the future operator of the Lincoln Theatre in an open and transparent manner," said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. "There are many stakeholders, including community members and business owners, who have valuable input that should be taken into account in the selection process."

In January 2012, the Honorable Mayor Vincent C. Gray granted oversight of the new direction of the Lincoln Theatre to the DCCAH. Under the direction of the DCCAH, programming continued while researching sustainable business models for the future of the theatre, and ultimately an RFLOI process was put in place to identify qualified operator candidates.

The Lincoln Theatre, built in 1922, has featured some of the most influential entertainers in American history, including Duke Ellington, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, and Sarah Vaughn who performed regularly at the venue. The theater went through a period of difficulty after the DC riots of 1968, and eventually closed in 1982. Restoration of the theater began in 1989 with major funding provided by the District government. The theater was purchased by the District of Columbia in 1991 and finally reopened in September 1993.

Since the reopening, the theater has experienced successes and challenges—relying heavily on support from the District to maintain operations. The new operator will lease the theatre from the city, but will have control over programming, marketing and management.

What: Lincoln Theatre Community Forum
When: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
6 pm–8 pm
Where: 200 I Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003