Steven Langston, an essential leader of The Clayton Center and Cultural Arts Department for 19 years, has recently been selected as the Cultural Arts Director for the Town of Clayton.
Langston has been serving as the interim Cultural Arts Director since June 2022, but his journey with The Clayton Center began much earlier. In 2003, while still a student at Campbell University, Langston started as the Center’s first part-time crew member. By 2005, he was offered the position of Operations Manager.
For nearly two decades, Langston has worked in every capacity within the Cultural Arts Department, making him a natural fit for his new role as the Cultural Arts Director.
"Steven has vast experience and a proven track record in creating opportunities and streamlining processes, having worked on more than 250 shows with The Clayton Center over the last 19 years,” said Town Manager Rich Cappola. “He’s a great team-builder and has created a collaborative workspace for staff to encourage creativity. His leadership has inspired innovation, and the Cultural Arts team shares a common goal to take The Clayton Center to new heights.”
According to Lyn Austin, president of the Clayton Cultural Arts Foundation, the group responsible for the renovation of the former Clayton school buildings into The Clayton Center, Langston’s experience working with three different Cultural Arts Directors before him has allowed him to refine best practices and learn how to successfully lead the Center.
“Steven has been with us practically since we opened the doors of The Clayton Center. He was still in college then, so we feel like he literally grew up along with the Center, which means that he can do every job required to run the Center,” said Austin. “More importantly, he truly understands and embraces the core mission and philosophy we shared with this community – we are here to serve our people by bringing the arts to Clayton, as well as by providing the best possible experience as a rental facility for both entertainment promoters and the community at large.”
Langston's expertise in The Clayton Center’s operations and his familiarity with each staff role enabled a smooth transition and paved the way for tremendous growth over the last year.
Langston's leadership has revitalized The Clayton Center's significance and influence. The organization's programming has been expanded, new partnerships have been established, and marketing efforts and social media presence have been enhanced.
“It should come as no surprise that during Steven’s tenure as interim he has brought new life, excitement, and success to the Center,” said Austin. “With his love of the Center and his love of Clayton, he is absolutely the right man for the job.”
Under Langston’s guidance the development of the “See It Live” schedule of events, the launch of annual memberships, and a steady roll out of shows has brought The Clayton Center back to its core goal: To be the place for people to meet, gather, celebrate and perform.
“The Clayton Center’s original slogan was ‘Small Town. Big Time.’ We are now promoting big time artists like Paul Reiser, Stephen Curtis Chapman, and Colin Mochrie while keeping our welcoming small town feel backstage and in the high level of personal service we provide to our patrons and promoters," said Langston.
Langston attributes The Clayton Center's success to the strong work ethic and dedication of his staff and generously shares credit for The Clayton Center's achievements with them.
"The Clayton Center is an extension of my own home, filled with people and a community that enriches my life," said Langston. "I cannot think of a more gratifying opportunity to give back to the community, while continuing to build my career as a leader on the greater Town of Clayton team.”
Langston encourages everyone to "See It Live" and make plans to attend a show at The Clayton Center.
This year, The Clayton Center has collaborated with 94.7 QDR, the Triangle's home for today's best country music, to host a benefit concert for UNC Children's Hospital.
The 2023 Acoustic Christmas for the Kids Concert will feature renowned singer-songwriter Randy Houser, along with Brian Kelley from Florida Georgia Line and up-and-coming solo artist Morgan Evans. Tickets for this event will be available for purchase on Friday, July 28, at www.947qdr.com and www.theclaytoncenter.com.
For general admission, tickets will be priced at $50, and VIP tickets – which includes access to a pre-show artist meet-and-greet, heavy hors d’oeuvres, non-alcoholic beverages, and a cash bar – will cost $100 each. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to UNC Children's Hospital.