ARTECHOUSE, the gallery in Southwest DC known for its visually stunning and immersive digital art, just announced that its current exhibition, Crystalline, has been extended through February. Even better, you have a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to experience it!
Crystalline has transformed the gallery into a blue-hued haven intended to evoke calm and peace during a turbulent time. Large scale projections on the walls of the main gallery and smaller ones in side areas engage and enchant as they encourage play. Just about all of it is interactive, as the images change with viewers’ motions. Immersing into the depths of the color, even just for a little while, is a dazzling and delightful escape from the bizarre Covid world outside.
ARTECHOUSE is taking extra measures to ensure safety in response to Covid-19. Capacity is limited, guests must wear masks, directional signage helps social distancing, there are hand sanitizing stations, and cleaning and disinfecting takes place hourly. You can read more about their safety policies here.
Crystalline is running at ARTECHOUSE through February 28, 2021. Tickets are $19-24/adult, $12-15/child, $17-20/students, seniors, military & first responders (the lower price for online advance tickets, higher at the door). Children under 4 are free.
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Giveaway: For a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to Crystalline at ARTECHOUSE, simply leave a comment below telling me your favorite holiday activity that you learned about from the KFDC holiday guide. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too. This giveaway will run through Sunday, December 20, 2020, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!
ARTECHOUSE debuted their latest exhibition at the Southwest DC gallery last week, and it’s one to feel blue about — in a very good way. Crystalline is inspired by many things, among them Pantone’s color of the year, Classic Blue, and this unprecedented pandemic year.
The exhibit’s explorations of the color connect it with earth and crystals and presents that through large scale digital images on the walls of the main gallery and smaller ones in side areas. Just about all of it is interactive, as the images change with viewers’ motions, moving elements as you walk around or evolving into more detailed pictures as you step closer.
Blue also plays a role beyond the individual installations. As ARTECHOUSE puts it, blue “brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit.” The exhibit is intended to serve not just as entertainment, but as a refuge for visitors during this turbulent time.
And immersing into the depths of blue, even just for a little while, is a beautiful — and fun — escape from the bizarre Covid world outside.
Crystalline is running at ARTECOUSE through January 3, 2021. Tickets are $19-24/adult, $12-15/child, $17-20/students, seniors, military & first responders (the lower price for online advance tickets, higher at the door). Children under 4 are free.
ARTECHOUSE is taking extra measures to ensure safety in response to Covid. Capacity is limited, guests must wear masks, directional signage helps social distancing, there are hand sanitizing stations, and cleaning and disinfecting takes place hourly. More details are available here.
An Alexandria tradition for 25 years, Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Art Safari is moving online in 2020. This Saturday, October 17, professional artists will lead a series of creative hands-on projects via Facebook Live with sessions running 11am – 4pm. Other recorded sessions will be posted throughout the day via Facebook videos and will be archived on the Torpedo Factory website for later viewing.
Children can learn to create their own works of art like pinch pots with clay, origami butterflies, marbled paper, and more. The online workshops will feature live sessions, pre-recorded demonstrations, as well as downloadable content to create at home.
Projects are tailored for kids aged 5–12 to do together with their families, but younger kids will have fun, too! Everyone should dress to get a little messy.
UPDATE: Due to the coronavirus, the National Cherry Blossom Festival and just about all other events have been canceled. You can still try view them, but use good judgement doing so.
Cherry blossom season is almost upon us, and it’s time to start getting ready for it! Because not only is the city at its prettiest when the beloved flowers are in bloom, there also are loads of special events and activities to celebrate it all. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, running March 20 – April 12 this year, presents all kinds of fun and enriching activities over a few weeks, plus there are even more blossom-inspired happenings that aren’t part of the official festivities. I’ve picked the best of them for families to help you plan for a peak experience. Happy Spring!
Cherry Blossom Viewing
Where: Around the DMV
When: Late March
Viewing the cherry blossoms may just be the top thing to do during the season — and lots of people agree. The scenery really can’t get more iconic DC than the flowering trees around the Tidal Basin at their peak pink and white brilliance with our grand memorials in the background. However, viewing the famous blooms can be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things, so be sure to check out these KFDC tips before you go to see them. And view scenes from last year’s bloom here.
STORYTIME: Under the Cherry Blossom Tree CANCELLED!
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: March 11, 10-11am & March 15 & 22, 11am – 12pm
In celebration of cherry blossoms, join the Hirhshorn for a read aloud of Under the Cherry Blossom Tree by Allen Say. Take a close look at the museum’s lobby’s tables, created by artist Hiroshi Sugimoto using a 700-year-old nutmeg tree, then create your own tree- and blossom-inspired works.
Hanami: Beyond the Blooms
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: March 13 – May 25
Admission: $16-20/adult, $8-10/child
ARTECHOUSE introduces a new exhibit every season, and it’s only apropos that its spring offering highlights the cherry blossoms. Hanami: Beyond the Blooms “pushes the limits of the cherry blossom experience, inviting visitors to enter an immersive world of spring re-imagined. Now an annual tradition, ARTECHOUSE’s cherry blossom-inspired installation continues to celebrate springtime and women in the arts and tech.” Look for a KFDC review of it soon!
