8 Places to See Inspiring Theater Performances in DC

Looking for a great Washington DC theater venue, but find your brain smoking over the abundance of choices? Save the drama for your night out!

Here are eight outstanding Washington DC theater options:

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Kennedy Center for the Performing ArtsOffering old-world grandeur at affordable prices, the Kennedy Center is the premier Washington DC theater location to attend performances. It is home to an array of live art performances, including the Washington National Opera, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Suzanne Farrell Ballet. Ticket prices vary based on the event and seating. If you’re 18-40, signing up for the BravO programBravO program will grant you special discounts. A limited number of specially priced tickets are also available for certain events, catering toward full-time students, seniors 65 and over, enlisted military, the permanently disabled, and those with fixed low incomes. Ticket subscriptions (the equivalent of season tickets for you sports fans) are also available. Love a freebie? The Millennium Stage offers free performances daily. The Kennedy Center is located at 2700 F Street NW.

National Theatre

National TheatreThe majority of touring Broadway shows are performed at National Theatre, from “Spamalot” to “Mamma Mia!” and “Les Miserables”. Pricing for upcoming performances varies based on event and seating. Group sales and ticket subscriptions are available, as well as a ticket lottery, allowing patrons the opportunity to snag up to two $25 tickets with the best available seating two hours prior to each show time. The National Theatre is located at 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

Folger Theatre

Folger TheatreFolger Theatre at the Folger Shakespeare Library features visiting companies performing Shakespearian titles in their beautiful Elizabethan Theatre. Though a little on the pricier side, this venue offers subscriptions and discounted tickets through the Folger Box Office for students, teachers, military, seniors, and groups, as well as an array of free events. During your visit, don’t forget to tour the exhibition hall before curtain and pack a picnic for the Elizabethan gardens when the show is over. The Folger Theatre is located at 201 East Capitol Street SE.

Imagination Stage

Imagination Stage

Photo credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/imaginationstage

Just outside of Washington DC theater limits, this Bethesda theater is a fantastic choice for attending performances with your children. Featured performances are free of violence and profanity, making them a good fit for little eyes and ears. Tickets are affordably priced in the $10-25 range, with great group discounts. The Imagination Stage is located at 4908 Auburn Avenue in Bethesda.

Capitol Hill Arts Workshop

CHAWThe Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) offers the biggest Washington DC theater steal, with $15 tickets and shows featuring resident performers presenting Shakespearean transformations. CHAW is located at 545 7th Street SE.

Studio Theatre

Studio TheatreStudio Theatre is an intimate venue, known for its fresh, funny, and provoking contemporary plays. Moderately priced tickets help keep your checkbook out of the red. Check out their upcoming performances for pricing and rates. Studio Theatre is located at 1501 14th Street NW.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Wooly MammothThe Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company is nationally recognized for its new, edgy, quality work. Past shows include “One Man Star Wars”, “America: All Better!”, and “Famous Puppet Death Scenes”. Prices start at $35 for current shows, or just $20 for students and patrons under 30. Military, police, and firefighters qualify for a 10% discount on up to four tickets. In addition, the Woolly offers Pay-What-You-Can tickets for the first two performances (usually Monday and Tuesday) of every production, sold two hours prior to showtime. The Woolly Mammoth is located at 641 D Street NW.

Source Theatre

Source TheatreHome to Washington Improv Theater, Source Theatre serves as a home for a variety of Washington DC theater troupes. Check out their broad array of shows, including hilarious improvisations performed on elaborate sets of other productions. Ticket prices vary based on performances. Check out the calendar for upcoming events. The Source Theatre is located at 1835 14th St NW.

It’s time to stop sitting on the couch watching Netflix every weekend. Get out into the Washington DC theater scene and enjoy a little culture with your entertainment for a change. There you go – put down the remote – slowly…. slowly… Good job!


