Every day someone new discovers the Washington Studio School. For more than 30 years, Washington Studio School has believed in the power of art education to change lives. For years, WSS was largely run by a dedicated group of part-time staff and volunteers who have shaped the distinctive community we are today. Today, WSS is a financially strong organization and a dynamic hub for artists of all skill levels and walks of life who come together to study art in an accessible and welcoming environment.
Our vision of "drawing the artist out in everyone," shapes our distinctive studio-based curriculum, numerous free programs, rotating exhibitions, and financial aid programs organized throughout the year. WSS now serves more than 3,500 students and visitors from across the District and the region.
As a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization, Our fee-based income only covers about 70% of the costs of keeping our class offerings affordable, programs free, equipment in good shape, and talented faculty and professional staff on board. The remaining 30% of our budget comes from the generosity of individual, foundation and corporate donors as well as grantmakers to help support our ambitious programs.
What Our Students Say About Us
MELVIN NESBITT JR. ARTIST
"Washington Studio School instructors are the best! As a student, they've given me the tools I need to transition from amateur to professional artist. They bring lessons that challenge and encourage creativity and growth,
plus they generously share the unique and valuable knowledge they've gained as working artists."
RACHEL HEISS ARTIST & ILLUSTRATOR / WORK-STUDY PARTICIPANT
"Taking courses at WSS made me feel like an art student again. My instructors taught me everything from
foundational skills such as setting up a palette and color-mixing, to more complex skills, strategies and thought
processes. Their courses helped me dust off the artistic cobwebs and gain confidence as a painter. I have a
deeper connection with the school because of my time spent as a work-study participant. WSS has outstanding
teachers, staff members, donors, and students, and I'm happy to be a part of their community."
SERENA MARTIN ILLUSTRATOR and DESIGNER
"I am a self taught Washington, DC based watercolor illustrator and stationary designer, and I began taking
classes at Washington Studio School in June 2018. I can tell that my skill level as an artist has improved
since taking classes, but also my appreciation for art history and ways of looking at art. The community of teachers, students, artists and volunteers also provide a warm and welcoming environment. The teachers I have taken classes with are all phenomenal. They not only teach students the foundations, but they also show students new ways to look at their surroundings, subjects and how art responds and captures what we feel and see. It is a truly comprehensive art education and experience!"
FROM D.C and beyond
Over the last several years, our supporters have enabled WSS to continue to grow, thrive, launch new initiatives, and reach out into the community. We've served students, D.C. area artists and visitors—diverse in age and background—by offering:
EXPANDED FREE PUBLIC PROGRAMS through new partnerships with organizations across the District;
A ROBUST SCHOLARSHIP AND WORK-STUDY PROGRAM to promote growth and diversity in our community, and ensure art education is accessible to talented students regardless of socio-economic background;
D.C AREA ARTISTS EXHIBITION, ARTIST TALK AND TEACHING OPPORTUNITIES.
Keeping Our Vital Mission Alive
Like many other arts organizations, WSS is facing unprecedented challenges due to the covid-19 shutdowns. Our foundation is strong, thanks to sound business management and increased revenue from programs, grants, and the generosity of our donors. But having to cancel our regular Spring Term schedule of classes and workshops—and likely our in-person summer programs as well—will mean a significant loss of income that will impact our finances through the rest of this year.
WE NOW NEED YOU TO JOIN US IN KEEPING THE VITAL MISSION OF WSS ALIVE BY HELPING US RAISE $60,000 BY AUGUST 31.
WSS remains determined to support our faculty and staff during these uncertain times as we reimagine our programs for the digital space to continue to make art education accessible to more people, and keep our growing community engaged and inspired.
The road ahead for everyone is unclear—but we at WSS remain steadfast in the belief that art plays an essential role in bringing people and communities together and helping us make sense of what’s happening in the world around us.
On behalf of all of us at WSS, thank you for your generosity and being a part of our future! We are where we are today because of the financial generosity and volunteerism of our community. To view our community of donors, CLICK HERE.
Call or email WSS Managing Director, Laila Abdul-Hadi Jadallah at 202.234.3030 or
More Ways to Give
Interested in making a sustaining contribution? Click the button below to learn more about ways you can give by joining one of our Giving Circles, making a sustaining monthly contribution, or a qualified charitable distribution.
Washington Studio School is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization, Tax ID 52-1345165. Your gift is tax deductible to the extent fully allowed by law.