illustration by artist Nonja Tiller of woman of color wearing red shirt with a bow
Artist Nonja Tiller, Courtesy of Art Enables
The ACPSA (Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account), which tracks the impact of arts and culture on the economy, illustrates a stark truth: the arts economy “shrank at nearly twice the rate of the economy as a whole” in 2019 and 2020, and the NEA reports that unemployment for artists is still twice what it was pre-pandemic. And while venues like theaters, concert halls, and museums are now open to the public, audience hesitancy along with the rise and fall and rise again of disease among performers – has created tremendous uncertainty for all involved.
the arts can help us create a sense of community
This is particularly troubling in a polarized society because the arts can help us process complex feelings, teach empathy, and create a much-needed sense of community. It is encouraging, therefore, that the community-based organizations represented in this catalogue have found a way to return to in-person work (maintaining hybrid approaches when they work best). They have opened their doors to others, created alliances to bring culturally relevant programming to kids in schools, have served returning citizens, women in recovery, unhoused children and families, wounded veterans, teens working toward a GED, members of the disability community, and seniors in assisted living. They have fostered dialogue, ignited productive debate, created connection, and helped young people break through negative self-images to tell authentic stories about their lives, build bonds of brother/sisterhood, and become catalysts for change. They are passing the pen … and the power.
performing, literary, & visual arts/youth & community arts
man playing instrument in orchestral group
Courtesy of Washington Bach Consort
washington bach consort
For 45 years, this premier Baroque choral and orchestral group has delighted audiences with historically-informed performances of 18th century music, promoting an appreciation of Bach’s music at every major venue in Greater Washington and through subscription series concerts. But just as important as performing Bach is “Giving Bach,” so a range of free or low-cost enrichment activities bring high-caliber music to new and diverse audiences. Bach to School enhances listening skills and teaches basic music theory to underserved elementary school students, while the Wunderkind Projekt aims to inspire and shape the next generation of conductors, musicians, and artists. A free Noontime Cantata Series attracts students, local business owners, individuals experiencing homelessness, and seniors alike. All told, the Consort helps 10,000 listeners appreciate the beauty of Baroque music each year. Giving Bach is for everyone.
wish list $100: costume rental for a Bach to School play; $500: rehearsal and performance fees for 1 musician; $1000: bus rides to educational programs for 150 students
Marc Eisenberg,
Executive Director
1310 G Street NW, Suite 740
Washington, DC 20005
Tel 202 429 2121
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Give Now
anacostia playhouse

wish list $100: cleaning and office supplies; $500: monitor, printer, steamer, or locking cabinet; $1000: stipend
for 1 local non-equity performer

Stephawn Stephens,
Executive Artistic Director
2020 Shannon Place SE
Washington, DC 20020
Tel 202 290 2328
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The Anacostia Playhouse brings arts presentations, performances, exhibits and instruction to an underserved neighborhood, and provides a venue for local artists to create, perform, and display their work. Located in a place rich in history and great in promise, the Playhouse is uniquely positioned to serve the local community east of the river while it also introduces the neighborhood to members of other communities – and helps restore nighttime vigor to historic Anacostia and its economy. In addition to mounting three annual productions, it regularly partners with Theater Alliance (its resident company) and Essential Theater (an African American theater company in the metro area), and hosts a range of performers, from jazz musicians to puppeteers. Between performances, local schools, youth programs, nonprofits, and others utilize the space to make art and come together … as a community.
art enables

wish list $100: supplies for 1 resident artist for a month; $500: inclusive workshop for the community and resident artists; $1000: artist-in-residence scholarship for a month