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Photo by Wally Gobetz, Kate Mereand-Sinha, dctourism, Imagination Stage FlickrMatt, thisisbossi, Matt Woolner, thisisbossi

Preparing for DC Youth Orchestra Auditions | Tips for Parents

Capitol Symphonic Youth Orchestra

Photo from https://www.facebook.com/TCSYO

As a parent, you know it’s important to encourage your child as he or she takes on new hobbies and learns new skills. And if music is their calling, it might be time to go beyond the private lessons to exploring outside performance opportunities, which can be a huge part of his or her development as a musician!

Youth orchestras are a fantastic way to get involved, and the DC area has several to choose from. The following are a few of the most prominent DC youth orchestra groups for which your child can audition to gain experience:

  • The DC Youth Orchestra Program (DCYOP)– Young musicians of all levels — starting as young as 4 1/2 — can audition for the DC Youth Orchestra Program. Students will need to know their scales, as they will be required to perform all of the major and melodic minor scales during their auditions. Also, auditioning musicians are required to perform two contrasting movements or solo pieces. Judges may also ask musicians to show their ability to sight read.

  • Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras– Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras runs three different orchestras and a variety of other performance groups for musicians between grades 3 and 12. Audition material for these groups includes scales, a solo, sight reading, and an orchestral excerpt. Participants are also required to take regular private lessons throughout the season.

  • The Capitol Symphonic Youth Orchestras (TCSYO)– Outstanding musicians under the age of 18 can participate in one of the two orchestras run by TCSYO — a chamber orchestra and a symphonic orchestra. Those who audition must perform scales and a prepared excerpt based on instrument, as well as demonstrate sight reading ability.

  • Blues Alley Youth Orchestra– Those who are more interested in big band jazz music than classical music can participate in the Blues Alley Youth Orchestra. This orchestra is made up of musicians between the ages of 14 and 17, and calls for a variety of instruments. During auditions, musicians are expected to play a prepared selection, which is chosen for them, along with their own selection. Auditioning musicians must also perform scales and demonstrate their ability to improvise.

  • The McLean Youth Orchestra– Auditions for the McLean Youth Orchestra are held throughout the year depending on the orchestra’s needs. Musicians in the orchestra are between the ages of 12 and 18. However, talented younger musicians are sometimes considered. Audition requirements are listed on the orchestra’s website and include performing certain scales, sight reading, and an excerpt that varies by instrument.

In addition to finding these opportunities in your area, part of your job as a parent is to motivate and encourage your child in the process! Your music teacher will assign specific exercises to practice, of course, but make sure you’re providing the right practice space and the equipment your child needs to succeed. Here are some additional ways you can support your child along the way:

  • Listen to recorded versions of any piece that must be performed at the audition together. This will help young musicians learn how the piece should sound and how the piece is typically performed.
  • Carry out mock auditions. Going through the entire audition procedure a few times beforehand will make things feel familiar and natural at the actual audition.
  • Encourage your child to relax. Relaxing is the most important part of preparing for any type of audition, especially if they are feeling stage fright!

Good luck with the audition! 

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5 DC Art Museums to Introduce Your Kids to the Arts

DC Art Museums That The Kids Will Love When your kids love video games, candy, and cartoons, how can you get them interested in art? Art museums are an excellent way to introduce your children to the arts, because they show that being an artist means creating things that other people can appreciate for hundreds or even thousands of years. Living in the nation’s capital, you have a great opportunity to show your kids the beautiful heights that art can reach. Here are five of the best DC art museums to visit with your children:

1. Smithsonian American Art Museum

Your kids might prefer seeing dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum right now, but soon they’ll be fascinated by paintings and sculptures. The Smithsonian American Art Museum focuses on art from throughout the history of the United States, including kid favorites like the Wild West. The museum also hosts Family Days, where kids can participate in arts and crafts projects and hear stories read from children’s books. They also offer other family events throughout summer.

