We are so excited to feature this Q&A with our monthly sponsor Joel Nelson from the Joel Nelson Group! As we celebrate our 50th anniversary this year, it’s been such an honor to reflect on all our CHAW friends who have joined us along the way and to have the opportunity to work with the wonderful people and businesses who surround and sustain CHAW.

We are so grateful for the continued and incredibly strong support for our community, from sponsors like the Joel Nelson Group. Read our Q&A with Joel to learn more about his involvement in the Capitol Hill community and why he supports the arts.

  • What’s your CHAW story? How did you become involved with the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop?

My wife Thonya and I decided to make our home on Capitol Hill more than 20 years ago, and very early on Thonya took classes at CHAW. She’s an artist at heart, and dabbles across mixed media far beyond the renovation of historic Hill houses!  As we put down roots, we were committed to raising our kids in an environment offering rich and varied cultural  experiences – DC neighborhoods and schools, sports, and the arts.  Our son Myles was particularly engaged by photography and mural painting classes, and our daughter Leila loved sculpture and weaving.

  • What brought you to Capitol Hill and what’s your favorite thing about the neighborhood? 

I first came to Washington to attend college at AU and I met Thonya when she interned here.  Though my early career brought me to other cities and towns across the midwest and South, I eventually made my way back and fell in love with the historic feel and neighborly blocks of Capitol Hill. Over the years we have briefly considered other great DC neighborhoods, but the strong relationships we’ve built and the great blend of density and access to green spaces has kept Capitol Hill our home.  We are so grateful that we’ve been able to build a local business that helps so many other families find homes here, and brings us into the lives of our neighbors!

  • How would you describe the work you do and what’s your favorite thing about your job? 

As a Realtor and buyer and seller of DC real estate, I am passionate about the histories of our row homes and architectural details.  When I meet with homeowners and local developers, I am always dreaming about opportunities to enhance, preserve, or creatively adapt the historic beauty of the home whenever possible, while planning updates for living and working in the 21st century. When we work with Sellers to prepare their home for the vibrant DC real estate market, or buyer clients to plan a purchase, I get great satisfaction from transforming a tired or even neglected room into a fresh, livable space where prospective Buyers can envision their exciting next chapter. 

  • Why are the arts important to you and to your community? 

The arts remind us to look at the world around us with fresh eyes, to open our hearts to different perspectives, and to connect with our neighbors, friends, and even strangers, with kindness and appreciation. Much like the importance of green spaces and nature, the arts can lift our spirits or remind us that there’s more to life than our To Do list, our immediate worries, or our day-to-day grind.

  • What inspires you about CHAW? 

CHAW makes the Arts accessible to so many families – adults and kids – on Capitol Hill and beyond. Whether it’s after-school programming, summer camps, or exhibits and performances, there is always a wide array of rich programming, and caring instructors to deliver it. 

  • What difference do you hope to make through your donation?

The Arts are for EVERYONE, and I hope that by supporting CHAW, their reach can extend to more children in the community so those kids can create and express themselves, and their parents and caregivers can enjoy the fruits of that expression. 

  • Where can people find you? (website, social media, etc)

I lead an incredible team of Buyer Agents and a Listing Team that helps many people experience the benefits of home ownership and investment every year! Our offices are located on Stanton Park on Capitol HIll – find us online at www.joelnelsongroup.com or follow our social media @joelnelsongroup on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook



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