Tony Brunswick,
Executive Director
2204 Rhode Island Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20018
Tel 202 554 9455
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Art Enables is the District’s only nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for adult artists with disabilities to make, market, and earn income from their original and compelling visual artwork. This progressive art studio and gallery provides artists with the creative space, materials, and vocational support they need to become proud, professional artists. Since its founding in 2001, over 100 artists have created countless pieces of artwork; shown work in over 200 exhibitions locally, nationally, and internationally; and generated $1.2 million in sales. With a new hybrid model for exhibitions, workshops, and other community-based events, Art Enables annually welcomes well over 75,000 people in person and virtually to celebrate its artists’ work and talents. Artists earn income from selling their art and build the skills, relationships, and experience important for a successful artistic career and a meaningful future.
the theatre lab school of the dramatic arts

wish list $100: art supplies and food for 1 drama camper; $500: a trained
Life Stories instructor for 10 grieving families; $1000: 1 Musical Theatre Camp scholarship for a deserving child

Deb Gottesman,
Co-Executive Director
900 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
Tel 202 824 0449
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Returning citizens, women in recovery, unhoused children and families, wounded veterans, teens working toward a GED, seniors in assisted living: everyone has a story to tell, a voice that needs to be heard, a life that is ready for transformation. At TTL they get to tell those stories, transforming their personal narratives into film or theater. And the self-esteem that comes from creating original works of dramatic art is life-changing. The pioneering, tuition-free, Life Stories (and Institute) program teaches hundreds of children, youth, and adults to create original dramatic work from their personal experiences. Hundreds more are able to participate in classes and summer camps in acting, directing, playwriting, and musical theater. Instruction comes from local actors, directors, and playwrights, and each year more than $150,000 in additional scholarships is granted to a third of those enrolled. Let the voices be heard.
man helping child paint with brush
Courtesy of Life Pieces to Masterpieces
life pieces to masterpieces

wish list $100: gas for 1 week of youth transportation; $500: 1 week of after-school program meals; $1000: school supplies, art supplies, and games for 1 classroom for a whole school year

Mary Brown,
Co-Founder & Executive Director
5600 Eads Street NE, 4th Floor
Washington, DC 20019
Tel 202 486 6567
Learn More
Give Now
In a world that devalues and threatens Black boys and young men, LPTM provides a refuge. Its flagship after-school program engages Ward 7 and 8 elementary, middle, and high school youth in arts, education, and character development. Apprentices work on unique acrylic on sewn canvas paintings, write poetry and prose, learn movement, music, and cinematography – to break through negative self-images, tell authentic stories about their lives, build bonds of brotherhood, and become catalysts for change. Younger children get rigorous tutoring in literacy and math and older youth experience academic support, college and career readiness, Black male development, leadership training, and more, to prepare them for post-secondary success. 100% of last year’s seniors went on to college, all received partial or full scholarships, and all are sewing “life pieces” into “masterpieces” – in the art they create, the lives they lead, the communities they build.
east of the river boys & girls steelband

wish list $170: 1 month
supply of snacks including fruits
and veggies; $500: performance
equipment (stands, cases, mallets);
$1000: band uniforms for performances

Kimberly C Gaines,
Executive Director
4701 Jay Street NE
Washington, DC 20019
Tel 202 640 0483
Learn More
Give Now
The Steelband is the only non-school based instrumental music program in Ward 7, where the scarcity of music education with cultural relevancy is a crucial issue. The program provides youth with a positive outlet and safe space to develop strong values and lifelong connections to the arts. Students meet twice weekly for steelpan instruction and on Saturdays for field trips and life skills classes on substance abuse prevention, sexuality, violence prevention, and social media. Music instruction is provided in the traditional Trinidadian method – line repetition by ear, not by reading sheet music (though music theory is also taught). The fruits of the work are evident in some 25 live performances a year – from Frederick Douglass Family Day at the US Park Service to the Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Center. This powerful band has a long wait list; resources will help it grow.

wish list $100: journals and drawing
supplies for 12 youth offenders;
$300: cultural arts workshop for grades
K-12; $500: cultural arts performance
for 350 at a Title I school