Cultural Performances CANCELLED!
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: Weekends, March 21 – April 12
Catch live entertainment as you take in views of the blossoms! On weekends during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, there will be music and dance performances on a special stage set up at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. A highlight will be the Miyako Takio Takeover Saturday on March 28 from 11am to 6pm.
Cherry Blossom Celebration CANCELLED!
Where: American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 21, 11:30am – 3pm
Join SAAM and the National Cherry Blossom Festival for a celebration of Japanese culture. A taiko drumming performance kicks off the day, followed by Les The DJ spinning Japanese pop, funk, and boogie beats and the Koto Ensemble performing traditional Japanese dance. Enjoy face painting, make cherry blossom crafts, and go on an art scavenger hunt throughout the exhibition Chiura Obata: American Modern in the first-floor galleries.
Japanese Fashion Family Day CANCELLED!
Where: GWU & Textile Museum | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: March 21, 10am – 3pm
Celebrate Japanese fashion during cherry blossom season this spring. Join the Textile Museum & George Washington University museum for a family day featuring kimono, happi coats, accessories, and the creative shapes of contemporary Japanese fashion designers. Enjoy dance performances of Eisaa and Ryubu traditional dances from Okinawa. See a demonstration for how to dress in a kimono and take the opportunity to design one of your own. Make a cherry blossom pendant to take home. And enjoy family-friendly tours of the Japanese artwork on display in Delight in Discovery: The Global Collections of Lloyd Cotsen. This is a fantastic opportunity to experience a museum that usually may be a bit sophisticated for little ones!
Go with the Flow
Where: Local waterways
When: Starting mid-March
Admission: Rates vary
Get a new perspective of the blossom and enjoy a fun activity on a paddling excursion. Many boathouses will open around the same time the National Cherry Blossom Festival begins, offering canoe, kayak, and other rentals to take you out on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and Tidal Bason, where you can see the blooming cherry trees from the water. This KFDC post has more information on where to go with the flow around DC.
Last year’s cherry blossom inspired exhibit at ARTECHOUSE
STORYTIME: The Tiny Seed CANCELLED!
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: March 25, 10-11am
Join the Hirshhorn for a special STORYTIME, their regular program for littles, and join them to celebrate spring with the journey of a tiny seed. Take a close look at the round bronze sculptures of Spatial Concept: Nature by Lucio Fontana, and read-aloud The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. Then, explore how plants move and change throughout their life cycle. Following the story, children will participate in a hands-on art activity.
Cherry Blossom Night with the Washington Wizards CANCELLED!
Where: Capitol One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 25, 7pm
Admission: Tickets start at $19
Celebrate the cherry blossom season with the Wizards and some basketball as they take on the Phoenix Suns! Each ticket purchased through this link comes with a limited edition Wizards Cherry Blossom t-shirt. In addition first 10,000 fans entering the arena will receive a Rui Hachimura Cherry Blossom inspired bobblehead!
Blossom Kite Festival CANCELLED!
Where: Washington Monument Grounds | National Mall, DC
When: March 28, 10am – 4:30pm
The annual Blossom Kite Festival is a favorite for many during the blossom season. The sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument truly is a sight to behold. The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like big, beautiful origami works way outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so BYO or make one there at an activity station. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.
Cherry Blossom Celebration CANCELLED!
Where: Freer|Sackler Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: March 28, 12-4pm
Celebrate the season at the museum dedicated to Asian art! At this special event, explore Japanese art and culture through musical performances, making art, and taking a tour of Hokusai: Mad about Painting and Meeting Tessai. Try Japanese bookmaking, listen to taiko drumming, and then join the kite festival right outside on the National Mall. Japanese-inspired food and drink will be available for purchase.
Into the Woods
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Centreville, VA
When: March 28, 11am – 1:30pm
Celebrate the cherry blossoms at the farm park! Hike the nature trail to experience the changes of spring. Visit stations peppered throughout the trail to build a fairy house, help tally migratory and year round resident birds, and search for critters in the soil and water. Enjoy Japanese teas at the historic Frying Pan Meeting House, too. Stop by the Indoor Arena first for a map and instructions.
Cherry Blossom STEM Day
Where: Children’s Science Center Lab | Fairfax, VA
When: March 29, 10am – 6pm
Celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival with a twist of STEM! Visitors can learn more about the special flower and festival through hands-on activities and experiments inspired by the cherry blossom throughout the entire Lab. Read more about the Children’s Science Center Lab in this KFDC post.
Cuenta-Cuentos: STORYTIME in Spanish CANCELLED!
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: March 29, 11am – 12pm
Join a special STORYTIME in Spanish and inspired the season! Celebrate spring with a close look at the round bronze sculptures Spatial Concept: Nature by Lucio Fontana, and a reading of The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. Then, explore how plants move and change throughout their life cycle. Following the story, children will participate in a hands-on art activity.
