Washington D.C. a City of…Art?

Posted on Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Who knew that the Washington D.C. region was rich in areas other than politics? As one of the “off the Hill” interns, I was a little apprehensive I would be missing out on the “true” Washington D.C. experience. From watching “House of Cards”, National Treasure, “Scandal”, and “The West Wing” repeatedly before arriving in the District, I knew the direct political realm wasn’t necessarily my calling, but I still wanted a taste of what D.C. is known globally for.
My internship is at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. I was SO excited to be a part of the Public Relations team. I am a communication major with a minor in business, so this internship was a perfect fit for me. I would be delving with public policy in an indirect way because the actual building serves as a living memorial to President Kennedy. However, we focus more on the bringing the latest and greatest Broadway hits, jazz artists, and even rap stars like Kendrick Lamar to our institution rather than analyzing the polls for the 2016 election.
The longer I have worked at the Kennedy Center, the more I realized that while politics play a HUGE role in D.C., it is not all that there is to offer here. As a woman very passionate about music, dance, and theater, I realized how many opportunities there are here for visual and performing arts that are for a very low cost, if not FREE. In order to get the best experience here, I encourage all visitors and future interns to dive into ALL the aspects the region has to offer, not only the historic or policy based places.
Below are some ideas to cost-effectively integrate the performing arts into your time in Washington D.C.:

  • Shameless plug, but you HAVE to visit the Kennedy Center! It is a beautiful building from the inside and out that is one of the most iconic places on the Potomac River scene. Not to mention they have awesome, FREE programs! Every single day, beginning at 6 p.m., there is a free performance on the Millennium Stage. These performances range from dance productions by local dance artists to previews of future Kennedy Center productions. We even had a huge yoga/music participatory event! The great thing about the Millennium Stage is that it has something for everyone without breaking your bank.
  • Future interns, be sure to check out the Synetic Theatre right in your very own metro! On the walk to the Crystal City metro, there is no way you can miss the glassed in rehearsal room to see performers rehearsing or the huge posters on the walls advertising the latest shows. The theatre is right in your metro, an easy five-minute walk from the apartment. My roommates and I went to see Alice in Wonderland and it was such a great time. Tickets are very reasonably priced with your student ID, so don’t leave that in Texas!
  • The Smithsonian Institute has free entrance to all of its museums, and this even includes the zoo! The National Portrait Gallery is a great place to see visual art. While I have not been there yet, it is on my bucket list! I am hoping to spend some time in there during Thanksgiving break, but from what I have heard from fellow interns who have visited is you cannot miss it.
  • Be sure to check out different art-based programs based on what season you will be here. If you are here in the fall, you absolutely cannot miss Ford Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol. It’s a wonderful production and you get to see it while sitting in one of the most historically known sites in Washington D.C. In the summer, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival combines international relations with art for one of the most fascinating adventures you can embark on! It is super accessible to get to, right in the National Mall area! If you are here in the spring and enjoy classical music, be sure to check out the Washington Performing Arts schedule to see where their orchestra series are performing!
I hope this post inspires you to search out the arts when you are in Washington D.C! BRAVO!

Lauren Holland
Hosting Office: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Washington, D.C. - Fall 2015

Tags: Arts, DC, Tips