Cofounders Sara Herrera and Maria Mandle are professional artists living in Petworth DC and passionately live out the Petworth Arts Collaborative mission daily. You might just see us on the street putting up posters, curating artists, or helping set up for a live performance, don't be shy, give us some hi-fives.
Sara is a choreographer and performer, in addition to teaching dance for over 15 years in the DC metro area, NYC, NJ, Maine and more recently with the Sapperlot Youth Theatre Festival in Brixen, Italy.
Sara’s choreography has been showcased at the Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage commissioned by Agora Dance, the Capital Fringe Festival with performances at Blind Whino, Atlas Performing Arts Center and DancePlace, the Asheville Fringe Festival and Imagination Stage’s Lerner Theater.
Currently, you can find Sara performing with darlingdance, UpRooted Dance, touring with What’s Going On: The Marvin Gaye Project, collaborating with fellow artists and art organizations, and always creating. Sara is also the founder of Petworth Dance, a free outdoor summer dance concert and an active member of the Lower Georgia Avenue Main Street Neighborhood Strategy Council.
Growing up in a tight knit community in Fort Worth, Texas, living in DC-specifically the neighborhood of Petworth for the past 11 years has brought a familiar sense of comfort and community. Naturally, investing in the community became easy and collaborating with local businesses and activating spaces with ART has been a true gift.
Outside of the studio and stage, you can find Sara driving her daughter crazy with non-stop questions on how her day was, training for a triathlon with her husband and loving on her two doggies, Rocky and Apollo.
Maria is dedicated to inspiring and engaging people from all walks of life through the ARTS; a value that friend and neighbor Sara Herrera shared in 2016 when they formed the Petworth Arts Collaborative.
Originally from Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest, Maria grew up influenced by a diverse community of artists and craft makers, all drawn to the dramatic beauty of the region. Like many, Maria's childhood surroundings in the Northwest inspired a creativity that would lead her to pursue the ARTS throughout her life.
Maria is an artist, designer and the owner of Creativecouch Designs, a boutique graphic design studio in Petworth. With more than 15 years of graphic design experience and a degree in Fine Art & Art History from Bowdoin College, Maria carries her alma mater's value of engaging in community and “serving the common good” into all aspects of her creative life, including how she approaches branding and design projects. Her clients include local Petworth organizations such as the Petworth Farmers Market, the Petworth Jazz Project, Celebrate Petworth, Friends of Petworth Park, District Bridges, Uptown Main Street as well as Childrens National Global Health Initiative, National Housing Trust and the fun loving parenting game Kinderperfect, to name a few.
Maria lives in Petworth with her husband Rob and two sons Fenwick and Kennedy. Maria actively lives out the PAC mission of Activating Community through the Arts, whether prepping for an all day art and community event, catching up with neighbors during First Fridays, or enjoying the Petworth porch life with her family and friends.