Cherry Blossom Night at DC United
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: April 3, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary
Support local sports and be a part of the Cherry Blossom Festival at once! DC United’s home match against New York City FC will include cherry blossom-themed activations, activities, and celebrations for fans along with the action on the pitch. Score tickets here.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade CANCELLED!
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 4, 10am – 12pm
The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities just might be the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the procession of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers roll through the city. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.
See Racing Presidents rolling down Constitution Ave at the annual parade
Where: Pennsylvania Ave, 3rd-7th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 4, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $10/ages 13+, free/12 & under
Following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. The 60th annual event will feature live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. Be prepared for a crowd.
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: April 4, 2-9pm
Join The Wharf for Bloomaroo, their local version of Bonaroo, where they’ll be celebrating the cherry blossoms with a full day of art, music, and family-friendly fun along the waterfront! If you want to make this a special adult experience with food and drinks included, VIP tickets are available for $55. Read more about The Wharf in this KFDC post.
Art Blooms at Mosaic
Where: Mosaic District | McLean, VA
When: April 4 & 5, 11am – 5pm
The 2nd annual Art Blooms at Mosaic is celebratory weekend with fun for all ages. Do some shopping at the market, catch live entertainment and art exhibits, do some kids activities, enjoy a pop-up beer garden & wine patio, snap pics at selfie stations, join a free yoga session, and much more!
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: April 5, 11am – 8pm
National Harbor’s Sakura Sunday is an official event of the 2020 National Cherry Blossom Festival — and a taste of the traditional Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan! The day’s activities include a traditional Japanese picnic, unique Japanese market, foods of Japan, Japanese music & entertainment, and a sake, beer & rose garden!
Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park | Southeast DC
When: April 5, 1-5pm
The 6th annual Anacostia River Festival is a premier event of the 2020 National Cherry Blossom Festival. This year will feature an artist market, special performances, and activities that include boating, hands-on art projects, musical performances, and other unique programs engaging families with the river, its history, and ecology.
Blossoms & Baseball
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: April 6
Admission: Ticket price vary
The Nats are getting in on the Cherry Blossom festivities again this year with a petal-packed, pink takeover of Nationals Park as they host the Marlins. A portion of ticket proceeds from the game will also benefit the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: April 11, 10am – 3pm
Children of all ages and their families can learn about Japanese culture through reading, writing, and craft-making with Japanese cultural and linguistic professionals. Japanese-related books will be on display, and a special highlight of the day is “Japan-In-A-Suitcase,” an inspiring program about Japanese life and culture. Other activities include Japanese drum music and dance performances, instructions on the art of tiara-making by former Cherry Blossom princesses, origami artwork lessons, decorative Konobori coloring, and the kimono dress-up experience. Children can also explore the Library’s Young Readers Center, which is full of current and classic children’s literature — read more about it here.
Where: The Yards | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: April 11, 12-9:30pm
Join the Capitol Riverfront community for Petalpalooza! It’s the first time the event will be held in neighborhood, and it should be a blast. The event will celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival with live music, art installations, a beer garden, and lots of family-friendly activities. Plan to go for awhile, or just stop by for a bit. The day will cap off with a fireworks show over the Anacostia River.
Where: National Arboretum | Northeast DC
When: April 11 & 12, 10am – 1:30pm
Enjoy spring flowers with a Japanese twist! The Washington DC Chapter of Ikebana International is co-hosting four different Ikebana masters. Each master represents a different school and and will highlight the characteristics of their school. Demonstrations will be held in the Auditorium of the Visitor Center and are free to attend.
Monday – Enjoy a quintessential winter activity and go ice skating! It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the season, and there are rinks located all around the area. Several offer push aids to help newbie skaters, and most are located in places with even more to do beyond the ice. This post has details for all of them.
Tuesday – Visit the U.S. Botanic Garden, where it kind of feels like pulling a fast one on the weather gods. Explore the different plant collections as you walk amid tropical rainforest, desert, and woodland flora. Take a stroll through the lovely National Garden outside if it’s not too rainy. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free. Read more about the USBG here and here.
Wednesday – Catch a performance of Mouse on the Move at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE. The interactive show recommended for ages 1-5 is also part of the annual INTERSECTIONS Festival. Showtime is 10am, and tickets are $15. Plan to grab lunch at one of many nearby eateries after.
Thursday – Explore an off-the-beaten path gem: The U.S. Navy Museum. Located on base in the Navy Yard, it’s a trove of fascinating exhibits. See an amazing collection of model ships, peer into a real periscope, sit in the gun seats of old fighter planes, view naval artifacts hundreds of years old, and much more. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is free. *Be sure to note requirements for access to the base and museum.
Friday – Head out to Calvert County to Annmarie Sculpture Garden for artsy adventures. Tour beautiful works, both indoors and out, play in the Fairy Lolly, and create some of your own art with inspiration from all you see there. The grounds are lovely all year ’round, just bundle up to roam around. Trust me, it’s worth the drive out there. Hours are 9am – 5pm in the gardens, 10am – 5pm at the arts center. Admission is $5/adult, $3/ages 6-17, free for 5 and under.