Washington DC Arts

Washington DC Arts

Smithsonian Museums made Washington DC arts legendary for their acquisition and curation of European and Anglo-American masterpieces. Since the 1990s, the national arts scene in DC has become more inclusive with museums that honoring Native-Americans and African-Americans (Fall 2016), to be followed by a museum honoring Hispanic-Americans.

Arthur Sackler Gallery
DESCRIPTION: The museum features Ancient Egyptian, Islamic, Biblical Manuscripts, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Southeast Asian and Himalayan art. Its changing special exhibits in Chinese jades, Japanese ceramics and ancient Persian manuscripts are often spectacular. This is one of the best designed museums in DC, but it has no on-site cafe.
ADMISSION: free
DAYS & HOURS: daily 10a-5:30p; extended summer hours
ADDRESS: 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC MAP
PARKING: nearby garages
RAPID TRANSIT: Smithsonian Metro Station
PHONE: 202-357-4800
WEBSITE: http://www.asia.si.edu

Freer Gallery of Art
DESCRIPTION: Connected to the Sackler Gallery via underground passage, this museum expands exhibit space for Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Near Eastern, Islamic, Biblical Manuscripts, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Southeast Asian and Himalayan art. In the years ahead, anticipate Indian and Chinese collections from the two most populous nations in the world to grow. Again there is no on-site cafe.
ADMISSION: free
DAYS & HOURS: daily 10a-5:30p; extended summer hours
ADDRESS: 12th Street & Jefferson Drive SW, Washington, DC MAP
PARKING: limited parking on street
RAPID TRANSIT: Smithsonian Metro Station
PHONE: 202-357-2700
WEBSITE: http://www.asia.si.edu

Arts & Industries Building
DESCRIPTION: Often called the “Smithsonian Building” because it was the first structure built for what has become a museum empire. Though it also features changing exhibitions, today it mostly offers children’s performances and functions as a Visitor Information Center. You must check out the Enid Haupt Garden on the Independence Avenue (south) side of the building. Its a masterpiece in landscape design.
ADMISSION: free
DAYS & HOURS: daily 10a-5:30p
ADDRESS: 900 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington, DC MAP
PARKING: limited parking on street
RAPID TRANSIT: Smithsonian Metro Station
PHONE: 202-357-2700
WEBSITE: http://www.si.edu/ai

Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
DESCRIPTION: Established in 1966 by an act of Congress, the Hirshhorn features 19th and 20th-century paintings and sculpture in an architecturally significant cylindrical museum and adjoining garden; DC’s version of a modern art museum requires patience by seasoned art lovers to fully appreciate its changing exhibitions; the circular flat exterior makes you wonder whats inside the courtyard; before you visit, check the schedule for visual presentations projected from its garden at night onto its exterior wall at night.
ADMISSION: free
DAYS & HOURS: daily 10a-5:30p; longer hours in the summer
ADDRESS: 7th Street & Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC MAP
PARKING: nearby garages
RAPID TRANSIT: L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station
PHONE: 202-357-2700
WEBSITE: http://www.hirshhorn.si.edu

National Gallery of Art
DESCRIPTION: Opened in 1941, the initial paintings and works of sculpture were given by Andrew Mellon to formed a high quality nucleus of art around which the collections have grown. He attracted gifts from others to assemble an astounding collection of European and American paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, decorative arts plus other changing exhibitions of art from around the world.
ADMISSION: free
DAYS & HOURS: daily 10a-5:30p; extended summer hours
ADDRESS: 6th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC MAP
PARKING: limited parking on street
RAPID TRANSIT: Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter Metro Station
PHONE: 202-737-4215
WEBSITE: http://www.nga.gov

