A Stroll Down to Missy Lane’s

DURHAM, NC — In the vibrant arts and culture scene of Durham, NC, a new addition stands out: Missy Lane’s Assembly Room. This recently opened arts venue is not just another music venue; it’s a cultural hub that fills a niche in Durham’s arts scene.

Monday, Feb. 26, 2024

By Regan Rhymes and Kenzie Novak

In the vibrant arts and culture scene of Durham, NC, a new addition stands out: Missy Lane’s Assembly Room. This recently opened arts venue is not just another music venue; it’s a cultural hub that fills a niche in Durham’s arts scene.

The Assembly Room is the brainchild of Cicely Mitchell, the force behind the Art of Cool Festival. To Cicely, “this more than a venue, this dream” was born out of a desire to create a space that caters to the diverse interests of Durham’s residents and Black Wall Street.

The arts venue offers a variety of services, including a study spot and café known as the Front Room, and a bar managed by former maitre d’hotel and cocktail progenitor Adrian Lindsay.

The venue’s programming is as diverse as its services. The Showroom, the space’s performance area, hosts an array of events where local artists can have their self-expression met with supportive, family-like crowds. There have been weekly performances from the NCCU Eagles Nest Jazz band and open mics featuring Dasan Ahanu.

“Everyone from different age groups gathered on the stage to perform,” says open mic singer Frances Crouch. “It is a great space for local artists to showcase themselves and become familiar, network, gain friends at Missy Lane’s, and make it a second home to express your creativity.”

The venue’s partners are small businesses. Some of these staples include Little Waves Coffee and Ashleigh Bakes Daily. Despite the challenges faced by the Art of Cool Festival, which was disbanded due to lack of government funding and insufficient community support, the team behind Missy Lane’s Assembly Room is optimistic about the future.

What sets this black-owned business apart from other music venues is its commitment to community engagement. The venue offers a membership program, for an annual fee of $1,000, which provides members with a host of benefits.

“The [Showroom] was such a beautiful space and just knowing that it just opened in January, I can only imagine what it’s going to look like months from now,” says Crouch. On their way out, eventgoers can spot the locally curated mural by Darius Quarles. In his unique art style, Quarles marries portraits of R&B/soul legends to pay homage to the genre’s roots. Below this piece, while a plaque fills with club member names, Durham’s jazzy gem continues to channel its rich musical history in the heart of the Bull City.

Only a few weeks after its grand opening, Missy Lane’s Assembly Room still draws packed crowds of music connoisseurs each night. Each Tuesday, Dasan Ahanu hosts open mic nights at this live music venue. With a mission to expand the audience for jazz and improvised music, this judgment and carefree space allows local artists to share their gifts.

With shows ranging from slam verses to powerful ballads, the stage welcomes anyone and everyone. The warmth of the space is apparent the very moment you walk through the door. Escorted by the hostess, you walk into a room filled with smiles. The soft violet and orange lighting foster a warm environment similar to New Orleans jazz clubs.

Missy Lane’s Assembly Room is more than just a venue; it’s a dream come to life. It’s a dream for musicians and writers to share their talents, a dream for entrepreneurs to establish their businesses, and a dream for the staff to find a chosen family within it. This dream is not static but continues to evolve, shaped by the community it serves. This dream is a testament to the power of community, creativity, and entrepreneurship. It’s a dream that continues to inspire and uplift, providing a platform for local talent and a hub for cultural exchange.

To stay connected with Missy Lane’s Assembly Room and to be part of this ongoing dream, follow their social media channels. Here, you can get updates on upcoming events, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and opportunities to engage with the Missy Lane’s community. On their social media, you can also find information about their membership program, which offers a host of benefits for an annual fee. This is a great way to support the venue and become a part of its dream.

Upcoming Events

Missy Lane’s Assembly Room continues to host a variety of events that cater to the diverse interests of Durham’s residents. From open mic nights hosted by Dasan Ahanu to performances by the NCCU Eagles Nest Jazz band to Marquis Hill, there’s always something happening at Missy Lane’s.

To find out more about upcoming events, check out their social media pages or visit their website. Be part of the dream that is Missy Lane’s Assembly Room, and experience the magic for yourself.