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Long Lead Inspiration

Rendering of guests enjoying The REACH at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC

Learn about what’s to come this fall and winter and beyond, including the arrival of The REACH, the Kennedy Center’s first-ever campus expansion, the opening of two new attractions designed to engage DC’s youngest visitors, and three exclamation point art exhibits by American women eternally in their creative prime. 


The REACH: Kennedy Center Expansion Project
Foggy Bottom/Sept. 7, 2019 opening; festival: Sept. 7-22
The REACH, the first new space in the 47-year-old performing arts campus brings a $175-million Steve Holl-designed project adding 60,000-square-feet of classrooms, rehearsal and performance space in three pavilions. The addition to the southern side of the Center also adds a reflection pool, a projection screen and bridge over Rock Creek Parkway to the Potomac Riverfront. The Kennedy Center celebrates its expansion with a free, 16-day arts festival.

Woolly Mammoth/Sept. 9-Oct. 6

The vanguard company jumpstarts its 40th season with a production of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Fariview considers race and representation in America when a family is placed under surveillance.

Arena Stage/Sept. 13-Oct. 17

The lauded rep theater leaps into its 70th season with Ruben Santiago-Hudson directing his 2017 Tony Award-winning revival of August Wilson’s challenging drama about gentrification.

Verrocchio: Sculptor and Painter in Renaissance Florence
National Gallery of Art/Sept. 15, 2019-Jan. 12, 2020

The first monographic exhibition in the U.S. unites some 50 masterpieces focused on the output of the sculptor, painter and studio director to promising talents including Leonardo da Vinci. 

Judy Chicago—The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction
National Museum of Women in the Arts/Sept. 19, 2019-Jan. 20, 2020
Feminist icon Judy Chicago presents her most recent work and continuing rally cry to challenge the status quo in almost 40 pieces of painted glass and porcelain and two bronzes.

Shakespeare Theatre/Oct. 15-Nov. 17

The first show under the theater’s new artistic director, Simon Goodwin, is a reconsideration of the 15th century play of the same name. In Braden Jacob-Jenkins’ version, the titular role is awarded to a cast member by on-stage lottery, and then the drama of life unfolds.  

Pat Steir
Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden/Oct. 24, 2019-May 10, 2020
The largest site-specific exhibition to date by the acclaimed American abstractionist Pat Steir presents an expansive suite of her signature Waterfall series ringing the museum’s second-floor inner-circle gallery. The presentation will overlap with the artist’s 80th birthday.

Bonnard to Vuillard, The Intimate Poetry of Everyday Life: The Nabi Collection of Vicki and Roger Saint
Phillips Collection/Oct. 26, 2019-Jan. 26, 2020

Sixty exquisite post-Impressionist paintings from the collection of noted DC-area collectors grace the oldest museum of modern art in America.

The Outwin: American Portraiture Today
National Portrait Gallery/Oct. 26, 2019-Aug. 30, 2020

The 46 finalists and winners of the fifth triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition (selected from 2,500 entries) hold a mirror up to American artists.

LATE 2019
National Children’s Museum Opens Downtown
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center/Nov. 1, 2019

After years of planning, an intentionally built, 33,000-square-foot play space emphasizing hands-on STEAM learning (science, technology, engineering, art and math) opens blocks from the National Mall and White House. Admission will be $10.95; babies ages 12 months and younger are free.

Natural Beauties: Exquisite Works of Gems and Minerals
Hillwood Estate, Museum & Garden/Feb. 14-June 7, 2020

A renown collector of gems and jewelry, Marjorie Merriweather Post had an eye for hard stones (jade, agate, lapis and more) in objects too. This exhibition, a first for the museum, gathers upwards of 100 of the collector’s pieces including a table, snuffbox, chalice and other precious keepsakes.

Laurie Anderson Survey
Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden/Feb. 21-Sept. 7

An immersive survey, yet-to-be-titled, of the performance artist and musician will showcase five new large-scale commissions and pieces ringing the museum’s second floor, including the largest to-date presentation of “Chalkroom,” a VR experience exploring memory. The show will be accompanied by a vinyl recording tied to the installations

Celine Dion: Courage World Tour
Capital One Arena/March 11

Her heart it goes on, and on.

Planet Word Museum
Franklin Square/spring 2020
A private museum dedicated to fostering a life-long love of literacy and storytelling is expected to open its doors inside the school where Alexander Graham Bell once ran a lab.

Eisenhower Memorial 
National Mall/May 8, 2020
Focusing on President Eisenhower’s dedication to public service, leadership, work ethic and devotion to preserving democracy, a memorial designed by Frank Gehry will be dedicated in May 2020.

The National Native American Veterans Memorial
National Museum of American Indian/November 2020
The memorial is expected to open on the grounds of the Smithsonian Institution’s DC museum in fall 2020. At present, the 413 registrations received from five continents have been reduced to five semi-finalists.

Hall of American Culture
National Museum of American History/Late 2020
The third and final reimaging of the museum’s West Wing presents America as a unique country where culture makers and their giant audiences engage one another, be it in a megachurch, Barnum’s circus tent or a cineplex.

2021 and Beyond

America by Air Reimagined
National Air and Space Museum/2021
“America by Air” will emerge from the museum’s multi-year transformation campaign refreshed with a new layout, improved graphics, interactive elements and new artifacts suspended from the ceiling. The ground floor exhibition will continue to trace the history of air transportation and explore how the federal government shaped the industry and how improvements in technology have revolutionized air travel. The museum’s full seven-year renovation will be complete in 2024.