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Join us for a fabulous virtual event this spring in support of the remarkable education and gospel music programs of Washington Performing Arts. Celebrate with us—and honor James Sandman, an arts education champion, advocate for equity and justice, and beloved Washington Performing Arts Board member for nearly two decades. 

The great German literary master Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.” At Washington Performing Arts, we agree and embrace this charge.

Education and engagement are at the heart of why Washington Performing Arts was founded: to celebrate and spark curiosity, collaboration, and creativity, and to be a home for all members of our community where they can experience the arts. For more than 50 years, Washington Performing Arts has produced educational programs throughout the community in partnership with DC Public Schools and dozens of embassies, and via our gospel music programs for people of all ages. Did you know that Washington Performing Arts annually produces more than 800 education and community engagement events that serve over 50,000 participants across the greater D.C. area?

Roots & Wings will be free to the publicbut we need your support to power these programs!



 Capital Arts Programs D.C. Keys DC Honor Ensembles Embassy Adoption Program



Anticipate a dynamic lineup: the artists, teaching artists, students, and staff that bring these programs to life every day!

Plus performances from:

Jenny Lin Dreamers' Circus Matthew Whitaker Children of the Gospel Choir



 James J. Sandman

James J. Sandman has served on the Washington Performing Arts Board of Directors for nearly 20 years in a variety of roles: Chair of Education Programs, Chair of the Audit Committee, Vice Chair of the Board, and always as a principled advocate, generous partner, and loyal friend. Indeed, arts education and equitable access to our programs have been paramount during Jim’s service—he brings our founding motto “Everybody in, nobody out” to life through a shining example.

Currently Distinguished Lecturer and Senior Consultant to the Future of the Profession Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, Jim has had a long and varied career in private practice with a leading law firm, in government service, and as a public interest lawyer. Jim has offered Washington Performing Arts a unique perspective, not only as an arts lover, but also as a past General Counsel of the District of Columbia Public Schools and a current member of the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board. His championing of justice and equity has had national impact and reachJim is President Emeritus of the Legal Services Corporation, the largest funder of civil legal aid in the United States. He practiced law for 30 years with the international, Washington-based law firm of Arnold & Porter and served as the firm’s Managing Partner for a decade, and he is a past President of the 110,000-member District of Columbia Bar.

An active member of nearly a dozen boards and commissions, his leadership within and service to our community is expansive and deeply impactful. Join us in honoring Jim and celebrating the programs that he has helped nurture for decades! 

Jim and Beth Sandman with Jenny Jim Sandman EAP Presentation Jim Sandman Hug Sandman Family





Special thanks to the members of our Board of Directors, Junior Board, and Women’s Committee leading the effort in support of our arts education and gospel music programs!

Event Co-Chairs

Trista L. P. Colbert

Kathryn Jones


 Auction Co-Chairs

Grace Lin

Elaine Rose



Debbie Driesman

Tom Gallagher

Cassidy Grunninger

Arleen Kessler

André O. Lewis

Glendonia McKinney

Alyssa O’Connor

W. Stephen Piper

Naboth van den Broek

Reginald Van Lee

Gladys Watkins

Carolyn Ross Wilson

Gary Yacoubian


Photos Above:

Group 1 (L to R): Participants in Capital Arts Programs; D.C. Keys; D.C. Honor Ensembles; and Embassy Adoption Program, all partnerships with DC Public Schools

Group 2 (L to R): Jenny Lin; Dreamers’ Circus; Matthew Whitaker; and Children of the Gospel Choir

Group 3 (L to R): James (Jim) Sandman and wife Elizabeth (Beth) Mullin with Jenny Bilfield, Washington Performing Arts President & CEO; Jim Sandman presents a gift to then Ambassador of Mexico, Arturo Sarukhan, and his wife, Veronica Valencia Sarukhan, (who are both now Honorary Directors of WPA) in appreciation of their support of the Embassy Adoption Program; Jim Sandman hugs Kaya Henderson, then Chancellor of the D.C. Public Schools, at a Washington Performing Arts event; Jim and Beth, with son Joe Sandman and his husband Jonathan Beam, and daughter Liz Sandman, at a Washington Performing Arts Gala

Roots & Wings Garden Decoration