Sitar Arts Center’s Create Change Gala at Planet Word 


Charles DeSantis and David McDermott co-chaired the Sitar Arts Center 2022 Create Change Benefit Gala & Auction on Oct. 20 at Planet Word on 13th Street NW.

The annual event celebrated DC’s children, teens, and young adults who Create Change within themselves and their communities through the arts. Produced by Be Dismond Sweet, Sitar’s Create Change Gala welcomed 262 guests and raised more than $357,500 for arts education programming, with $124,000 funds raised between the gala’s Live and Silent Auctions — the highest single-day fundraising total in the organization’s gala history.

Guests enjoyed a lively cocktail reception and a welcome from student dancers with the Washington Ballet at Sitar, followed by a three-course dinner by Occasions Caterers and an entertainment program emceed by Sitar alumni Herb Scott and Joel Perez Avila. During the event, Sitar awarded the annual Rhonda Buckley Award for Outstanding Leadership in Community Arts to Sitar student Dakota Dannett. Sitar also awarded the 10th Annual Peter Fox Award to Sitar student and aspiring musician, Sarah Garcia. Following the awards, Sitar Arts Center honored the legacy of community leader, visionary philanthropist, and Sitar founding angel, Nancy M. “Bitsey” Folger, who has been at the heart of Sitar since the beginning.

Founded in 2000, Sitar Arts Center is a multidisciplinary arts center providing affordable, high-quality education and workforce development in the visual, performing, and digital arts to Washington, D.C., youth. By removing financial and cultural barriers to arts education and career training, Sitar envisions a city in which all young people are supported on their path to discover their creativity and achieve their full potential.

Craig Horness, Sitar Board President Mario Garcia Durham and Jere Ford. Photo by Diyanna Monet Burton.

Sitar Board Vice President Quanda Allen, Kathy Luu, Gala Co-Chair Charles DeSantis, Iyanla Vanzant, Ifé Potter, Lonnie Graham and Larry La. Photo by Diyanna Monet Burton.

Maureen Corrigan, Eve Lilley and Washington Ballet Artistic Director Julie Kent. Photo by Herman Burney.

Ballet dancer welcome from the Washington Ballet at Sitar Arts Center. Photo by Herman Burney.

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