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 (0-2); Pre-K (3-4); Youth (5-11); Pre-teen/teen (12-17); Young adult (18-24)

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

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

  • Number of children and youth we serve annually:   850
  • Performances/exhibits/art classes, etc. offered annually, including student showcases and a summer musical :   120
  • High school graduation rate (or GED completion rate) of Sitar students:   100%
  • Number of volunteer teaching artists who work with Sitar annually:   100
  • Percentage of Sitar students showing improvement in 21st century learning skills, including collaboration, communication, initiative and accountability, and creative and critical thinking:   80%

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


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

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