When you visit Hill Center, there’s a pretty good chance one of our staff members will greet you as you head through the door, off to one of the many adventures that await you. You’ve probably seen our facilities team swapping out room set-ups, or someone from our programming or rentals team setting up A/V equipment. We thought you might like to know a little bit more about these folks and why they show up here every day, excited to do their jobs.
We’ll start with our Executive Director, Diana Ingraham. She’s our longest tenured employee, whose first office was on the second floor of the carriage house while the building was under construction. You can often find Di greeting you from the front office, always with a smile – and sometimes you can even find her dressed up as Clara Barton!
What excites you about coming to work each day?
Each day is an adventure – in a good way! I encounter new people every day and chat with them. It’s that kind of place. I enjoy sticking my head into any one of the dozen or more programs and events going on every day, whether it’s a dance class for two-year-olds, a class on French cooking, a lecture, a music program, film, a pottery show, an art exhibition, or a retirement party.
What’s most amazing about Hill Center is its high energy. It’s infectious. The staff is so welcoming, the events small, the space so beautiful with its tall windows and beautiful details – it’s energizing from the moment one walks in.
Favorite memory or story about Hill Center?
Our neighborhood hardware store burned down not that long ago. Folks in our community immediately came to Hill Center to learn what had happened and what they could do to help. Hill Center became a sort of headquarters for the fundraising and community engagement that brought the hardware store back to business. We had space for the employees to meet.
I’m proud that Hill Center has become such a central part of the Capitol Hill community. In good times and bad, we’re here.
Favorite part of the building and why?
The filigreed, wrought-iron staircase on the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance. Whenever I walk up the staircase to enter the building, I always pause for a moment and admire the workmanship. It dates back to the end of the Civil War—and one could stand here back when the building was a naval hospital and see the city’s luminaries walk by. Imagine seeing Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, or Clara Barton walk by! It gives me goosebumps!
What’s the one thing you want people to know about Hill Center, if they only could know one thing?
We live in fractured times. We all know the reasons. Community becomes ever more important—and that’s what Hill Center is all about. Sure, we offer exciting programming and events, but at its heart, the most important part of Hill Center is that we build strong community. We’re not like a theater or a restaurant, which offer one type of activity, but rather one which you can enjoy so many different activities and connections. A bluegrass concert outside, a film festival showing, an art show. Each offers new ways to engage and learn and laugh with others. Community is what we’re all about.