Christina Walton,
Director of Operations
8455 Colesville Road, Suite 202
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Tel 301 588 7525 ext 105
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Give Now
While the arts have faced cutbacks in many schools, Artivate ensures that creativity has a place to grow and flourish. Since 1995, through alliances with artists, arts organizations, museums, community-based groups, and service agencies, it has brought culturally diverse programs – in dance, music, storytelling, theater, and visual arts – directly to schools and communities in DC, Maryland, and northern VA. In a typical (pre-pandemic) year, 200,000 audience members experience 1,500 cultural arts performances and artists’ workshops. Project Youth ArtReach also brings the arts into area detention and correctional facilities, and provides mentorships to incarcerated youth. Equally dedicated to arts and artists, Artivate offers employment and resources to over 60 performers, writers, and creators. In the words of one participant, art not only frees our bodies, it releases us from the confinement of our minds.
youth & community arts
little girl giving thumbs up in front of her clay creations
Photographer Liz Rubando, Courtesy of Capitol Hill Arts Workshop
youth & community arts
capitol hill arts workshop

wish list $100: a month of gas for the after-school program van; $500: 1 week of summer camp tuition; $1000: 1 year of after-school arts classes

Amy Moore,
Executive Director
545 7th Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
Tel 202 547 7278
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Give Now
Rooted in the belief that artmaking and community-building work best together, CHAW has been building community through the arts for 50 years. Weekly classes for children and adults nurture arts literacy and include everything from visual arts to dance, music, theater, ceramics, and photography. Small-sized arts camps encourage learning and connection in children. Special events (like a two-woman Hamlet or an evening pot-throwing class) happen across the year, and an open darkroom is available to area residents. The CHAW gallery is a true community resource: it features a range of established and emerging local artists in shows and residencies, encouraging artists and lifting them up through commissions, exhibitions, showcases, and professional development. Through it all, a community comes together, gives rise to a multiplicity of voices, and enables more dynamic and diverse arts experiences. What does better art engender? A more just community.
justice arts coalition

wish list $100: 130 letters to incarcerated artists with feedback on their work; $500: 150 arts engagement packets; $1000: framing for 10+ art works in an exhibition

Wendy Jason,
Founding Director
907 Hudson Avenue, #3
Takoma Park, MD 20912
Tel 907 299 0667
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Give Now
JAC elevates the works, voices, and humanity of people impacted by the criminal legal system and establishes bonds between those inside and outside prison walls. Its multi-arts distance-learning program, CorrespondArts, is the first serving people in Maryland prisons. Participants choose their discipline – creative writing, visual arts, theatre – and JAC provides supplies, lessons, and prompts to stimulate creativity. Through letter writing and the exchange of creative work, pARTner Project brings 250 incarcerated artists together with artists and arts appreciators on the outside. ArtLinks exhibitions have featured over 100 incarcerated artists while also offering community members the opportunity to share reflections and feedback in personal letters. Reaching over 300 attendees since its launch in summer 2020, Create + Connect workshops feature artists, restorative and transformative justice practitioners, advocates, and activists who demonstrate how the arts can foster dialogue, ignite change, and create connection.
shout mouse press

wish list $100: writing session with a story coach; $500: speaker fee for youth author & classroom set of books; $1000: print run of 250+ youth-authored diverse and inclusive books

Kathy Crutcher,
Founder & Executive Director
1638 R Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
Tel 240 772 1545
Learn More
Give Now
Shout Mouse provides writing, book publishing, and public speaking opportunities for local young people (ages 12+) of marginalized identities. Story coaches lead writing workshops that engage youth from partner nonprofits in producing original children’s books, comics, novels, memoirs, and poetry collections inspired by their own lived experiences. Books are professionally edited, designed, published, and distributed in homes and classrooms across the country to engage readers of all backgrounds and foster a more just and inclusive next generation. Authors are trained in public speaking and give media interviews and author talks in schools, universities, and other community spaces, reaching over 30,000 audience members. With 50+ titles, nine national awards, and over 100,000 books in circulation, young authors are proving that peer voices are powerful voices, that representation matters. By supporting them to write and publish their own books, Shout Mouse passes the pen — and the power.