Washington, DC’s Art Scene

Washington, DC may be best known for its role as the Nation’s Capital, but it has always had a reputation as one of America’s favorite places for the arts and cultural institutions.

From the 16 Smithsonian museums and galleries that include the Anacostia Museum for African American History and the National Museum of Natural History, to the historic Lincoln Theater and the Kennedy Center,to the murals and community theaters that make each DC neighborhood unique, DC has a cultural scence that eclipses most other cities in the world.

This issue of the Capital Columns On-Line will feature the District’s red-hot theater scene with a look into a few of the city’s smaller theaters. While these theaters may not be as famous as their larger counterparts, their productions and performances venues have already put them on the map.

Woolly Mammoth

The Woolly Mammoth Theater Company officially opened the doors to its new, spacious facility on May 10. Located at 641 D Street, NW in, the bustling Penn Quarter neighborhood, the theatre is a combination of form and function and is striving to meet the company’s goal of building one of the great small theatres in the world.

Woolly Mammoth is part of the residential, retail and arts project known as The Lafayette at Penn Quarter (formerly referred to as Parcel 457-C), constructed by JPI Development Corp. of Dallas, TX and designed by Esocoff & Associates. The 32,000 square foot facility houses all of the theatre’s operations, including a 265-seat courtyard-style theatre, two-tiered lobby, classroom, rehearsal hall, scene shop and administrative and production support spaces.

With its new performing arts venue, Woolly Mammoth will have the ability to stage over 200 performances of five full productions, attract more than 40,000 patrons each year to its Penn Quarter venue and employ more than 200 individuals each year, including 18 full-time employees. The theater company also plans to expand education and outreach activities throughout Washington neighborhoods, positively impacting the lives of hundreds of under-served Washingtonians every year and expand theatrical offerings for tourists.

Atlas Performing Arts Center

Currently undergoing its final renovations, the Atlas Theater had a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 16, 2005. The 58,000 square foot Atlas Performing Arts Center is located in the 1300 block of H Street Northeast, Washington, DC. Renovations of the $18.5 million, 250-seat flexible space theatre are expected to be completed in January 2006.

Once complete, the center will encompass five performance spaces and three dance studios, joining the H Street Playhouse in bringing professional theatre, music, dance, and arts education to the H Street community and surrounding neighborhoods. It will also provide much needed performance venues for Washington area performance artists and arts organizations.

Resident arts partners at the Atlas include the Joy of Motion Dance Center, which manages the three dance studios, DanceSmith, a celebrated classically based modern dance company, and the African Continuum Theatre Company (ACTCo), Washington’s only professional African American theatre company.

Other performing arts spaces in the District include two projects currently under construction, the Shakespeare Theater in downtown DC and THE ARC in Southeast DC.

Posted Under: DC News