About Town Hall

Town Hall is Seattle’s community cultural center, offering a broad program of music, humanities, civic discourse, and world culture events.  Local, national, and international programs and performances are scheduled year-round in the Great Hall, in the Public Room, and Downstairs at Town Hall. Many of Seattle’s cultural and civic organizations use the facility for a busy schedule of concerts, lectures, meetings, and fundraising events.

Town Hall also rents space to many individual users, from small meetings of 40 to full-building, multifloor events for 1,000. Town Hall is fully accessible, and assistive-listening devices are available upon request.

Town Hall’s name recalls town-meeting democracy and is emphasized by the intimate, curved, amphitheater-style seating of the Great Hall.

Town Hall is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and relies on rentals, membership, volunteers, and fundraising to sustain its many activities. As a nonprofit organization with deep roots in Seattle’s civic life, Town Hall’s mission is to serve as a common home for dozens of Seattle’s midsized nonprofit organizations.

Board of Directors

  • Sheena Aebig
  • Mark Anderson
  • Susan Benson
  • Charles Brighton, Treasurer
  • Kate Brostoff
  • Meredith Dorrance
  • Dervala Hanley
  • Elisa Mandell Keller
  • Lynne Langseth
  • Lynda Linse
  • Alexandra McKay
  • Lora-Ellen McKinney
  • Yazmin Mehdi, President
  • Colette Ogle, Secretary
  • Clint Pehrson
  • Deborah Person
  • Alan Rabinowitz
  • Tom Robertson
  • Neil Roseman
  • Eric Sievers
  • Charles Sitkin
  • Susan Trapnell, Chair
  • Caroline VanHarmelen
  • Moya Vazquez
  • Melinda Williams

History

Town Hall opened in March 1999. It is housed in an historic Roman-revival-style building dating to 1922 on the corner of Eighth Avenue and Seneca Street. The building is one of the landmarks of First Hill, Seattle’s first suburb and still a neighborhood of distinguished and varied older buildings. Continuously used and well-maintained over the last 80 years, Town Hall was purchased in 1998 from the Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, by a group of 16 civic-minded Seattle citizens for conversion into the community culture center it is today.

The Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, built this edifice in two stages, 1916-1922. It was built at the peak of the Christian Science movement, when the church could afford generous spaces and fine finishes. The congregation was the sole and continuous occupant of the building until it was sold to Town Hall in 1998.

Architect for the church was George Foote Dunham of Portland, whose one other building in Seattle is the Christian Science Church on Northeast 17th on Fraternity Row in the University District. Dunham used a popular style for Christian Science churches, namely Roman Revival. Like most Christian Science Churches, this one is built to resemble a public building, with no religious symbolism inside or out. The building has a large portico with six two-story columns fronting on Eighth Avenue, a central dome with oculus, large art-glass windows, and elaborate window treatments with pilasters and a balcony on the Seneca side. All four sides of the building are clad in terra cotta, a popular white glazed material that reflects light well in winter and glows after rain.

Town Hall has several remarkable features inside. A small stage is located in the ground floor. This was the original rostrum for the earliest services. In the Lobby, the art-glass, Tiffany-style lighting fixtures are still working. Curved wooden pews with fitted backs grace the Great Hall, formerly the sanctuary. The vaulted ceiling and the central dome, together with the thick masonry walls and the dispersion of sound from all the ornamentation, produce warm, full, “live” musical acoustics of the type rarely created today.

The Neighborhood

Town Hall is located in the historic First Hill neighborhood, on the edge of downtown. Numerous old churches, apartment buildings, hotels, social clubs, and early hospital buildings bespeak the time around the turn of the century when the city was expanding up the hill (in part to get some safe distance from downtown after the disastrous fire of 1889). This promontory overlooking downtown and Elliott Bay began as a neighborhood of prominent families who built fine mansions (four of which remain today). Soon, however, First Hill became richly various in its population. First Hill is a reviving urban village, with thousands of jobs, stately apartment buildings, fine views, nearby colleges, and a growing cultural base. Town Hall is recognized in the First Hill neighborhood as an essential part of this revival.

Volunteer

Volunteer opportunities include ushering at events presented by Town Hall and general office help. Drop us a line about your volunteer interest at [email protected], or phone us at 206/652-4255.

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  • Calendar

  • Town Hall News

    • Staff Spotlight: Mary Cutler, General Manager

      When asked about her position as Town Hall’s General Manager, Mary Cutler says modestly, “I keep things on track.”

    • A Successful Talk of the Town!

      Many thanks to everyone who came out on March 6 to support Town Hall at our 10th annual fundraising gala, Talk of the Town! We raised more than $115,000 to support the arts, education, humanities and civic programs we present all year long.

    • Partner Profile: Seattle Arts & Lectures

      This season, it has been an honor to host Seattle Arts & Lectures, which presented its entire 2013-14 Literary Arts series in the Great Hall for the first time.

    • Town Music in Schools

      Since the Town Music in Schools program began, more than 1,100 K-12 students have had the chance to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most talented classical musicians.