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chaw logo



Building Community through the Arts.


A Place where the Arts Connect and Transform People. 


We believe:

    • in discovering individual potential
    • we can all both learn and teach
    • everyone is valuable and deserves respect
    • the arts create common ground
    • the arts challenge 
    • the arts must be accessible

Founded in 1972, Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) plays a unique role in providing creative opportunities to a broad spectrum of our DC community. We serve more than 9,000 youth and adult students, artists, and patrons each year. Our mission of  “building community through the arts” is rooted in the idea that art and community-building are synergistic. A diverse constituency creates more dynamic arts experiences, and dynamic arts experiences engender empathy. Together, they set the stage for transformation. This powerful mechanism for propelling social change is at the heart of all CHAW programming.  

We cast an intentionally wide and multi-dimensional programmatic net in the visual and performing arts, which enables us to adapt easily to the changing needs of our community while being firmly grounded in a stable base of activity that includes classes, camps, performances, space rental, residencies, outreach and workshops. This approach provides unlimited access to creativity, promotes excellence in and uplifts the arts, connects diverse constituencies, encourages coalition building and partnerships, supports local artists, facilitates arts-driven community networks, and stimulates civil discourse.

In 2018, CHAW held 186 unique classes and workshops, 8 outreach partnerships, 87 darkroom visits, 10 recitals, 9 art shows, and 143 theater performances. Additionally, 31 separate organizations utilized CHAW’s facilities and 75 volunteers and interns were hosted.  CHAW directly serves 900 youth ages 3-18 each year and an additional 650 through partner organizations. In our history, we’ve never turned anyone away for inability to pay.

CHAW is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.