someone singing into a microphone
Photographer Noah Shaw, Courtesy of IN Series
The economic fallout of the pandemic has hit the arts and culture sector particularly hard. Nationally, 1.4 million jobs and $42.5 billion in sales have been lost. With rare exceptions, live performance came to a complete stop, museums and galleries closed, youth arts programs struggled to stay alive, and funding for artistic creation was scarce. Arts organizations found innovative ways to continue creating, diving deep into various forms of online programming (though there is little financial return in this), and they have just begun to emerge from the crisis.
the arts matter and merit our support
The National Endowment for the Arts stresses the importance of a healthy arts sector because of the role it plays in building community, encouraging wellbeing, and helping us make sense of the past – all critical as we begin a long process of healing. Both nationally and locally, arts organizations have also been urged to think about their role in furthering racial equity. Many of those featured in this Catalogue have been doing so all along and others are coming to it afresh – thinking about the work they present on their stages and how they present it, who runs it, who participates in it, what stories are being told, and how the arts can be at once a source of joy and illumination, a window onto other worlds, an invitation to think with depth and complexity, and an opportunity to create social change. If truly learning about one another, struggling against what divides us, encouraging new voices as they make themselves heard – if all of these things matter, then the arts matter and merit our support.
performing, literary, & visual arts
performing arts
Photographer Sherri Holdridge, Courtesy of ArtStream
Few theatres provide challenging arts opportunities for adults with disabilities and fewer still encourage them to be artists as well as audience members. ArtStream’s six Inclusive Theatre Companies and four Cabaret Companies invite actors with intellectual and developmental disabilities – including Autism – to collaborate with theatre professionals and trained volunteer mentors to build skills while developing and presenting original musical theatre productions. Participants can also take theatre-based classes to boost self-confidence and strengthen communications. Super Social Saturday workshops focus on a specific theme to create a welcoming environment for participants to learn how to socialize, let loose, and have fun. And the arts can heal, just as they can educate and entertain. Partnerships with schools, community organizations, and others ensure that adults and children can access the arts in a way that is meaningful, powerful, and healing.
wish list $100: Super Social Saturday for 2 students; $500: 2 skills-building and friendship-building classes for 15; $1000: 8-week performing arts class
Heller An Shapiro,
Executive Director
8401 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 1230
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Tel 301 755 9492
dc strings workshop
wish list $100: 1 keyboard for the school music program; $500: 2 violins for schoolchildren; $1000: 2 violins and a cello for 3 deserving youth
Andrew M Lee,
Artistic Executive Director
1100 New Jersey Ave SE, Suite 2131
Washington, DC 20003
Tel 202 594 9223
DC Strings regularly performs its diverse repertoire in spaces and communities where live music is rarely heard – at museums and libraries, on riverbanks and street corners. In a typical year, it hosts eight orchestra concerts, 20 community events, and dozens of workshops, classes, and masterclasses. Teaching artists serve over 300 schoolchildren annually, at little or no cost. Programs prominently feature women and BIPOC community members and are powerful ways for students of color to see people who look like them excelling and being passionate about music and performance. While live and online programming during the pandemic was robust (and included a group therapy element for students who experienced trauma), the new year brings new possibilities. The Workshop showcases the great talent of community members who are rarely heard and shares its art with youth and families who deserve full access to great music.
the delaplaine arts center
wish list $100: summer camp scholarship for 1 child or teen; $500: 2 art classes for 15 Head Start preschoolers; $1000: 1 semester of art for 6 developmentally challenged adults
Duane Doxzen,
Director of Development & Communications
40 South Carroll Street
Frederick, MD 21701
Tel 301 698 0656
As the only full-service arts organization in the Frederick region, the Delaplaine knows that “everyone deserves art.” Each year, 84,000 individuals visit eight on-site galleries (and three satellite galleries at area public libraries) featuring exhibits in painting, ceramics, jewelry, printmaking, and more. Admission is always free. Art instructors and visiting artists lead 270 classes for all skill levels, from the art curious to the art professional, and needs-based scholarships ensure that anyone can participate. Community outreach programs partner with other local nonprofits and service organizations to provide customized art experiences to underserved populations – Head Start students, homeless youth, families recovering from substance abuse, adults with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Public programs, including an Art Carnival, drop-in activities, and free gallery talks, further integrate art into the community – because art has the power to enhance the quality of life for so many.