2. National Gallery of Art

If you live in DC, you’re lucky to live near one of the most famous art museums on the planet. The National Gallery of Art has an amazing collection that includes works by Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt, Whistler, Raphael, Picasso, and Degas. The NGA also offers Family Guides that you can print at home or pick up at the front desk. These guides teach your kids about American, Dutch, Italian, or French art, and include interactive drawing prompts. The museum also offers free kids’ programs, including storytelling, hands-on activities, and film screenings about famous artists.

3. The Phillips Collection

The Phillips Collection is not only one of the best DC art museums, but it’s also the oldest modern art museum in the United States. You can show your kids that art is the freedom to express themselves by taking them to this gallery, where the innovative works of Matisse, Cézanne, Klee, Bonnard, and other legendary Expressionist and Impressionist painters are displayed. Check out their multimedia page online to get your kids excited about the art they’re going to see before you even go to the museum.

4. Corcoran Gallery of Art

The Corcoran Gallery of Art showcases more than 16,000 pieces of art, so there’s sure to be something your kids will love! Their collection includes works from a variety of eras and styles, such as historic American art, photography, sculptures, and contemporary art. They also offer family programs during the summer, after school, and on weekends. These programs range from getting younger kids interested in art to classes that help prepare high school students to study the arts in college.

5. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Kids will love the Hirshhorn Museum building because it looks like a UFO! Inside, there are works by Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Francis Bacon, and many other artistic legends. Kids can also enjoy art in the outdoors by viewing the works of Rodin in the Sculpture Garden. The Hirshhorn website also sponsors ARTLAB+, which connects teens with artist mentors.


Your kids might want to be rock stars or pro athletes, but after finding out about famous artists and how valuable their works are, they might find a new interest in learning how to paint or sculpt. Take them to these top DC art museums to inspire their passion for the arts!


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How to Find the Best DC Bands for Hire

Finding The Best DC Bands For HireLiving in a big city like Washington DC certainly gives you a lot of perks. One of these is that when you are looking for a DC band to play for an event, it’s relatively easy to find one!

But before diving into the depths of DC bands, you need to decide what exactly you are looking for. Do you want a new band, one that is indie or underground that most people don’t know? Are you looking for a cover band, one that can play all of the songs that the crowd will know and love? Deciding this is crucial, since it sets the tone of your event. A punk rock band will create an entirely different atmosphere than a jazz band.

How to Find DC Bands

One great company to use as a resource to find bands is Washington Talent Company. The company, located in the DC-metro area, can connect you with bands for hire for a huge range of events. You can book live bands, DJs, MCs, and more! It also categorizes bands tailored for specific kinds of events, such as bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings, and corporate gatherings. Washington Talent Company also supplies photographers and videographers for events, so it’s a “one stop shop” if you also want to document your gathering.

Another spot to look for DC bands is the Washington City Paper. This periodical has an excellent classifieds page with a section dedicated entirely to local bands for hire. Not only does the site include bands, but it also lists DJs as well. Using this resource is convenient because bands listed have actively placed themselves on the page, meaning that arranging the booking should be a smooth and easy process. You can also post an hiring ad and wait for bands to contact you.

If you’re into jazz, a great resource is DCjazz.com, a site solely dedicated to the jazz bands of the city. The website has an extensive directory of groups and artists available for private events, and it has extra helpful resources, like links to artists’ websites and a calendar of events so you can check out the bands in person. You can also purchase CDs from each band to listen to their music before you decide who to hire.

Finally, Entertainment Exchange is another great resource to check out. This website only lists the top-rated bands that perform in DC, so you know you’re going to get a high-quality band when you book. These bands have all been reviewed by regional or national publications, which gives them a lot of credibility.

Explore DC Music Venues

For a hands-on dive into the DC music scene, check out classic venues such as the 9:30 Club or the State Theater. If you’re looking for a smaller, more intimate experience, indie bands typically flock to the Black Cat. Seeing bands in action – especially those you’re researched prior using the above resources – is a great way to vet out who might be the right fit for your event. Do your research, and you won’t be disappointed.


