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Sitar Arts Center and Bloomberg Philanthropies Partner to Bring Arts Internship Program to Washington, D.C.

Twenty-five local rising public high school seniors will be offered college readiness training and paid summer internships at renowned arts and cultural organizations in Washington

Washington, D.C. – Bloomberg Philanthropies is expanding the reach of its Bloomberg Arts Internship program to Washington, D.C, through a new partnership with Sitar Arts Center, a multidisciplinary art organization that provides accessible arts education to children, teens, and young adults in Washington who are facing financial barriers. Through the Bloomberg Arts Internship program, rising high school seniors complete paid summer internships at local arts and cultural organizations in five U.S. cities. In Washington D.C., a cohort of twenty-five students will intern at cultural sites around the city three days a week and participate in workforce development and college readiness training at Sitar Arts Center twice a week. The program will run from June 27 through August 12.  

“Washington D.C.’s storied cultural organizations are an important part of what this city has to offer residents and visitors,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “With this unique employment and enrichment program, the Bloomberg Arts Internship and the Sitar Arts Center are providing new pathways for public-school students to explore everything that Washington D.C.’s museums, performing arts venues, film festivals and more contribute to the city.” 

“For 21 years, we have fostered artistic, personal, and professional development through our arts education programming. Most importantly, we have created a community for and with our students, many of whom face systemic barriers to equitable pathways to arts education and job training,” said Maureen Dwyer, Executive Director of Sitar Arts Center. “In 2012, we had five interns engaged in our workforce development programming that grew to 50 by 2020.  Our partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies is a catalyst for the growth of the workforce development programming we have been thoughtfully advancing for over a decade.” 

Launched in 2012 in New York City, the Bloomberg Arts Internship program provides intensive college-readiness preparation and professional development training to help set up the next generation for success as they transition from high school to college and the workforce—whether in the arts or other industries. In D.C., the program offers meaningful workforce experience with a $19/hour wage, develops knowledge of the creative sector as a career path, and encourages awareness of culture as a civic resource. The Bloomberg Arts Internship program spans five cities, including New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Boston, and now Washington, D.C.  The program has placed more than 1,106 students at over 200 cultural organizations. 81% of 2017-2020 participants report being currently enrolled in college or technical school, compared to 41% of 18-24-year-olds nationally. Further, 77% of interns since 2018 increased their writing proficiency–as measured by program evaluators via a nationally-used scoring metric–with close to half of interns achieving scores that would exempt them from remedial college coursework. 

“We started the Bloomberg Arts Internship program to help students develop their skills while also exploring potential career paths, and over the past decade, we’ve seen more than 1,000 young people in four cities make the most of the opportunity,” said Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Now we’re expanding the program to a fifth city, and together with our partner Sitar Arts Center, we look forward to offering exciting new opportunities to D.C.’s next generation of creative professionals.” 

To assist the interns on their path towards college and career, the Bloomberg Arts Internship program focuses on building skills that are valuable in any sector, such as communication, problem-solving, team-building, and civic engagement. This unique approach of workforce development through the arts cultivates the practical and creative skills that will be necessary for the next generation of young D.C. professionals to thrive—especially as the city recovers from the compounding educational and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“We’re thrilled to be the official Washington, D.C., partner of the Bloomberg Arts Internship program,” said Loretta Thompson, Chief Programs Officer at Sitar Arts Center. “In collaboration with our host sites, this partnership furthers our mission to offer possibilities that transform the lives of children, teens, and young adults born into a world of unequal access to opportunity.” 

Sitar Arts Center is leveraging its long-standing relationships with leading local arts and cultural organizations across the city to connect D.C. interns and worksites. Bloomberg Arts Internship program worksites will include the following: 

  • Capitol Hill Arts Workshop 
  • CityDance 
  • DC Independent Film Festival 
  • DC Youth Orchestra Program 
  • Folger Shakespeare Library
  • National Building Museum
  • National Children’s Museum
  • National Gallery of Art 
  • Project Create 
  • Smithsonian Institution 
  • Theatre Lab 
  • Touchstone Gallery 
  • The Washington Ballet 
  • Washington National Cathedral 
  • Washington Performing Arts 

Sitar is also partnering with WealthyGen and RiseDC to provide college and career readiness training to program interns.   

The Bloomberg Arts Internship program builds on Sitar’s twenty-year history of providing accessible arts education and workforce development programming to Washington youth and young adults in underrepresented communities. Each year, Sitar Arts Center provides transformative arts experiences to more than 900 students, including 50 paid internship opportunities through its workforce development program. With the launch of the Bloomberg Arts Internship program, Sitar will now offer 75 paid internships annually as part of its workforce development programming

About Bloomberg Philanthropies 
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 941 cities and 173 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.66 billion. For more information, please visit or follow us onFacebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

About Sitar Arts Center
Founded in 2000, Sitar Arts Center is a multidisciplinary arts center providing high quality visual, performing, and digital arts education to students based in D.C. The organization’s mission is to offer possibilities that transform the lives of children, teens, and young adults born into a world of unequal access to opportunity. Through accessible arts education and job training opportunities, Sitar teaches the arts so that their students learn about themselves and gain critical life skills. Sitar creates community for students and their families and serves as an untiring voice on their behalf.  

Media Contacts:
Sitar Arts Center:
Susan Rodriguez,  

Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Rebecca Carriero,