in series
wish list $100: 10 INVISION student subscriptions; $500: 1 artist stipend in the recital series; $750: piano rental and tuning for a site-specific performance
Timothy Nelson,
Artistic Director
1835 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
Tel 202 204 7763
IN Series collaborates with diverse local artists and nonprofit organizations, performing in small, intimate, sometimes unusual venues – from GALA Hispanic Theatre to the abandoned Boiler Plant – commissioning fresh English adaptations, and breathing new life into rarely heard pieces. Think Verdi’s Othello in repertory with Toni Morrison’s Desdemona, music by Nina Simone, and a community art installation as the set design. Affordable ticket prices and free community events and outreach programs include Q & As with artists and creative teams and educational programs for thousands of DC schoolchildren. A four-year artist fellowship program designed by and for exceptional Black singing artists supports them on the road to becoming opera industry leaders. A new INVISION streaming service provides free digital access to present and past programming anywhere in the world. IN Series makes a once-elite art form relevant, accessible, powerful.
man performing on stage
Photographer Shedrick Pelt,, Courtesy of Story District
story district
In the polarized climate in which we live, with levels of discrimination and vilification of “the other” on the rise, autobiographical storytelling is a powerful reminder that we are all human. Story District creates the platform and provides the tools for everyday Washingtonians to reflect on their life experiences and tell their stories in meaningful and memorable ways. Rigorous coaching helps participants identify and craft their narratives and connect authentically with an audience. The process can be transformative, requiring self-reflection, promoting self-awareness, and helping people find meaning in their lives. And Story District creates an environment that is welcoming to all ages, races, cultures, abilities, and sexual and gender identities. Performances are opportunities to speak and to share. It’s hard to dehumanize someone or disregard the reality of our common humanity when we hear a personal story that is told with power.
wish list $100: 1 storyteller honorarium; $500: American Sign Language interpreters for a performance; $1000: video and audio recording of 2 live performances
Amy Saidman,
Artistic Executive Director
3329 Georgia Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20010
Tel 240 888 9751
performing, literary, & visual arts/youth & community arts
the pen/faulkner foundation
wish list $100: 10-15 culturally relevant books for students; $500: 2-4 author visits to DC classrooms; $1500: public Literary Conversations with 3 major authors
Gwydion Suilebhan,
Executive Director
6218 Georgia Avenue NW, Suite 1062
Washington, DC 20011
Tel 202 898 9063
Working with teachers to identify texts that feature diverse characters and relevant narratives, PEN/Faulkner’s flagship Writers in Schools program connects young people with authors (and their books) for dynamic conversations. Writing Workshops deepen the work as teaching artists help students learn about and practice their own writing through engaging skill-building sessions. In a new long-term residency, students will work directly with an expert writer to develop a sustained relationship and writing project. Together We Read brings authors, and students from different schools, into cross-cultural dialogue about books, while Nuestras Voces offers Latinx- and Hispanic-centric education programs that address systemic diversity challenges. Finally, Literary Conversations bring together the most highly acclaimed writers from all over the country to discuss the urgent issues that surround their work and let literature serve as a springboard for much-needed civil discourse.
educational theatre company
wish list $100: scholarship for 1 K-5 student in a weekly after-school class; $500: 1 computer for ETC-on-Film; $1000: 12-hour in-school workshop for grades K-12
Stan Kang,
Executive Director
PO Box 4760
Arlington, VA 22204
Tel 703 271 0222
In partnership with over 40 schools and community organizations, ETC brings theatre and artists directly into local classrooms. Students don’t watch from the audience: they write dialogue, paint sets, analyze and create characters. Young children work closely with resident teaching artists to write, produce, or perform an original musical, while older students create and star in a film or experience a touring Shakespeare production in their own schools. ETC Creative Age engages senior citizens who perform scenes and write monologues about their lives. An ESOL program uses theatre techniques to build vocabulary, fluency, and public speaking among English language learners. Moving online during the pandemic allowed ETC to expand its reach – a true silver lining – but live theatre will remain at the core: weave the arts into everyday experience and make joy, confidence, creativity, and community come to life.
joe’s movement emporium
wish list $100: a week of after-school arts education for 1 youth at Club Joe’s; $500: 2 weeks at Camp Joe’s for 1 student; $1000: 1 month of studio space for a community group
Brooke Kidd,
Executive Director
3309 Bunker Hill Road
Mount Rainier, MD 20712
Tel 301 699 1819
“Arts for All” is the rallying cry at Joe’s, a hub of cultural and community activity that has served Prince George’s County for over 25 years. Open 350 days a year for arts education, performances, rehearsals, and cultural programs, Joe’s is a safe, out-of-school-time haven for youth, offering arts activities that nurture confidence, creativity, and connection. Joe’s works with local schools to infuse arts into the curriculum, introducing diverse pathways for learning. For young adults, CreativeWorks provides college and career readiness training in the creative industries and at least a year of follow-up support. And anyone can swing by Joe’s for classes in yoga, hip hop, pilates, aerial dance, hand dance, and belly dance – or a performance in the new outdoor or indoor theater. At Joe’s, artists and residents work to build a better community – for the greater good.
