The Mars Urban Arts Initiative (MUAI) is a creative platform for Washington Performing Arts and the D.C. community to celebrate and empower local artists through performances, unique educational programs, and interdisciplinary grassroots collaborations that showcase the diversity and vitality of our city. D.C. has always been an incubator for powerful artistic voices with worldwide resonance, from Duke Ellington and Todd Duncan to Shirley Horn and Chuck Brown. Reflective of our founder Patrick Hayes’ motto, “Everybody in, nobody out,” the Mars Urban Arts Initiative amplifies the role of local artists throughout Washington Performing Arts’ productions, educational opportunities, and special events. MUAI also curates educational workshops, master classes, and student performances that connect local students with distinguished performers, in conjunction with our signature education programs, such as the Capital Arts Partnership, Embassy Adoption Program, and Gospel Choirs. The Mars Urban Arts Initiative is anchored by residencies for leading artists and ensembles, curated performances across all eight wards, and artistic happenings that reflect what it means to call D.C. home.

For more information, email Nicholas Alexander Brown at

DowntownDC Live: East of the River Steel Band • Thu, Jun 21, 12:30-1:30pm • Franklin Square Park
Washington Performing Arts' Mars Urban Arts Initiative presents the East of the River Steel Band as part of the DowntownDC LIVE summer series at Franklin Square Park.

By the People Festival Gospel Choir Pop-Up Concerts • Sun, Jun 24
12pm • Union Market (1309 5th Street NE)
1:30pm • No King's Collective (1402 H Street NE)
3:30pm • Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building (900 Jefferson Drive SW)

Washington Performing Arts’ Mars Urban Arts Initiative is generously supported by Jacqueline Badger Mars and Mars, Incorporated. Gospel music programs at Washington Performing Arts are made possible in part by Mr. Jeffrey Bauman and Ms. Linda Fienberg and by the Dan Cameron Family Foundation, Inc.