Smithsonian American Art Museum
DESCRIPTION: Part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center and presents an exciting array of special exhibitions and free public programs. Located Downtown, it boasts 40,000 pieces of Colonial portraiture, nineteenth-century landscape, American impressionism, twentieth-century realism and abstraction, New Deal projects, sculpture, photography, prints and drawings, contemporary crafts, African American art, Latino art, and folk art in the collection. More than 7,000 American artists are represented. Notable artists include Georgia O’Keefe, John Singer Sargent, John Singleton Copley, Roy Lichtenstein, and Nam June Paik. In recent years, the museum has beefed up its contemporary art galleries. Free Wi-Fi is available in Kogod Courtyard. Courtyard Café offers offers a seasonal menu of American-inspired dishes, using local, organic or sustainable ingredients and gourmet desserts while serving until 4p.
ADMISSION: free
DAYS & HOURS: daily 11:30a-7p
ADDRESS: 8th and F Streets, NW, Washington, DC MAP
PARKING: garages nearby
RAPID TRANSIT: Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro Station
PHONE: 202-633-1000
WEBSITE: http://americanart.si.edu

Renwick Gallery
DESCRIPTION: A Smithsonian Institution and National Historic Landmark, was designed by James Renwick Jr., the same architect who designed the Smithsonian Building, and erected between 1859 and 1861 by William Wilson Corcoran as an gallery for his collection of paintings and sculpture. During the Civil War, the gallery was seized by the U.S. Army for use as a storage warehouse by the Quarter Master. After the Civil War, control of the gallery was returned to Corcoran, restored over several years and opened to the public in 1874. The collection outgrew its building and in 1897, moved to a larger building on 17th Street where it remains today. In 1965, the Secretary of the Smithsonian requested that the building be turned over to the Smithsonian for use as a gallery of art, crafts and design. After another restoration to Smithsonian standards, the building reopened as the Renwick Gallery in 1972.
ADMISSION: free
DAYS & HOURS: daily 11:30a-7p
ADDRESS: 17 Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC MAP
PARKING: garages nearby
RAPID TRANSIT: Farragut West Metro Station
PHONE: 202-633-7970
WEBSITE: http://americanart.si.edu/renwick

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
DESCRIPTION: Since opening in 1971 on the banks of the Potomac River, the nation’s performing arts center has delivered some of the greatest performers and performances in America. Although creation of the center was authorized by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958, the center functions as a living memorial to our slain president John Fitzgerald Kennedy. JFK was a lifelong supporter and advocate of the arts – his assassination on 22 November 1963 swiftly attracted federal money, foreign donations and private donations to the partnership that produced this architecturally-stunning and crystal-laden venue; its opening in 1971, triggered DC’s rapid ascent to world performing arts destination. Aside from the Grand Foyer featuring an over-sized bust of JFK, the East Terrace overlooking the Potomac River is a favorite event gathering place. Renovated in 1997, the 2,442-seat Concert Hall is superb for large musical productions. The 2,300-seat Opera House designed for ballet, opera and musical theater has hosted its share of world renown performances. The 1,100-seat Eisenhower Theater hosts smaller plays, operas, ballet and contemporary dance. Separating the three large theatres are the flag-draped Hall of States and Hall of Nations. The 513-seat Terrace Theater was a Bicentennial gift from the people of Japan. It is intended for intimate performances of chamber music, ballet and contemporary dance, theater, and family performances. The 324-seat Family Theater provides a home for world-class family theater performances. A small on-site library was recommissioned as the Kennedy Center Jazz Club. One of several lounges on site, the African Lounge, donated to the Kennedy Center by the nations of Africa to evoke the feeling of being in an African village. The center has programs for funding new American plays, plays-in-progress for young audiences, an American College Theatre Festival and a wellspring of arts education programs. Some free performances are provided at 6p daily. The center conducts free tours of the venue.
BOX OFFICE: Mon–Sat 10a–9p, Sundays and holidays Noon–9p
ADDRESS: 2700 F Street, NW, Washington, DC MAP
PARKING: garage on premises
RAPID TRANSIT: Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro Station, then catch the free shuttle to JFK Center
PHONE: 202-467-4600
WEBSITE: http://www.kennedy-center.org

