A nonprofit community arts center, VisArts fills its studios with amateur artists learning techniques of creative expression, and acts as an exhibition opportunity for seasoned creators. Classes span a wide artistic spectrum, including concentrations such as ceramics and glass, many of which can be specifically tailored for the educational needs of children or resurrected Renaissance men in need of a new hobby. VisArts also enriches the community with a trifecta of galleries—the Kaplan, Gibbs Street, and Common Ground—and a thriving resident-artist program.
Originally the residence of U.S. Capitol architect Edward Clark, O Street Museum’s five interconnected townhouses today enfold a private club, luxury hotel, conference center, and museum. The O Street Museum explores the creative process with more than 1,500 ever-changing exhibits, including handwritten manuscripts, animation stills, and autographed items from such musicians as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Shedding the restraints of a standard museum, O Street grants guests the freedom to leaf through collections of photographs and letters from visual artists or gently cradle sleeping sculptures in their bare hands.
Themed tours for groups or individuals unveil the subtleties of the museum’s elegant space, adorned with original, hand-painted ceilings and Tiffany stained-glass windows. Immersive special events include the Raw and Exposed program, which draws from the museum’s vast archives as it presents rare recordings from artists such as Janis Joplin and The Beatles. Amateur and seasoned musicians unite on stage during weekly jam sessions, and the SRO concert series fills the museum’s intimate space with one-of-a-kind gospel performances, drag shows, and sock-puppet reenactments of the Revolutionary War.
Ford's Theatre, the site of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, preserves Lincoln's legacy by hosting dramatic and historical plays on its legendary stage and educational experiences throughout its halls. The theater presents dramatic works such as Big River and 1776, and the museum displays artifacts from Lincoln's White House and the Civil War, along with the swallows that nested in his distinctive stovepipe hat. Those toting Player memberships are showered with benefits including service-charge-free ticket purchases, gift-shop discounts, and a biannual newsletter subscription. With four complimentary passes in tow, members can take in performances of One Destiny, a theatrical eyewitness account of Lincoln's assassination, as well as educational events throughout the year, such as a lectures by National Parks Service interpreters, who recount tales of the fateful evening.
Part art gallery, part cocoa bar, Artfully Chocolate was established in 2007 when owner Eric Nelson quit his job as an executive in order to pursue his artistic passions. Needing a little something extra to draw attention to his shop and unwilling to sound a tornado siren after every purchase, Eric called on the services of friend and chocolatier Rob Kingsbury. Kingsbury instantly infused the colorful gallery with the sweet allure Eric was seeking.
Today, the duo's handiwork takes center stage inside two different locations: Eric's masterpieces parade across the walls, and Rob's expertise reveals itself in sips and bites of decadent drinks and pastries. They also host tasting classes, including a wine-pairing class and chocolate-tasting class.
The Washington Glass School’s straightforward progression of classes helps crafters of all experience levels become accomplished glass-artists, demystifying the only art form that combines the chromatic range of oil painting, the practical aesthetics of ceramics, and the high temperatures of burnt-toast-portraiture. The illustrious staff includes Fulbright Scholars, eco-creators, and artists with permanent exhibits at the Smithsonian and the Art Institute of Chicago. The studio also serves as a resource facility for other artists: the Artist Incubator program provides seasoned crafters with studio space for new independent and collaborative works.
Deemed one of the world’s 12 coolest museums by the Sunday Times, the Newseum uses new technology to tell the history of newspapers, journalism, and groundbreaking photography. Beyond the museum's 74-foot engraving of the First Amendment and its glass atrium, 14 permanent exhibits include the News Corporation News History Gallery, where 10 touch screens offer time lines, games, close-up views of publications, and a live cam of Tom Brokaw's nose. Several theaters screen documentaries that focus on journalistic issues, and the temporary Photo Finish exhibit displays legendary sports photographer Neil Leifer’s work, including a shot of a victorious Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston while announcing his career transition to badminton. The Berlin Wall Gallery shows how news shaped the story of the wall being torn down, with eight 12-foot sections of the wall on display.