Skip to Main Content

Release Date: November 21, 2013

Exciting Array of Holiday Offerings at the National Gallery of Art Includes Decorations, Caroling, Concerts, Children’s Films, and Much More!

Film still from Christmas Story (Juha Wuolijoki, Finland, 2007, 80 minutes), to be shown at the National Gallery of Art on Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15

Film still from Christmas Story (Juha Wuolijoki, Finland, 2007, 80 minutes), to be shown at the National Gallery of Art on Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art celebrates the holiday season throughout the month of December with festive decorations and a variety of free programs including concerts, caroling, and children’s films. All programs are free and open to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis. The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden ice rink offers skaters of all ages an opportunity to enjoy brisk winter weather amid stunning large-scale sculpture. The Gallery and Sculpture Garden are closed on December 25 and January 1.

Rotunda Decorations
Beginning Wednesday, December 4, hundreds of red poinsettias, white hydrangeas, orchids, and eight Christmas trees adorned with sparkling white lights will grace the Rotunda and Garden Courts, lending the Main Floor of the West Building a festive atmosphere for the season.

Gallery Talk
The Christmas Story in Art gallery talk is a 50-minute discussion about paintings in the permanent collection that depict the birth of Jesus. Led by Gallery lecturer David Gariff, this tour meets in the West Building Rotunda.
December 6, 9, 11, 13, 17, 18, 21 and 22, 1:00
West Building Main Floor, Rotunda

Caroling at the Gallery
Caroling at the Gallery, with its festive seasonal decorations, has become a favorite family activity at the Gallery during the holidays. Visitors are invited to sing along with guest choirs and ensembles in at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. on December 14, 15, 21, and 22. The groups will perform their own music as well as leading the audience in familiar favorite Christmas carols. Performances last 45 minutes; singers and spectators of all ages are welcome. This year, caroling will take place in the West Building’s East Sculpture Hall. The following groups will lead caroling this year:

December 14
The Washington Chorus Outreach Singers
Geoffrey Silver, conductor

December 15
JEB Stuart High School Select Vocal Ensemble
Emi Eiting, director

December 21
The Washington Saengerbund
Nick Brown, conductor
and the Alpine Singers
Herbert Traxler, director

December 22
The Metropolitan Church Chancel and Dayspring Choirs
Bruce H, Caviness, director
and Metropolitan Ringers
Susan Staines, director

Holiday Concerts
Concerts, offered on Sundays in the West Garden Court of the West Building, are free to the public. Performances begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at approximately 8:00 (unless noted otherwise). Audiences are admitted on a first-come, first-seated basis starting at 6:00. The Garden Café, located in the West Building, offers a concert dessert menu from 4:00 to 6:00. The Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue NW entrance to the West Building and the Fourth Street entrance to the East Building remain open until 6:30. No entry or reentry to either building is permitted after 6:30. For a full concert listing, visit the website or call (202) 842-6941.

This year's offerings include:

National Gallery of Art Piano Trio
Sunday, December 1, 6:30 p.m.
Music by Jewish composers
Hanukkah Concert
West Building Main Floor, West Garden Court

United States Navy Band Commodores
Sunday, December 8, 6:30 p.m.
Music by Ellington
Christmas Concert
Sunday, 6:30 pm
East Building Auditorium

National Gallery of Art Vocal Ensemble
Sunday, December 29, 6:30 p.m.
New Year Concert
Music by Lehár, Strauss, and other composers
West Building Main Floor, West Garden Court

Film Program for Children and Teens

Two children’s films celebrate the holiday season this month. On December 7 and 8, the animated film Laura’s Star follows seven-year-old Laura’s friendship with a magical star. On December 14 at 15, the Gallery screens Christmas Story, in which a young boy named Nikolas upholds his own special gift-giving tradition. (Image: Christmas Story, Juha Wuolijoki, Finland, 2007, 80 minutes)
Laura’s Star
Saturday, December 7 at 10:30 am
Sunday, December 8 at 11:30 am
East Building Concourse, Auditorium
(Ages 4 and up) Seven-year-old Laura, having just moved with her family from the country to the city, feels lonely. One night she watches a shooting star land in a nearby park and tries to find it. When she does, Laura notices that the star has injured itself. She brings the shining star home, nurses it back to health, and begins a fantastic friendship with it. But when Laura realizes that—like herself—the star yearns for its old home, will she let her new friend go? Eloquent and gentle, this animated film is accompanied by a beautiful musical score filled with magical moments and wondrous flying adventures. English-language version. (Thilo Graf Rothkirch and Piet De Rycker, Warner Bros. Pictures Germany, 2004, 80 minutes)
Christmas Story
Saturday, December 14 at 10:30 am
Sunday, December 15 at 11:30 am
East Building Concourse, Auditorium
(Ages 8 and up) Hundreds of years ago in a remote village in Lapland, a little boy named Nikolas loses his family in an accident. The villagers decide to look after the orphaned boy together. Once a year, at Christmas, Nikolas moves to a new home. To show his gratitude, Nikolas decides to make toys for the children of the families. Over the years, Nikolas' successive adoptive families become many, and soon almost every house has presents on its doorstep on Christmas morning. At thirteen, Nikolas is sent to live and work with Iisakki, a grumpy old carpenter who forbids Nikolas to continue making presents for Christmas. Gradually, however, Nikolas wins Iisakki's trust and together they uphold the Christmas tradition. When the aged Iisakki has to leave Nikolas and move away, the gift-giving tradition is once again at risk. Thankfully, Nikolas comes up with a solution that brings children joy every Christmas, even today. English-language version. (Juha Wuolijoki, Finland, 2007, 80 minutes)

During the month of December, holiday refreshments—including hot cocoa, peppermint affogato, and sweets with an international flair—may be purchased at the Espresso & Gelato Bar on the Concourse near the Cascade Café. Special seasonal flavors of gelato and sorbetto include apple cider, pumpkin, caramel apple, and peppermint candy cane.

Inspired by Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris, award-winning Chef Michel Richard, chef and owner of the restaurant Central Michel Richard in Washington, DC, has created a buffet and à la carte menu of signature French dishes for the Garden Café. This special menu is presented by Richard in partnership with Restaurant Associates and Executive Chef Pierre Cummings at the National Gallery of Art.

Ice Rink
The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden's 2013–2014 ice-skating season will began on Friday, November 15, and continues through Sunday, March 16, weather permitting. Skating classes are designed 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 post–World War II sculptures by internationally famous artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, Roxy Paine, and others from the Gallery's celebrated collection.

For hours, fees, class information, and more, visit

Gallery Shops

The Gallery Shops offers visitors a unique holiday selection of special, artful gifts for your family and friends. Offerings include Gallery-produced holiday cards featuring works of art from the collection, as well as books and media, calendars, stationery, jewelry, apparel, ornaments, accessories, gifts for the home and an array of gifts for children of all ages. Shop online at

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.

Press Release