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Comedy Shows in DC: 4 Spots for Entertainment & Inspiration

Comedy Shows In The DC AreaDespite being the seat of the world’s most powerful government, “The District” occupies a neither-nor space in the mind of most comedy fans—a situation befitting its total lack of representation in the aforementioned federal government. So what’s a comedy seeker to do when he or she wants to escape the House of Cards and West Wing fantasies of his or her peers? Believe it or not, there are several reliable sources for comedy shows in DC. You just have to know where to look.


For a unique approach to comedy clubs, StandUpComedyToGo is a sort of pop-up comedy club that puts on shows in three different venues weekly (one Irish pub and two hotel bars). If it makes it seem hipper, feel free to think of it as the stand-up comedy equivalent of a food truck.

Whether you go Wednesday, Thursday, or Saturday, pay $10 and you’ll get an 80/20 blend of established comics doing 10-15 minute sets and brand new comics who may or may not bomb, but will do it for no more than 2-3 minutes at a time. All these shows are friendly to aspiring performers as well as behind-the-scenes comedy hopefuls, offering opportunities to fake it ‘til you make it without the pressure that comes with an actual paycheck.

DC Improv

In the mood for comedy shows in DC that are a little more pro? DC Improv has been called “the mothership” where every big stand-up star touches down – and you’ll pay consistently less to see those big names than you would at other clubs!

Unlike a lot of stuffy venues who serve up famous faces on stage, DC Improv has a wide variety of classes covering all aspects of comedy from stand-up to improv and SNL sketch writing to marketing yourself as a comedian. Once you’ve completed at least one class, you’re eligible to perform in a comedy showcase for the public (i.e., not just your friends and your mom).

Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse

If you can go to a hotel bar for comedy shows in DC, then surely you won’t be afraid to cross District-State lines just this once. The Drafthouse plays host to comics you’ve likely heard of in the main room and hidden gems for a pittance (or sometimes nothing at all) in the “green room.”

Make sure you stop by at least on Saturday for one of the best open mics in the region. Now doesn’t that seem worth a short road trip?

Washington Improv Theater

Comedy shows in DC will never be mistaken for those in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, and doubly so when it comes to improv. But anyone who expects the improvisers at the Washington Improv Theater to be second-class to Second City will be pleasantly surprised. WIT is an appropriate title for a club that offers smart, fun improv shows with a strong sense of community.

WIT’s school of improv is a huge part of that vibe, with classes feeding directly into the mainstage shows. These performers also stretch their comedy community further than the school, with discounted and pro-bono workshops for organizations that serve the underserved of DC, be they young at the Boys and Girls Club or old at the St. Mary’s Court senior facility.

Going to local comedy shows is a vital experience for any actor or comedian. You can get in and out for an invigorating experience that will inspire you as a performer, or you can choose to stick around and find your own unique way to be part of the scene. If nothing else, you can truthfully tell your friends that there’s more to comedy shows in DC than Colbert’s famous roast.


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Get Your Live Music Fix: How to Find Great Concerts in DC

Where To Find Live Music Concerts In DCPoliticos, pundits, and power-brokers come to mind when we think about life inside the Beltway, but DC is a vibrant city with much more to offer than all things political! Consider its diverse arts and entertainment scene, for example. Any night of the week, fans of all genres of live music can find concerts in DC to suit their taste in tunes. Read on to learn more about the best venues, plus how to find concerts in DC:

The Inside Scoop

For a closer look at the music scene in the nation’s capital, the Washington Post is a terrific place to start. The Music section is full of the latest local news to keep you dialed in to what’s happening in and around the city. Check out the daily calendar for music sorted by location, genre, and even kid-friendliness. Users can search for events based on an artist’s name, venue, or keyword, or simply consult the Editors’ Pics for the hottest upcoming shows. The Washington City Paper is another helpful resource for music lovers.

