About Us


The National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) was founded in the summer of 1944 in Washington, D.C., by Mrs. Jesse W. Nicholson of Chevy Chase and Mrs. A. E. Nielsen of Chicago. Dorothy Nicholson Stabell founded the Washington Chapter, originally named the Chevy Chase Chapter, in October of the same year.

NSAL is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), volunteer organization of men and women who are professionally engaged in the visual, literary and performing arts; who have training or competence in a brand of the creative arts; or who have demonstrated a commitment to assist young artists.  Through local chapters, NSAL has been supporting emerging talent for 68 years with competitive National Career Awards in art, dance, drama, literature, music, and musical theater.

In 2004, the Washington Chapter inaugurated the Award for Excellence in the Arts Program.  In 2017, this annual program will recognize more than 120 high school juniors from 28 high schools and arts programs in the Washington metropolitan area with awards presented during a gala ceremony. The ceremony has been presented at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Terrace Theater for 13 years. Due to renovation at the theater, the 2017 AEA’s will be held at The National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20016. As is the tradition, students honored during the previous year’s ceremony perform during the festivities.

Copyright © 2016 by NSAL Washington Chapter.