The Scoop @ CHAW
May 2015
What's happening this month...



Taffety Punk Presents: Hamlet, Q1

Shows May 6-23:

Weds-Sat @ 7:30pm

Sat May16 & 23 @ 3pm

Click here for more info


Friday, May 15

Friday ARTnights:

Clay & Cabernet


Click here for more info


Friday, May 15

Friday ARTnights:

Working from the Figure


Click here for more info


Saturday, May 23

Unlikely Action Heroes


Click here for more info


A sneak preview of what's coming up in June...


Thursday, June 4

Do More 24

ALL DAY, Wherever you are!


Thursday, June 4

Solo Show Gallery Opening: Rindy O'Brien's "Back to the Garden"


Click here for more info


Friday, June 5

Friday ARTnights: Working from the Figure


Click here for more info


Friday, June 12

Friday ARTnights: Paint & Sip


Click here for more info


Friday, June 12

Friday ARTnights: Burlesque Workshop


Click here for more info


Saturday, June 13

CHAW Performance Festival, Writing Day, and Adult Student Show Opening

All day

Writing Wkshp 10am-2pm

Click here for more info


Friday, June 19

Friday ARTnights: Working from the Figure


Click here for more info


Friday, June 19

Friday ARTnights: Clay & Cabernet


Click here for more info


Monday, June 22

First day of CHAW Summer camp!

Click here for more info


  CFC #71262
United Way 2011 
United Way #8618

 CHAW is a designated charity in the World Bank Group Community Connections Fund

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and our Blog for all the latest and greatest at CHAW 
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Arts as a way of Life throughout a Lifetime

"I am incredibly proud to support CHAW and its valuable role in our community.  Like many others, my children have grown in their personal and artistic skills through CHAW programs, and my wife and I have been frequent guests at art shows and performances.   There is no place like it, and each day I walk past CHAW the music and activities within bring a smile to my face!"

-Jim Loots, CHAW Parent, Monthly Sponsor, and ANC Commissioner 


Help us raise $65,000 in 65 Days for Tuition Assistance!

And mark your calendars for DO MORE 24, June 4 - All proceeds will support #PaintBucket2015.
Well, spring is passing quickly, and ninety degree weather might be here to stay.  Before we relax into patio and barbecue season, it's a great time to reflect on the year so far and how to make the most of longer hours and shedding of our coats.  We have lots of opportunities here at CHAW this month to continue--or start--your family's art story, and to help make an arts story possible for our lower-resourced neighbors throughout the community.

Enjoy the sunshine with one of our outdoor drawing, painting, or photography classes; learn a new skill with a one-time workshop; dance it out with a weekly class or Friday ARTnight. Make an impact for a child who can't afford classes by donating to our Annual Paint Bucket Campaign.  Tell your #CHAWsome story on Yelp, or even share it with the National Endowment for the Arts for their 50th Anniversary.  We love providing opportunities to engage with the arts, but we love it even more when you get involved.  Share your stories.  Shout about the art from the rooftops (and if that rooftop includes a lounge chair and a drink with an umbrella, so much the better)!

Read on for all different ways to connect with the CHAW community. Whether it's a one-time event or a creative workshop, class, or summer camp, your unique creative energy makes a difference.  You can also always visit us on the web  for the most up-to-date offerings, and join our virtual community on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.  

EVENT Spotlight: 
Unlikely Action Heroes
Unlikely Heroes Action Figure Class

Since the 60's when the first GI Joe was introduced into childhood pretend play, action figures have been a fixture in American toy boxes. They embody qualities of superheroes and idealized social values, for better or worse. This Saturday afternoon (3pm-6pm) workshop playfully critiques the social values revealed by action figures through history and invites participants to consider our everyday real heroes. Who might be an unlikely action figure but absolutely deserves praise for their super hero kindness, dedication, and hard work? What specialized features would you advertise on the packaging of your "Go-Go-Grandma" or "Sandblaster Steve," the A+ plow driver? We will make unlikely action figures complete with packaging & propaganda designed to celebrate the people who you decide deserve recognition but don't get proper accolades. Expect a fun conversation about how to celebrate the thankless roles in our society and use your unlikely action figure to elevate their status!  Reserve your spot HERE.  Details: Saturday, May 23, 3pm-6pm, at CHAW.  All materials included!