Although not specific to DC, Songkick is another handy resource. Built by music lovers for music lovers, it provides a comprehensive way to track your favorite bands so you’ll never miss them live again! Songkick aggregates information – everything from individual venue websites to local newspapers – so you know where and when your favorite artists will be performing. Songkick even links up with Facebook, so you can connect with friends that way.

DC Live Music offers a similar resource, exclusively within the DC metro area. Covering everything from local and international artists to karaoke venues, this website promotes accessibility and appreciation for the live music scene and all of the great concerts in DC. Check out the Festivals tab to find out about upcoming can’t-miss events!

Fans of everything from the performing arts to visual art classes won’t want to miss Culture Capital, a website that collects all things DC arts and entertainment in one central place. It even has categories for Family Events and Free Events so you can narrow your choices.

Straight to the Source

From a rich history of jazz to an edgy electronic music scene, DC truly offers something for everyone. Here are a few of our favorite music venues for catching concerts in DC:

  • The Kennedy Center

Bolstered by a mission to present the world’s greatest performers, support young artists, and lead the country in arts education, the Kennedy Center has an online calendar full of events for aspiring young musicians to witness firsthand the power of live performance. Classical music lovers will want to keep an eye out for the free summer concert series at the Library of Congress.

  • The Lincoln Theatre

The Lincoln Theatre is another fantastic option for finding live music in DC. Past performers have included Emmylou Harris, Neil Finn, Rufus Wainwright, Stephen Marley, and David Gray; this historic venue usually has something for everyone!

A predecessor of venues like the Apollo and the Regal, this DC venue opened in 1910, and amazing performers including Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, and James Brown have all trod upon its storied stage. This theatre is enjoying new life – and a full calendar of events – thanks to a 2012 renovation.

  • The 9:30 Club

Check out the 9:30 Club‘s online calendar for buzzed-about events, which have included everything from a secret Radiohead show to the kick-off of the 2009 Alice in Chains reunion tour.  Even kids can get a taste of the live music scene at this long-time mecca thanks to their “All Ages, All the Time” policy.

Larger DC Venues

Those looking for current chart-toppers will want to check out the 20,000-seat Verizon Center, which has played host to everyone from Jay-Z to J.T. And if you’re willing to venture beyond the Beltway, try checking out the popular Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, or the Wolf Trap Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia, both of which offer a wide range of contemporary artists in a fun outdoor setting.

People from all over the world flock to the nation’s capital for its diverse culture and events, and concerts in DC are often a shining attraction. Check out the print and online resources listed above, as well as the venues themselves, then get ready to immerse yourself in the thrill of live music in the nation’s capital!

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From Verizon Center to Blues Alley: Your DC Concerts Survival Guide

Your Guide To Live Music In The DC AreaEntertainment options in DC are practically endless, but you can’t go wrong with live music! There are tons of opportunities for finding DC concerts, thanks to the stellar slew of diverse and interesting venues. Whether you’re a fan of the huge artists that tour through the Verizon Center or prefer intimate, calmer shows like those at Bohemian Caverns, a night out enjoying music is always worth it.

But to truly enjoy yourself, make sure you think ahead! Check out the following tips to make sure you get the most out of your concert experience, by being prepared ahead of time, having a blast at the show, and making the memories last afterward.

Getting Ready

Logistics can make or break your night, so make sure you know what you’re getting into.

  • Look up parking information ahead of time, to avoid any hassle or unexpected expenses. Also make sure you can re-enter the venue if you expect to go get something from the car during the evening.

  • Plan what to wear. You’ll need comfortable shoes, and if you’re going to a crowded show, you might want to avoid clothing that could be damaged by a spilled drink.

  • Make sure you have what you need in your pockets, like your ID, keys, cash, and earplugs if you want them. If you’re dressing up, it can be easy to forget your usual pocket inventory.

