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Anwar Robinson: From American Idol To United Palace

Suzanne Lorge By

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AAJ: Along these lines, United Palace isn't just one of the most beautiful performance spaces in Manhattan, it's also the site of a strong music ministry. What is your relationship with that side of the United Palace organization?

AR: I am definitely on the track to ministry. As a result of my service at the United Palace, I am now a first-year seminary student at the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary. I'm in the class of 2020, and when I graduate I'll become an ordained minister. That development came about within the past several months. I really see this as an opportunity to be a community-based leader—not just a faith leader, but to open up the United Palace further, to reach different people where they are in the community, with the arts as the main vehicle. We call it spiritual arts around here, but not everyone is spirit-led and not everyone is faith-based. So my dream is to see United Palace grow into a place that offers what people need as a community organization. We're walking that path.

About the United Palace Located in Washington Heights, the United Palace opened in 1930 as one of five Loew's "Wonder Theatres" across the boroughs and New Jersey. Designed by noted architect Thomas Lamb (Cort Theatre, the former Ziegfeld Theatre) with interiors overseen by decorative specialist Harold Rambusch (Waldorf Astoria, Radio City Music Hall), it was one of the region's premier vaudeville and movie houses. Since 1969, the United Palace has been an inclusive spiritual center celebrating the world's great wisdom traditions. Designated as a landmarked building in 2016, the United Palace honors the building's legacy through major concerts, multimedia productions, movie screenings, and spiritual programming. With nearly 3,400 seats, the United Palace is Manhattan's fourth largest theater.

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