The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop's (CHAW's) mission is to build community through the arts. It is a community-based, not-for-profit organization founded in 1972 by Sally Crowell and other community members who were interested in sharing their artistic expertise with children and adults. Arts instruction classes were held in several Capitol Hill churches until, in the late 1970's, the organization obtained the use of the old B.B. French School (545 Seventh St, SE) from the District of Columbia government.
CHAW embarked on an extensive renovation of the facility (which had been closed for many years) through a partnership with the Marines of the 8th & I Street Barracks, neighborhood businesses, and local residents. Federal financial support from the U.S. Department of the Interior helped to fund the endeavor. The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop moved into the fully renovated building in 1980.
The Workshop facility includes a dance studio (which doubles as a recital hall), paint studio, black box theater, art gallery, complete ceramics/pottery studio, a photography darkroom (the only "open" darkroom in D.C.), private music instruction studios, and business offices.
The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop is located in a racially and economically diverse neighborhood. Students, artists, faculty, audiences, and staff come from diverse communities throughout the Capital Region - and especially from Capitol Hill. CHAW is continually evolving to meet the needs of the community.