For more information on opportunities to engage with the arts through our many arts events at 
CHAW, visit our Upcoming Events page HERE.  We update this list constantly, so keep an eye on it for all kinds of new and exciting additions to CHAW's programming.

CLASS Spotlight: 
CHAW Summer - Middle & High School Programs

Refer a friend & get $25 for fall classes!

For many families, CHAW is synonymous with Tiny Tots and YAP.  For others, adult oil painting and Friday ARTnights are the main point of connection.  But there's a very important age group that sometimes gets lost in the mix: our middle and high schoolers. 

Focusing on the needs of middle and high schoolers for more independence, our CHAW teaching artists have placed a strong focus on meeting kids where they are while creating programming that allows them to delve more deeply into their artistic skills.  Middle schoolers can choose from ceramics, multimedia, fashion design, and public art & installation, while high school programming focuses on photography or theatre.  In all cases, we shape the experience to help our students use the arts as a medium for creating a personal narrative.  Middle and high school programs continue to build confidence, creativity, and community while focusing on deep skill-building opportunities with mentorship from professional artists as well as safe exploration of key themes that are pervasive in the lives of teens: the media, identity, image, diversity, and more.

For more classes, workshops, and drop-in opportunities, check out our full catalogue HERE .  For more on summer camp for all ages, click HERE.  Class registration for all ages is OPEN for summer and slots are filling up, so don't delay!  

And don't forget to mark your calendar for the spring class Performance Festival, Writing Workshop, and Adult Student Show Opening.  The full schedule will be coming soon, but pro tip: that writing workshop will take place 10am-2pm and is focused on food a trip to Eastern Market might be imminent.  Don't miss it!

CHAW Student of the Month: 
Wan Hoi Lee
Wan Lee
Wan, a fixture of the Wednesday Morning crowd in teaching artist Ellen Cornett's class, has been a treasured part of our CHAW community for years.  Ellen wrote to us recently to let us know how "pleased and proud" she is that Wan has not only been juried into the Potomac Valley Watercolor Society, but also was awarded an Honorable Mention in his very first show with them.  We are so grateful to have Wan's presence at CHAW and are especially thrilled to be able to share his story, below, in his own words: 

Growing up in Malaysia, Chinese lion dances inspired my first childhood drawings.  The lavishly colored lions shattered the light of the tropical sun into a pulsating spectrum that seduced me.  I drew a lion dance for a third grade contest, and the thrill of winning first prize set me on the journey that decades later brought me to CHAW.

I started learning to paint watercolor in high school.  After graduating, I spent several years with a local master learning traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy with its pale pastel shapes, and bold black lines.  I had produced dozens of such paintings by time I immigrated to the United States.  Dealing with the challenges of day to day life in my adopted country left neither time nor energy to paint. 

By the end of my first decade here, I had established a more stable and satisfying life living on the Hill and practicing massage therapy, but something was missing.  Eventually, the boy at the lion dance returned to remind me why I became a painter back in Malaysia.  In a mostly drab world that focused mainly on survival, painting made me happy. 

I had read about CHAW in the Hill Rag and thought a long time about taking a class in watercolor painting.  Inertia and frustration interfered with my actually enrolling, until a client, who happened to teach at CHAW, introduced me to Gina Clapp.  Gina asked me to show her my paintings, then over a decade old.   I brought them to one of her classes.  She looked at them, and invited me to stay.  Gina recognized the artist in me.  CHAW has given me a home where the artist can grow.    

Every class at CHAW provides me with a safe space to enter into myself in the way I must in order to paint.  Each class also offers a group of talented and supportive artist friends to whom I can turn for help at any time; and an opportunity to help and support them in return.  Painting heals me.  It makes me happy.  Each stroke of the brush also helps me to express many other feelings for which I have no words.  Not in Chinese, nor in English.  Colors become my language, and the painting, my story.  

With the support of Gina and my many friends at CHAW, I was recently accepted into the Potomac Valley Watercolor Society.  I had two paintings accepted into a recent show, and received an award for one of the paintings.   When I heard my name announced at the opening, I went from the man I am today to the boy I was in third grade, thrilled with winning a prize, and grateful to CHAW for giving that boy a home. 

Have a student who exemplifies our CHAW community to feature in this section?  Email us here to nominate a CHAWsome member of our community; we welcome and encourage nominations for kids, adults, adults who act like kids, and everyone in between. 

