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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 which focuses on community service through the performing arts and support for high quality performances.

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

Members of the Women’s Committee are involved in exciting and impactful activities:

Washington Performing Arts Annual Gala and Auction
The Women’s Committee selects Chairs to collaborate with Washington Performing Arts to stage this festive, annual event. Members also donate and solicit valuable items for the Silent Auction and serve as Hostesses.

Enriching Experiences for Seniors
Women’s Committee members work with Washington Performing Arts to plan, schedule, and audit musical performances at senior centers throughout the program year, reaching as many as 3,000 seniors annually in the Enriching Expreiences for Seniors program. Members also participate in an Annual Holiday Gift Collection for the residents of the Unique Residential Care Center.

Embassy Adoption Program
Women’s Committee members interact with fifth and sixth grade teachers and students in D.C. Public Schools during programs presented by diplomats and global partners through the Embassy Adoption Program. We further assist with the students’ year-end presentations, as well as with the annual Mini United Nations held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Joseph and Goldie Feder Memorial String Competition
The Women’s Committee helps Washington Performing Arts to coordinate the annual, day-long live competition and subsequent awards ceremony. We provide scholarships for 1-2 finalists and sponsor an event featuring their performance(s). .

Washington Performing Arts Performance Programming
Women’s Committee members are Washington Performing Arts donors and support its season concerts via annual subscriptions and individual ticket purchases. Washington Performing Arts also provides Committee members with complimentary or discounted tickets for some performances!

Audience Ambassadorship at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Sixth & I
For Washington Performing Arts performances presented at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts or at Sixth & I, Committee volunteers serve as ambassadors and greeters to welcome patrons, answer their questions, and help them get to know Washington Performing Arts. Washington Performing Arts provides complimentary tickets for Women’s Committee volunteers!

Comcast Lounge at the Music Center at Strathmore
For Washington Performing Arts main stage performances presented at the Music Center at Strathmore, Women’s Committee volunteers serve as Comcast Lounge greeters. Washington Performing Arts provides complimentary tickets for the volunteers!

And More!
In addition to these rewarding activities and our monthly meetings, Women’s Committee members schedule public outings to see current art exhibitions, dine at hot-ticket restaurants, have private women’s boutique visits and more!

If you would like additional information about the Washington Performing Arts Women’s Committee, contact Brooke Bartolome at bbartolome@washingtonperformingarts.org or by calling 202.533.1887.

2019-20 Washington Performing Arts Women's Committee

Arleen Kessler, President
Denise Rollins, 1st Vice President
Ruth Reed Hodges, 2nd Vice President
Vinetta Jones, Recording Secretary
Jacqueline Newsome-Williams, Assistant Recording Secretary
Lorraine Paladino Adams, Treasurer
Dina Lassow, Assistant Treasurer
Ernestine Arnold, Corresponding Secretary
Shebbie Robinson Rice, Immediate Past President
+Barbara Mackenzie Gordon, Founding President


Toni-jeanne Baker
Beverly Bascomb
Sylvia Belton
Bunny Bialek
Patricia Bonds
Francesca Britton
Gwendolyn Brown
Elsie Bryant
Charlotte Cameron
Claire Cherry-Ruiz
Carleene Dei
Jan DuPlain
Naomi Freeman
Jannes Waples Gibson
Linda Goldman
Paula Goldman
Rosemarie Harris
Enid Johnson
Madelyn Elise Johnson
Edna Robinson Jones
Elaine Kolodny
Albertina Lane
Eleanor Leak
Hilda McIntosh
Glendonia McKinney
Cheryl McQueen
Dianne McRae
Annette Morchower
Paulette Nehama
Brenda Parker
Debbie Rayford
DeVera Redmond
Elaine Rose
Changamiré Ross
Rita Segerman
Deborah Sewell
Wendy Shapiro
Billie LaVerne Smith
Therrell Smith
Leah Tavens
Pauline Thompson
Brenda Vaughan
Diana Johnson Veilleux
Gladys M. Watkins
Carolyn Ross Wilson
Bette Davis Wooden

+ deceased