Today, the DC Council’s Committee on Business & Economic Development advanced unanimously legislation from Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6) authorizing the Mayor to renew and extend Capitol Hill Arts Workshop’s lease at their current location for the next 20 years.
Attached are remarks from Councilmember Allen:
“Since it’s opening nearly 50 years ago, CHAW has served thousands of youth and adult students, artists, and patrons each year. CHAW is a fixture and staple of the Ward 6 community. Almost everyone has a story of a camp, a performance, a class, or an event where CHAW played a central role. Getting the legislation through this next hurdle gets us one step closer to a long-term lease that better secures CHAW's future.
Their mission - to discover individual potential while learning and teaching, and further the notion that the arts create a common ground and must be accessible to all – is evidenced through their many decades of work.
In the past year, since the pandemic has impacted the ability to gather in person, CHAW quickly converted their model so that they could continue to serve the community. Changing their educational programs to online formats and ensuring that their physical space could continue to support the community, CHAW opened their building to the Ward 6 Mutual Aid Network (W6MA), a volunteer collective supporting DC’s Black and Brown communities hit hardest by COVID-19.
The CHAW building has functioned as a food collection hub, which serves 2000 neighbors per week. CHAW has used this partnership to distribute art kits and books to children living in shelters and public housing, along with designing and distributing health-related informational brochures to assist in the campaign to educate under-served communities about the benefits of vaccination.
These are just a few examples of CHAW’s dedication to community, the ability to pivot in hard times, and strength to carry forward the goal of making the arts accessible to all, especially our most forgotten community members. They are invaluable to Ward 6 and have been a beloved part for many children for what it means to grow up here and for adults who love to call Ward 6 home.
Since becoming a Councilmember, I’ve worked to move us in this direction - to get CHAW to a place where they could secure a long term lease in a building they’ve occupied for so long. This allows for CHAW to better prepare for capital improvements, fundraise, and reach their long-term strategic and planning goals. Today, we are one step closer and I look forward to getting this over the finish line.”