image description

Sitar Stories

Sitar Arts Center Debuts “Artists at Work” Speaker Series

Sitar Arts Center Debuts “Artists at Work” Speaker Series, Inspiring Audiences with Behind-the-Scenes Look

Sitar Arts Center debuted a new speaker series, “Artists at Work,” on February 21, 2024, offering audiences an informative and inspiring look behind the scenes of D.C.’s thriving arts scene.

The inaugural event featured trailblazing local casting director Danica Rodriguez, who shared insights from her career casting top D.C. theatrical productions. In conversation with moderator Charis Gomez, executive producer and host of Living Local DMV, Rodriguez pulled back the curtain on her journey from self-proclaimed “theater kid” to resident casting director at the Shakespeare Theater Company, revealing challenges she’s overcome and opportunities she’s harnessed along the way.

Described by attendees as “fantastic” and praising Rodriguez as “dynamic,” the event resonated with audience members, offering a deeper appreciation for the artistry and dedication that goes into the world of casting. The audience particularly enjoyed the opportunity to “see artists in their profession,” gaining a firsthand perspective on the creative process.

Reflecting on her experience growing up in a low-income neighborhood in New York City and navigating spaces where she sometimes felt “othered’ Rodriguez underscored the power of the arts to build community and foster belonging and emphasized the importance of programs like Sitar. “Most folks get into the arts because they have a memory of when they were little of loving a play, of seeing an actor that they wanted to emulate … “ she noted. “[You need] places like Sitar, you need to have teaching artists, people who believe in young people who believe in their growth and are supporting it in such incredible ways because that is opening up doors.”

Rodriguez also highlighted the significance of diversity and representation in shaping her career, stating, “A lot of what my work is about is celebrating those differences, celebrating who you are and the journey you took to get here. As a leader in the DMV community, I’m also committed to uplifting other theater artists, especially those in administrative and production roles. It’s my responsibility to extend my hand and bring my community with me. I tell anyone pursuing the arts, but especially those of color, you can’t do it alone. It’s your community that will get you there.

The “Artists at Work” series aims to provide a platform for the diverse voices and artistic disciplines that contribute to D.C.’s vibrant cultural landscape. Following the successful February launch, Sitar is gearing up for its next event on April 10, coinciding with Jazz Appreciation Month.

“We are excited to offer this unique opportunity for audiences to connect with the talented individuals who shape our city’s artistic landscape,” said Executive Director Maureen Dwyer. “The ‘Artists at Work’ series promises insightful conversations and a deeper appreciation for the dedication and artistry that goes into creating the cultural experiences we all cherish.”

For more information about ‘Artists at Work,’ including future events and to watch the recording of the February 21 event, visit”