National Theatre
DESCRIPTION: For its relatively unassuming exterior, given its next to the White House, you’d never guess that DC showcases traveling Broadway plays if the marquee didn’t give it away. The theatre is a welcome addition to nightlife in this part of Downtown.
BOX OFFICE: Mon-Sat 10a-9p, Sunday and holidays Noon-8p
ADDRESS: 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC MAP
PARKING: garage nearby
RAPID TRANSIT: Metro Center Metro Station and Federal Triangle Metro Station
PHONE: 202-628-6161
WEBSITE: http://www.nationaltheatre.org

Arena Stage
DESCRIPTION: This flagship theater is the first regional theater to transfer a production to Broadway and the first to receive a Tony Award. They have practiced groundbreaking programs and diversity in all aspects of theater. Aside from introducing new plays, its common to see them debut The Great White Hope to The Women of Brewster Place to Ella, interspersed with Death of A Salesman and other American classic plays.
BOX OFFICE: Mon—Sat 10a—8p, Sun 10a—8p; also at Washington Post on 1150 15th Street NW beginning at 8:30a
ADDRESS: 1101 Sixth Street SW, Washington, DC MAP
PARKING: garage on premises
RAPID TRANSIT: Waterfront-SEU Metro Station
PHONE: 202-488-3300
WEBSITE: http://www.arenastage.org

Carter Barron Amphitheatre
DESCRIPTION: Original amphitheatre plan in 1943 called for benches to seat 1,500 and a stage equipped with a movie screen. The plan was expanded by Carter Barron in 1947, as a way to memorialize the 150th Anniversary of Washington DC as the nation’s capitol. As Vice Chairman of the Sesquicentennial Commission for Rock Creek Park, Barron envisioned an amphitheatre where all persons of every race, color and creed could attend musical, ballet, theater and other performing arts productions. He succeeded in 1950.
DAYS & HOURS: open in warm months
BOX OFFICE: Noon–8p

ADDRESS: 4850 Colorado Avenue NW, Washington, DC MAP
PARKING: garage on premises
RAPID TRANSIT: none
PHONE: 202-397-7328
WEBSITE: http://www.nps.gov/rocr/planyourvisit/cbarron.htm

Shakespeare Theatre Company
DESCRIPTION: Founded in 1985, the company is becoming one of the nation’s leading forces in classic theatre. It honors playwrights’ language and intentions while viewing their plays through a 21st-century lens. It has featured Othello many times. The company performs in two state-of-the-art, mid-sized venues to showcase outstanding local, national and international performing arts companies in Sidney Harmon Hall.
BOX OFFICE: Mon–Sat 10a–6p, Sun Noon–6p
ADDRESS: 610 F Street NW, Washington, DC MAP
PARKING: garages nearby
RAPID TRANSIT: Gallery Plaza-Chinatown Metro Station
PHONE: 202-547-1122 and Toll Free: 877-487-8849
WEBSITE: http://www.shakespearetheatre.org

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
DESCRIPTION: Established in 1971, Filene Center provides greater Washington a second world-class amphi-theatre operated in partnership with the National Park Service. Filene Center, the principal venue, houses over 90 performances from late May to early September, that range from Jazz, Blues, Classical, Hip-Hop and Country music genres. A variety of education programs and special events are presented as well. After a fire destroyed the venue in 1982, a new structure seating 4,000 was built in its place. As before, lawn seating permits patrons to picnic during the performance. Wolf Trap Opera Company, one of America’s outstanding resident ensemble programs for young opera singers, also performs here.
BOX OFFICE: Mon-Fri 10a-6p, Sat-Sun and holidays Noon-6p
ADDRESS: 1624 Trap Road, Vienna, VA MAP
PARKING: parking on premises
TRANSIT: none
PHONE: 703-255-1900
WEBSITE: http://www.wolf-trap.org

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