Meet the Board: Preston Hawes

Join the DC Center in welcoming our newest Board Member: Preston Hawes!
We are estatic to have him on our team.

Read all about Preston’s background, interests, and inspirations below:

Where are you originally from and how long have you been in DC?

I’m originally from rural Saskatchewan, Canada, having grown up on my parents hobby farm. I moved to NYC initially in 2001 to attend the Mannes College of Music, however my dorm was about 3 blocks from the WTC when the events of 9/11 unfolded. So I briefly moved back to Canada before relocating to the DC area in 2002. DC has been home-base since then, even while taking some time away for grad school and doctoral studies.

Please summarize in a short paragraph or two your interests and how they relate to serving on the Board. What impact do you see yourself having?

One would think that the arena of classical music is one where people are accepted and celebrated regardless of gender, race, age, or sexual orientation. As I traversed the globe working as a violin soloist, I sadly saw how wrong I was and how much work there was to do to ensure that artistic spaces are representative, that access to training, visibility, and professional opportunity is equitable.

Focusing my own artistic expression more as a service to community (as opposed to the self-serving climb up the professional ladder) has helped me learn better where and when to take a seat to simply listen and learn; thus shifting the spotlight. This revealed to me a beautiful and stunning world of limitless talent and vision, driven by jaw-dropping tenacity from people – particularly within the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities – who don’t have the funding, the platform, or general support from society that mainstream artists blithely enjoy.

I hope that as a member of the Board I can help focus our efforts in a way that will elevate these communities, bringing them much deserved visibility, access, support, and opportunity.

What is your favorite spot in DC and what do you do there?

I feel so fortunate to live near Rock Creek Park. And being a forest creature myself, I spent months discovering the intricately winding trails in the northern section of RCP during COVID shutdowns. You can find me wandering on my favorite trails when I need a refresh.

What artistic influences inspire you, such as singers, bands, etc.?

I’m a huge fan of house, western classical music, indy and global/folk music, and I’m constantly in awe by the genius of our local DC dj’s. As a violinist, I get to perform on fine violins created in the 17th and 18th Century that over hundreds of years have traveled the globe being played by other violinists who paved the way for us now. So I’m often thinking about what sort of history our talented artists are making today, and I feel so grateful to be in a city where I’m able to witness such a wide variety of talent at work creating that history.

Who do you admire in the LGBTQ+ community?

Resilience! The LGBTQ+ community has endured – even thrived – while being treated as second class citizens, while being denied equal rights, while being shunned and judged by people and institutions who either don’t care to understand or haven’t yet had a meaningful personal opportunity to confront the reality of discrimination that their queer family members, loved ones, friends, co-workers, etc. face every day. The LGBTQ+ community has for untold generations been sidelined, gaslit, guilted, and murdered but still refuses to be silenced; it absorbs that hate, and without accepting it, transforms it into artful beams of love and light that envelop the world and draw in those who need it most.

What are you most excited about regarding the future of the DC Center?

I’m most excited to see it strengthen its visibility, accessibility, and reach. Even with all it already does, there is so much potential for impactful work we can do. I’m excited to be a part of that!

Leave a Comment