  • For big DC-area festivals, like ShamrockFest or Maryland Deathfest, make sure you’ve done your research about the logistics (especially if you’re camping), and that you bring enough water, food, sunscreen, and other necessities.

  • If you’re bringing children along with you, make sure the venue is all-ages, and that the show is appropriate. Always bring ear protection for kids, as well.

  • If anyone in your group has special needs, make sure the venue can accommodate them. Always call ahead instead of finding out at the door.

  • Take out cash before you go, so that you don’t have to spend ATM fees when you want to check out band merch and tip the bartender.

  • Don’t forget the tickets! If you need to pick them up at will call, be sure you know where to do so and what name they’re under.

Enjoying the Show

This is best part – making the most of the night, and having an awesome experience!

  • Save your phone battery by turning off extra apps and Wi-Fi searching, or perhaps just turning off the whole phone! Some venues (like the Kennedy Center) barely have any signal anyway, so you might as well just plan to enjoy the show!

  • Check out the whole venue so that you don’t miss anything cool! Most venues have interesting posters and other pieces of history from DC concerts gone by, and some, like the Black Cat, might have an extra floor with a different show going on!

  • Identify important places right away, like the restrooms, smoking section, and any extra exits. If your group gets separated, these will be the best places to meet up. Most DC concerts get pretty packed, so be prepared for this scenario.

  • Pace yourself! It’s easy to get wrapped up in the sound and the intimate atmosphere at the famous9:30 Club or small low-ceilinged venues like DC9. Make sure you stay hydrated, especially if you’re having a few drinks at the bar.

  • Make friends with your fellow concertgoers! It’s okay for your group to split apart and run into other friends, too. On the other hand, if you have other friends attending the same show, don’t spend your entire night trying to find all of them and end up missing your band!

Making the Night Last

As long as you’re not in the way of the clean-up crew, you don’t have to bail after the last drum stick or guitar pick hits the floor!

  • Stay at the bar for a minute. Especially at historic venues like Blues Alley or other small clubs in DC, the bartender might have a great story or two to share, and you might even meet a performer.

  • Hit an afterparty, or if there isn’t one, invite your new friends out to an all-night diner nearby.

  • Keep an eye out for last-minute free swag, like freshly-outdated posters from the concert, or stickers from the bands.

  • Support the artists you liked by finding them online before you forget their names! Venues and performers always appreciate a note of thanks or a good review of your favorite DC concerts.

  • Share online about the fun you had. Some bands post pictures of their fans and invite further interaction, and it might convince your friends who missed out on the show to join you next time!

Listening to music and going to concerts is good for your stress levels and your well-being – plus they’re just plain fun! Whether you’re a seasoned musician and concertgoer, or can’t carry a tune to save your life, you can still get out and enjoy the music. So break up your routine – invite some friends, get out of the house, and have a blast at one of many DC concerts!


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Get to Know the Arts Scene: 5 DC Artists to Check Out

Dallas Artist To KnowLearning about other artists is an important aspect of improving your own art know-how, whether it’s just a hobby or a prospective career path. This includes learning about artists of the past who have influenced the art world, as well as emerging artists and the current trends in the local art scene.

DC has been home to many influential artists, and continues to produce artists in many different media. Here are five important DC artists of the past and present who have helped put that nation’s capital on the art map.

1. William Leavitt

William Leavitt is a DC native who, in many ways, encapsulates where American art is at in the 21st century. A multidisciplinary artist of paintings, photographs, installations, and other forms, he is now based in LA and uses his work to ask questions about how we relate to pop culture and the entertainment industry. Leavitt’s diverse work is both a celebration and critique of Americana, and demonstrates how artists can engage with ideas when they refuse to be constrained by structure. While mainly associated with conceptual art in LA, Leavitt’s success in California has been an inspiration to younger DC artists with postmodern sensibilities. When it comes to influences on conceptual art in DC today, Leavitt is truly one of the most important figures.

