Sitar Arts Center opened, in the basement of an apartment building, with a simple idea: create a safe, nurturing, after-school environment in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, where 80% of students come from low-income households, and let the arts flourish. And flourish they did. In just over a decade, Sitar has evolved into a multidisciplinary arts organization that annually reaches 850 students from every ward in the District. A 15-week semester of classes at its (now state-of-the-art) center costs only $15-$55 though no student is turned away for inability to pay. And the options are nearly unlimited: music, dance, theater, creative writing, visual and digital arts education for ages 6-18. Early Childhood Arts combines play, movement, and storytelling with parent education; and Camp Sitar is an intensive summer arts program for 160 campers, culminating in a full musical production. Young artists can truly mature and grow at Sitar, and the Emerging Arts Leaders and Summer Teen Intern programs give adolescents the chance to deepen their engagement. You can ensure that this wonderful place continues to sing.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 1

Where They Operate: DC-Ward 1; DC-Ward 4; DC-Ward 5; Adams Morgan; Columbia Heights; Mount Pleasant; Fort Totten; Takoma

Age Groups Served: Infants; Pre-K; Youth; Adolescence; Teenagers; Young Adult; Grades K-5; Grades K-12; Grades 6-12; Grade 9-12

Ethnic Groups Served: African American, 32%; Asian American, 2%; Caucasian, 17%; Latino/Hispanic, 48%; Native American, 1%

Population(s) Served: Low- to Moderate-Income Community Members; Students; Low- to Moderate-Income

Schools They Work In: H.D. Cooke Elementary School; Marie Reed Elementary School; Creative Minds International Public Charter School; Bridges Public Charter School; Briya Public Charter School; Takoma Education Campus

Combined Federal Campaign Number: 79089

United Way Agency Number: 8684

Awards & Recognition

Mayor's Arts Award for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education - 2002

National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award - Semi-Finalist - 2009

The Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management - 2015

Catalogue for Philanthropy - One of the Best - 2015


Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

Budget (FY2014)

  • $3 million or higher
  • The current budget for Sitar Arts Center is: $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

The Catalogue selected us as one of its featured charities! Each year 120 expert reviewers evaluate applicants for distinction, merit, and impact. Each featured charity has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. The Catalogue for Philanthropy charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $29 million for charities across Greater Washington.

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