Capitol Hill Arts Ball 2005

The events on Capitol Hill aren't all about the political elite.  On Friday, November 4th, 2005, the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) celebrated another successful year in the Hill community with their Arts Ball 2005.  The Workshop's major annual fundraising event, it began in 2002 and continues to raise a large sum for the community arts classes enjoyed by children and adults.  This gala evening featured a silent and a live auction, plentiful food and drink from Capitol Catering, Big-Band era music by DC Swing, and some of the finest dressed gentlemen and ladies in the Washington, D.C. area.

The Art Ball patrons mingle in their black-tie finery

The exquisite items up for the silent auction lined the main room and tented garden of the historic Sewall-Belmont House.  From gift baskets to Swarovski crystal earrings to a hand-knit Japanese silk purse, patrons had an overwhelming variety of perfect pre-holiday presents surrounding them.  In addition, tickets for D.C. theater and operatic productions were included from the groundbreaking Horizons Theatre, the Catalyst Theater Company, the thought-provoking Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, and the acclaimed Washington National Opera.  And if a getaway from the bustling city was more your fancy, a weekend stay in rustic Rappahannock County, Virginia was an option.

Capitol Catering whips up delicious mojitos and cosmopolitans

Just in time to capture the attention of the milling crowd sipping mojitos and  cosmopolitans and nibbling on gourmet hors d'oeuvres, DC Swing attracted everyone to the dance floor with classics such as 'In the Mood.'

DC Swing entertains the crowd with Big-Band era favorites

  Charles Jones, one of the CHAW instructors of ballroom dance, broke the ice by dancing the fox trot with one of his apt pupils. Soon couples swirled around the dance floor in a swish of taffeta and tuxedos.

Swing took a break only for a moment: Sarah Bauer, President of the CHAW 2005 Board of Directors, welcomed everybody and presented an award to Laurie Gillman, Development Director at CHAW, and Jean Denton, Chairperson of the Arts Ball Committee, for their outstanding service efforts.  Jonathan Darr, Executive Director of the CHAW Staff, spoke to me about the importance of the Arts Ball: 'This fundraiser is the basis of our tuition assistance program that totals $35,000 per year.  The classes are a great opportunity for kids to experience art with their peers.'

"Spike" bulldog votive lantern donated by Art & Soul gift shop

Three Sunflowers on Blue by Carol Spils, whose work can be seen at Children's Nat'l. Center in D.C.


Triquetta Liturgical Symbol by Lynda Smith-Bugge

The live auction in the middle of the evening had everybody clustered on the dance floor so they could hear the enticing descriptions.  Among the items were an hour of dance instruction with Charles Jones, a 'red carpet premiere' sponsored by Films on the Hill, a made-to-order quilt by local artist T.C. Duong, a floral watercolor by renowned instructor Gina Clapp, and a 'ballerina birthday party'' every little girls' fantasy.  The largest masterpiece of the auction, an 'Italian Mosaic Mirror,' was crafted by all of the children who attended the Camp Italy Workshop in August; it bore an amazing likeness to the ancient Roman mosaics seen in several history books!

Watercolor by Wilfred Jervis

The Workshop's mission of building community through the arts was captured in the spirit of the evening.  The sponsors' including Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, Art and Soul gift shop, and Coldwell Banker Real Estate' were as diverse as the patrons.

From left: Yansi Fugel black overlay shirt, Yansi Fugel unstructured jacket, Lafayette 148 silk blouse; all at The Forecast boutique

CHAW is currently holding registration for adult classes beginning November 7th, 2005.  Classes encompass all art genres, from dance to painting to crafting book albums.

Clockwise from top left: Fused glass and bead necklace and earrings by CHAW instructor Brian Costner; handcrafted sterling silver necklace made by Margaret Broughall; sterling silver Navajo bead necklace donated by Saguaro Silver

In addition to its courses, CHAW also holds art exhibitions.  The Workshop is currently accepting entries for a juried photography exhibition January 2 - February 4, 2006. In January 2006, the Arts Workshop's Photography Month, the exhibition will help to celebrate the grand opening of its newly renovated darkroom and new digital computer lab.  For further information on the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop and its myriad of events and programs, visit the website at or the blog at  The Arts Ball 2005 was a great success, and it left at least one arts enthusiast wanting to participate more in the Washington D.C. arts community.

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