2. Christian Platt

Christian Platt is one of the youngest artists on this list, born in DC in 1986. His work explores ideas found in complexity theory. Using white dots on black paper, he builds works of enormous scale that seek to overwhelm the observer. A graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, he has emerged as a key new voice in the art world, tackling the older artistic concerns of balance and order while also addressing our modern fears of technology. Platt is an important figure for emerging artists in DC, demonstrating that there is still much to be said, even when dealing with classic themes. Moreover, his fast success has been an inspiration for aspiring painters in the nation’s capital; his continued improvement and growing popularity have arrived via a mix of talent, hard work, and ongoing study, and is a great example for young artists to follow.

3. Jessica Van Brakle

Jessica Van Brakle has a family background in the construction business, and this is reflected in her work. Famous for the crane and construction metaphors throughout her pieces, Van Brakle uses fine black lines and organic forms, along with bright colors, to explore the possibilities of human perception. The minimalist approach of her work marries classical themes with concerns of urbanization and illustrates how modern landscape painting is not restricted to purely pastoral scenes. A local Washington artist, her use of cranes as the main motif within her landscapes is truly unique; this exciting symbol depicts and speaks to the progress of modern DC.

4. William Adair

William Adair is renowned among DC artists for his concept of creating door-like spaces using frames, portals, mirrors, and metallic leaf. He has changed the DC arts scene with his innovative approach to his exhibits. One of his most recent exhibits, “The Golden Doors to Infinity”, is a traveling show that journeys through different cities around the world, before ending in the California desert where it will be left to decay. His contributions to gilding and frame history in DC and the greater art world have been tremendous. His emphasis on conservation has also helped push preservation of old art works to the forefront of the industry.

5. Pat Goslee

Pat Goslee has worked with abstract patterns in painting for many years. She uses complex forms and materials to create dense compositions that produce an illusion of deep space. Her work encourages thinking and wondering in an entirely fresh way, and urges the viewer to get lost in the art. As one of the most influential DC artists today, her paintings have made a huge impact on the art world in DC, particularly with her most recent showing, a pairing with Jessica Van Brakle at the Adah Rose Gallery in Kensington. Goslee’s abstract works are both aesthetically pleasing and deeply contemplative, and have added a jolt of energy to the DC art scene.

These artists are important people to keep an eye on in the DC arts scene. As a new artist, it’s a good idea to stay connected to the local arts community and to meet and study as many artists as possible. Likewise, knowing about artists who have come before us can help you improve your own art. Check out what these artists are doing, as well as other fine artists from the DC area. You never know what might inspire you!


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Get Out and Play! A Guide to Gigging in the DC Music Scene

Booking Music Gigs In The DC AreaThe DC music scene offers many great opportunities for gigging. Whether you’re a folk artist, a singer-songwriter, a jazz musician, a rocker, or a rapper, you’ll find the nation’s capital is full of awesome venues that book musical acts. So when you’re ready to get your gig on, there are plenty of opportunities, from the vibrant new Southwest area of town to the cobblestone streets of Georgetown. A major plus for new performers: many DC venues are all-ages, so even if you haven’t hit 21 yet, you can still perform on DC stages.

When booking some of the venues you can explore in the DC music scene, here’s what you should focus on:

1. First of all, you should hone in on your genre. Are you folk, jazz, rock,  or something else? Are you part of a band or a solo act? The type of music you play will definitely affect the types of venues you should approach.

2. Second, make sure that you have samples of your work to provide to a venue. Whether it’s a link to an online sample or a CD, you can’t just tell a venue how good you are, you need to prove it! It’s relatively easy to find computer programs or apps that can record you playing, but if you’re serious about a music career, you may want to invest in some recording studio time to create a demo. In the DC area and surrounding suburbs, you can find many smaller studios that will record a two- or three-song demo for you at a reasonable price. Once you have a professionally recorded demo in hand, you can upload it online or burn CDs to hand out when performing. These days, online links are often the preferred way of hearing a musician’s work.

