The Sanctuaries | Washington, DC


ABOUT | about

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We activate artists to build power, shift culture, and heal spirits for the wellness of the people.

The Sanctuaries is a new expression of a long lineage of artists, organizers, and visionaries who have shaped the rich culture of our nation’s capital. In 2013, twenty neighbors came together to create “sanctuaries” – sacred spaces where artists of different racial and religious backgrounds could build trust and take collective action. We've grown a lot since then. But we remain committed to the bold spirit of those early founders.

Today, our community comprises over 150 artists working across artistic media, from creative writing to hip hop to screenprinting. Through personalized coaching, rigorous training, and mutual support, we empower rising leaders to put their creative and spiritual lives in service of social change. This can take many forms. For example, some of our artists embed with grassroots campaigns advocating for public housing; some amplify immigrant or LGBTQ voices through performances at anchor arts institutions like Woolly Mammoth Theater and the Smithsonian; some host healing circles at protests and rallies, or facilitate workshops at local synagogues, churches, and mosques for healing trauma through the arts; and much more. Take a look at some of the work our artists have done in the past.

In everything we do, we’re better together. So we’re thrilled you found us! Together, we can transform two of the most divisive issues of our time – race and religion – into powerful forces for personal and social transformation.

Our first home in Ivy City at Open Studio [2016-2018]

Our first home in Ivy City at Open Studio [2016-2018]

Our current home in Ft Totten at Plymouth [2018 - ]

Our current home in Ft Totten at Plymouth [2018 - ]


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Our values guide everything we do.

1. Honor the spirit.

We seek the sacred in everything and everyone.

2. Trust the process.

We pay attention to how we do what we do.

3. Rise to your best self.

We make the ongoing choice to grow.

4. Community means commitment.

We show up for ourselves and each other.

5. We’re better together.

We embrace our similarities and our differences.

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We're a collaborative effort with shared leadership.


Rev. Erik, Co-Director

Rev. Erik W. Martínez Resly is a visual artist, community organizer, and ordained minister, who grew up in Frankfurt, Germany. He studied at Brown University and Harvard Divinity School.

Ahmane', Co-Director

Ahmane' Glover is a community organizer and healing artist who uses the tools of spoken word. She graduated from the Inner Visions Institute for Spiritual Development and Loyola University New Orleans.

Meet our Board.

Meet our Founders.

Meet our Interns.


The Celía Burke Award for Community Leadership

This award celebrates leaders who have made a lasting impact on The Sanctuaries. It is named after Celía Burke, who discovered our community in 2013 and quickly became an active participant, workshop host, organizational leader, and co-facilitator of the Performance Team, before leaving Washington, DC to study urban planning in 2016.

2016 Awardee: Celía Burke
2017 Awardee: Aden van Noppen
2018 Awardee: Mazaré Rogers


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Truly, we're better together.

And we're grateful for our incredible partners in this work. More coming soon!



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