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Release Date: November 8, 2011

Ice Rink in National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Opens for 13th Season November 18, Weather Permitting; A Wide Range of Skating Classes is Designed for All Ages and Interests; Free Hot Chocolate on Opening Weekend, November 19–20

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden's 2011–2012 ice-skating season will begin November 18 and continue through March 11, weather permitting. A wide variety of skating classes will be offered for all ages. Located on the National Mall between 7th and 9th Streets along Constitution Avenue NW, the ice rink is a favorite destination, attracting thousands of visitors to skate in the nation's capital. The ice rink is managed by Guest Services, Inc.

Skating in the Sculpture Garden, surrounded by the grand architecture of national museums and monuments, is enhanced by views of splendid large-scale sculpture by such modern and contemporary artists as Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, Roxy Paine, Tony Smith, and others from the Gallery's renowned collection.

To celebrate the opening, visitors who purchase time on the ice either November 19 or 20 will receive a coupon for a complimentary cup of hot chocolate on those dates.

Ice-Skating Rink Hours and Fees

The hours for the skating rink are as follows:

Monday through Thursday
10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Friday and Saturday
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

During the evening, when the Gallery and Sculpture Garden are closed to the public, access to the ice-skating rink is restricted to the entrances at Constitution Avenue and Madison Drive near 9th Street.

The skating fees for a two-hour session (beginning on the hour) are as follows:

$8.00 for adults
$7.00 for skaters age 50 and over, children age 12 and under, or students with a valid school ID
Please call the ice rink office at (202) 216-9397 for rates and additional information. The Gallery and Sculpture Garden are closed on December 25 and January 1.

The skate rental fee is $3.00 (ID required as a deposit), and lockers are available for $.50 ($5.00 deposit required). Season tickets are available for $195. For general information and announcements about openings and closings, or to make reservations for lessons, call (202) 216-9397 or visit Guest Services' website More details are available at

Skating Lessons and Registration

This year Guest Services is offering skating lessons for all ages through the Skate with U.S. program designed by the U.S. Figure Skating Association. Snowplow Sam: Mom/Dad and Me classes introduce children as young as three to skating while holding a parent's hand. Classes are also offered for children with more skating experience who no longer need the assistance of an adult, are comfortable on the ice, and are ready to learn to skate backward and to glide on one foot.

Teens and adults have many opportunities to hone their skating skills with Adult Basic group lessons, organized according to four levels of experience. For skaters inspired by the monuments and sculptures surrounding the rink, the Sculpturise exercise class or Ice Theatre artistry performance class provide a wonderful creative outlet. Other offerings include hockey skating classes for both children and adults.

Skaters looking for more one-on-one attention may make an appointment for a private lesson. Special group rates are also available for parties of 10 or more.

Registration for group classes will be held on November 11, 2011, from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m., and December 18, 2011, and February 4, 2012, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the entrance of the Pavilion Café. To register in advance or arrange for a private lesson, please e-mail [email protected].

Sculpture Garden and Ice Rink

The skating surface, which measures approximately 135 feet long and 90 feet wide, can accommodate more than 200 skaters at a time. A state-of-the-art music system provides uniform sound to skaters, diners, and spectators without distracting other visitors to the Sculpture Garden. At night, lights encircling the rink illuminate the ice, contributing to the festive atmosphere and the skating experience. Sixteen banners that surround the ice-skating rink represent a cross section of the Gallery's spectacular portrait collection, on display in the East and West Buildings.

Designed to offer year-round enjoyment to the public in one of the preeminent locations on the National Mall, the 6.1-acre National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden opened on May 23,

1999. The richly landscaped setting provides a distinctive backdrop for 17 works of modern and contemporary sculpture by internationally famous artists. Visitors may enjoy spacious seating and walking areas amid the native American canopy and flowering trees, shrubs, ground covers, and perennials. A majestic fountain in the summer, which serves as the ice rink in winter, is at the center of the Garden, giving visitors a chance to rest and reflect on the works on view. Also in the summer the Garden is the setting for popular Friday evening Jazz in the Garden concerts.

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden was given to the nation by The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.

The Sculpture Garden is located on the National Mall between 7th and 9th Streets along Constitution Avenue NW, in the block adjacent to the West Building of the Gallery. There are six public entrances to the Sculpture Garden, from four corners and at two sides; and the area is accessible to visitors with disabilities. Admission is free. More information is available at

Groups and Tours at the Sculpture Garden and in the Gallery

To arrange a special guided tour of the Gallery's permanent collection for 20 or more adults before or after a visit to the ice rink during regular Gallery hours, call (202) 842-6247 at least three weeks (or up to four months) in advance. Information about other Gallery programs, exhibitions, restaurants, and Shops, is available at (202) 737-4215 or

General Information

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

The Gallery also offers a broad range of newsletters for various interests. Follow this link to view the complete list.