3. Third, create a website or a free Facebook fan page that includes samples of your music, photos of you and/or your band, and a bio. If you haven’t played in any venues previously, note your musical training and background. You can also set up a BandCamp, YouTube, or SoundCloud account to upload your music, and any videos of you performing, even if it’s just you playing in your backyard.

4. Fourth, look in local newspapers and online to find area clubs that feature live music. Armed with that list, you can find the right contact person and take the next step.

Getting Booked

The best way to get booked is through a venue’s website, which will often list exactly how you can get yourself, or your band, on their stage. Make sure you have all your materials prepped, because you’ll most likely need to submit some information to the venue – typically a bio and a sample of your musical work.  Some venues will ask you to supply a link to your website or fan page to hear your sound, others will ask that you submit a CD.

While online contact is most often the way to go, sometimes you may need to pick up the phone and call. So never be afraid to start dialing!

Finally, if a club or coffeehouse has an open mic night, you might want to start by signing up to perform there, and then inquiring who books regular sets for the venue. You may wow the booking manager and get your foot in the door! Plus, it’s great practice for future performances.

So reach out, grab your instrument of choice, prep your band, and get ready, get set, and get going — right into the DC music scene. There are so many exciting venues to explore!


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4 DC Music Venues Where Musicians Started Their Careers

5 Top Music Venues In DCIf you’ve ever wanted to be a music superstar, you know that musical talent comes from a lot of training and hard work. All of those musicians and artists you see up on concert stages didn’t get there overnight! In reality, famous musicians have had to put in a lot of work to get to where they are today, and one of the most important parts of that work is playing shows. Musicians have to get their faces on stage and their music out to listeners in order to find new fans.

Several DC music venues in particular have played a role in launching the careers of some of the world’s most famous musicians! If you want to know more about five spots in DC where musicians got their start, check out the list below. These four places offer fantastic opportunities to check out some great bands before they get big!

Bohemian Caverns

Bohemian Caverns is where many jazz musicians got their start. The venue was founded in 1926 in the U Street NW area, and it was frequented by greats like Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway. Because of the greats who spent time at the club, many singers were noticed (and, in turn, had their big break) here. R&B singer Ruth Brown, for example, was discovered at Bohemian Caverns, and famous pianist Ramsey Lewis recorded his hit album, The In Crowd, on its stages. Today, the venue continues to attract jazz greats, as well as up-and-coming artists.

Blues Alley

If singing the blues is your thing, then you’ll want to check out Blues Alley, located in the heart of Georgetown. Blues Alley is a supper club that has been in operation since 1965. Today, the world’s very best musicians play there, but around its founding, the venue featured up-and-coming blues stars such as Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Eva Cassidy, Dizzy Gillespie, and more. The venue is so historic that there was even a British film made about it! Blues Alley has its own quirky traditions, too – the most popular performers there get to create and add a dish to the supper club’s menu.

Cellar Door

Unfortunately for DC residents and music lovers, the Cellar Door, a club in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C., shut its doors in 1981. The Cellar Door was among the most important DC music venues, best known as the venue for “The Cellar Door Sessions”, a live album with Miles Davis. During the 1960s and 1970s, it became the place to sharpen your skills and get ready for a bigger, more national audience. Musicians such as Artful Dodger and Jimmy Buffett came here early in their careers.

U Street Music Hall

It might be younger than some other DC music venues, but since its opening in 2010, U Street Music Hall has cemented itself as one of the most important stages in the Washington DC area. U Street is particularly known for bringing in up-and-coming DJs and electronic musicians. Some great indie bands also played here way before they got big; some of the best include Haim and Disclosure. In a certain sector of the music world, there’s no more important place to play than U Street Music Hall when you’re on the way up.


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