group of girls with rock instruments
Photographer Les Talusan, Courtesy of Girls Rock! DC
girls rock! dc
Girls Rock! DC was founded by DC musicians and music fans who didn’t see themselves – women, non-binary, transgender, and gender-expansive folks – represented in the music they loved. They set out to create a supportive and inclusive program where kids could learn about music and culture that is relevant to them, from role models who come from their own community. Participants represent a wide range of economic experiences, ethnic identities, gender identities, and neighborhoods. Youth of color make up the majority and more than half of participants receive financial aid (no one is turned away). They enjoy private concerts from local musicians and workshops from local educators. After school and in summer camps, they receive instrument instruction, form bands, and compose original music. Every year, Girls Rock! serves more than 100 youth (and 20 adults) who rise up and rock out!
wish list $100: an after-school concert by local women and non-binary musicians; $500: week-long intensive summer camp for 2 youth; $1000: new guitars and keyboards
Shady Rose,
Co-Executive Director
1525 Newton Street NW
Washington, DC 20011
Tel 240 781 8506
youth & community arts
dc creative writing workshop
wish list $100: 10 copies of the hArtworks literary magazine for local libraries; $500: high-quality journals and pens for all students; $1000: 2 field trips for 20 to Arena Stage
Nancy Schwalb,
Executive Director
601 Mississippi Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20032
Tel 202 445 4280
In the Congress Heights neighborhood of Ward 8 where nearly all students know people who have been assaulted or murdered, DCCWW provides a place where trauma is channeled and energies are guided into creating works of startling power and clarity. Most start the year substantially below the national average in literacy, but as students read poetry, discuss what they’ve read, and write their own works of art, they fluidly practice literacy skills without even realizing it. And DCCWW creates a safe, stable environment, especially for those who are perceived as gay, intellectually disabled, or simply different. Museum trips, poetry readings, and plays allow young artists to experience and connect with the larger artistic community. Students win more writing awards than those in any other program in the city, including students in prestigious private schools. Award these kids your support.
critical exposure
wish list $100: 1 digital camera and memory card; $500: 2 days of youth photography and youth organizing training; $1000: printing and framing of 10 youth photographs
Nicole Newman,
Executive Director
1816 12th Street NW, Third Floor
Washington, DC 20009
Tel 202 986 2177
CE trains historically marginalized DC youth of color to harness the power of photography and their own voices. It develops their capacity to shape narratives about themselves and their communities and to drive concrete changes in school environments by mounting youth-led campaigns that work toward education equity and that close the opportunity gap. Since 2004, CE has provided experiential learning and leadership opportunities to more than 2,700 Black and Brown youth (140 a year) who have used their photos and narratives to fight for restorative justice programs, find solutions to the school-to-prison pipeline, protect visual and performing arts requirements, advocate for financial literacy education standards, and win funding for new school facilities. Elevating the voices of youth and developing their leadership skills means they control the narrative and create meaningful spaces where they can shape decisions that impact them and their worlds.
young playwrights’ theater
wish list $100: 1 student participating in a digital playwriting program; $500: in-school program for a full classroom; $1000: 1 performance for the community
Brigitte Winter,
Executive Director
6925 Willow Street NW, Suite LL-230
Washington, DC 22201
Tel 202 387 9173 ext 101
YPT empowers students creatively to tell stories about their lived experiences, highlight the impact of oppression on their lives, and speak their hopes for the future. Three-quarters of participants are homeless or in foster care, qualify for TANF or SNAP, and show significant gaps in test scores; all have been affected by pandemic-related learning slide. YPT powerfully weaves the art of playwriting into language arts curricula, enhancing literacy and inviting creative expression and communication; a summer program serves 3rd-5th graders at the highest risk for learning loss. Ensemble-based creative writing and performance opportunities for older youth tap their creativity, and a group of committed alumni writes a full-length play that YPT presents in productions featuring local professional artists. Students Advocating for the Eradication of Racism (SAFER) creates and shares original arts activism pieces exploring what it means to build safe spaces for DC youth.