We are thrilled to announce that our very own Jill Strachan, Executive Director and longtime community member, has been awarded a 2015 LGBT Community Pioneer Award from the equally venerable Rainbow History Project.  It would be difficult to express in our limited space how deeply Jill has made an impact on the CHAW community, and her strong advocacy for parity through the arts is unparalleled.  Jill is, as we all know, a powerful voice for equity both inside CHAW and far beyond our walls, and it is absolutely wonderful that she is now being recognized for so much important and dedicated work in our community.


Thank you, Jill, for all you to do build community through the arts every day!  We are lucky to have you.

Come by CHAW any time to say hi to Jill--and don't forget to register for the classes she champions so you, your kids, your grandparents - everyone! - can get in on the creative spirit.


CHAW in the News

The word is getting out--CHAW is the coolest community on the block. Check us out in this hot-off-the-presses article from WTOP! 

Thanks to our CHAWsome supporters, we're the winners of "Best Art Class" in Washington City Paper's 2015 Best Of edition!  We're featured along with a number of great Capitol Hill businesses, so be sure to flip through and visit some of these spots next time you're at CHAW for your award-winning class. 

Speaking of "Best-Ofs," we'd like to send a big THANKS to our friend and neighbor on 8th St., as well as "Best Italian Restaurant" winner for 2015, Lavagna: thanks to their #CHAWsome advocacy, we raised almost $1000 in one night of Dining Out for CHAW to kick off our #PaintBucket2015 campaign!  Follow our progress with the hashtag on social media, and donate to help make sure that our doors stay open to ALL who want to participate in the arts.  All gifts made between now and July 4 will go directly to tuition assistance, providing opportunities for every child to have access to quality arts and community experiences.

We've been out and about, testifying before the DC Council on issues as diverse as funding for the DC Commission on Arts & Humanities, budget committee issues, and the new Books From Birth initiative featured on our blog.  You can find links to the full hearings on the DC Council website, here.

We're back on TV!  Hannah Jacobson, our Director of Marketing & Strategy, chatted about the Refer-A-Friend Campaign for CHAW Summer on our most recent Comcast Newsmakers segment.  (Don't forget to tell your friends about summer camp to get your own $25 gift certificate when they register using your name!)

And from  The Washington Post's Community Calendar to Sosh to East City Art and The Hill is Home, our events are all over the web!  Give us a shout if you see one.  

Click HERE to learn more about supporting CHAW's mission of building community through the arts.

Looking for more ways to get involved at CHAW beyond taking a class or heading over for an event ?  These are just a few of the many ways you can be a part of CHAW, and we're always happy to hear how you want to get creative with us...send ideas thisaway.  

* #PaintBucket2015 is HERE!  Join us on social media and share wildly with your friends on Do More 24, a chance to "Give Where You Live" through United Way on June 4.

* SPECIAL SAVINGS on CHAW classes when you use the code CHAWsome.  It's only for current students, and it's our way of saying thanks for making our community so--well, you know--CHAWsome.

* Get social:  Like us on Facebook  &  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram  for the newest events, special class deals, cool arts-related tips and articles, and photos of the creative process at work. #CHAWsome.

* Check out our  blog!  Did you know that we update twice a month with in-depth artist interviews, guest posts from local leaders, and behind-the-scenes insights from the world of CHAW? 

"Art is what makes a house, a Home, and a Community, a place worth living in. The Smith Team supports CHAW because CHAW supports the Hill!"

Your business can gain valuable exposure to the diverse group of people who attend CHAW's programs with a CHAW sponsorship. Contact Hannah at for more information on our economical rates and many different options to find the sponsorship that's right for you.   


Photos by Leslie Mansour/Graphic Design by Kent Gay

Capitol Hill Arts Workshop *  545 7th Street, SE *  Washington, DC 20003 *  (202) 547-6839 *
CHAW is  funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.  
CHAW is the winner of "Best Art Class" in Washington City Paper's 2015 Readers' Poll, as well as the 2012 Best in the City awards for "arts classes for kids" and "arts classes" in The Washington Post Express.CHAW also took first place in the 2014 Hilly Awards for Arts Organization/Venue of the Year (and was runner-up for Nonprofit of the Year). CHAW was named one of DC's top nonprofits for 2014-2015 by the Catalogue for Philanthropy, and also received recognition in DCist as "Best Venue to See on the Cheap" in its review of the Best Theater Venues in DC in 2014.