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“The Women’s Committee is a diverse group of women of all ethnicities, and we must keep it that way.”
– Barbara W. Gordon, Founder, Women’s Committee

The Women’s Committee of Washington Performing Arts was organized in 1969 in response to a need for community outreach. We are one of the earliest-formed volunteer organizations for women in the nation’s capital that focuses on community service through the performing arts and support for high quality performances.


Membership and Meetings

Washington Performing Arts founder and noted impresario Patrick Hayes and local arts patron Barbara Mackenzie Gordon envisioned a diverse community of Washington Performing Arts supporters and gave the Women’s Committee its early years of inspired leadership. By design, it has always been comprised of women of varied cultures and backgrounds to advocate for Washington Performing Arts.

The Women’s Committee—a group of highly accomplished, professional women from throughout the DMV, most of whom are currently retired—meets monthly to keep apprised of Washington Performing Arts’s many programs and discuss how we can support these activities. Since COVID-19, we have continued our meetings on Zoom.

Impact and Volunteerism

Members of the Women’s Committee are involved in meaningful and exciting initiatives: Task Force for the Arts and Social Justice, Singer-Songwriter Competition, Washington Performing Arts Annual Gala and Auction, Enriching Experiences for Seniors, Joseph and Goldie Feder Memorial String Competition, as well as serving as hosts at Washington Performing Arts Performances and volunteers at Washington Performing Arts Mars Arts D.C. and Education Program Community Events—and more! Click here to learn more in detail about all of these initiatives and more.

In addition to these rewarding activities and monthly meetings, Women’s Committee members are invited to programs at embassies, and frequently schedule group outings that build on their shared passion for arts and culture, fine dining, and fashion all around the District.

New Initiatives

During the pandemic, the Women’s Committee has launched two new meaningful initiatives to engage area youth.

Task Force for the Arts and Social Justice
Wishing to take action in response to the systemic racism and bigotry underpinning the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, the Women’s Committee formed a Task Force for the Arts and Social Justice to seek to address these inequities and promote healing and unity through the arts. In order to spotlight the thoughts and responses of young people, the Task Force proposed a panel discussion among members of Washington Performing Arts’ Children of the Gospel Choir entitled “Using our Voices for a Collective Liberation,” which took place in June 2021 (watch here).

2023 Social Justice Singer-Songwriter Competition

Calling all D.C. High School Singer Songwriters!

Write and perform an original inspirational song, in any genre you choose, focusing on social justice and the evolution of the social and cultural landscape in our city, region, country, or world.

Winner Performance: The winner of the Social Justice Singer Songwriter Competition will perform as an opening act at Songbyrd Music House, alongside Mars Arts DC Artists, the Jogo Project on June 7, 2023! (Winner must be available 4:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. on June 7)

Application Deadline: May 14, 11:59 p.m. ET



If you would like additional information about the Washington Performing Arts Women’s Committee, contact Meiyu Tsung at Friends@WashingtonPerformingArts.org or by calling (202) 533-1880.

2022/23 Washington Performing Arts Women’s Committee

Dina Lassow, President
Lorraine Paladino Adams, 1st Vice President
Denise Rollins, Recording Secretary
Carolyn Ross Wilson, Assistant Recording Secretary
Elaine Rose, Treasurer
Francesca Britton, Assistant Treasurer
Wendy Shapiro, Corresponding Secretary
Albertina Lane, Historian
Arleen Kessler, Immediate Past President
Barbara Mackenzie Gordon, Founding President

Ernestine Arnold
Toni-jeanne Baker
Beverly Bascomb
Sylvia Belton
Bunny Bialek
Patricia Bonds
Gwendolyn Brown
Charlotte Cameron
Claire Cherry-Ruiz
Jannes Waples Gibson
Linda Goldman
Paula Goldman
Ruth Reed Hodges
Loretta Huggins
Enid Johnson
Madelyn Elise Johnson
Vinetta Jones
Elaine Kolodny
Eleanor Leak
Hilda McIntosh
Glendonia McKinney
Cheryl McQueen
Dianne McRae
Paulette Nehama
Brenda Parker
DeVera Redmond
Shebbie Robinson Rice
Changamiré Ross
Rita Segerman
Deborah Sewell
Billie LaVerne Smith
Therrell Smith
Diana Johnson Veilleux
Gladys M. Watkins
Bette Davis Wooden


† deceased

List up to date as of September 9, 2022.