Located in the historic near east side district known as the “Cradle of Jazz”, The King Arts Complex honors this musical heritage by presenting national and local jazz musicians throughout the year as well as hosting the Heritage Festival in the summertime. The Complex also features an annual Gospel Extravaganza with some of the area’s finest gospel musicians. Other musical genres are also presented such as Hip-Hop, R & B, and Blues. Music is a foundation for many of the educational courses offered at The King Arts Complex.
The King Arts Complex is listed on the National Register of Historical places. By the mid-1920’s, Mount Vernon Avenue was firmly established as the center of African-American life in Columbus. Built in 1925-26 as the Pythian Temple, this handsome building was erected for use as a lodge and theater for the community. The structure is an example of the Colonial Revival Style and holds a position as a major community landmark for Columbus’ African-American population. Over the years, it has remained a fraternal and social hub for the neighborhood. Entertainment greats such as Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, the Cotton Club Dancers and the Black and Tan Review have performed at this site. Since its 1986 restoration, Ben Vereen, Roberta Flack, Ashford and Simpson, Abbey Lincoln and McCoy Tyner have continued the tradition.
Local jazz talents such as Bobby Floyd, Jeanette Williams, Mary McClendon, Tony Monaco, the Urban Jazz Coalition and many others continue to play regularly at the Complex, making it one of the best places to experience jazz in the city of Columbus and the state of Ohio!