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Release Date: November 21, 2014

Exciting Array of Holiday Offerings at the National Gallery of Art: Decorations, Concerts, Ice Skating, Gift Items in the Gallery Shops, and More!

View of the West Building Rotunda decorated with poinsettia plants and holiday greenery. Photograph by Charles Bauduy © National Gallery of Art, Washington

View of the West Building Rotunda decorated with poinsettia plants and holiday greenery. Photograph by Charles Bauduy © National Gallery of Art, Washington

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art celebrates the holiday season throughout the month of December with festive decorations, holiday concerts, and gallery talks. 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 sculptures. The Gallery Shops offer a variety of perfect gifts. The Gallery and Sculpture Garden are closed on December 25 and January 1.

Rotunda Decorations
Beginning Wednesday, December 3, hundreds of red poinsettias, white hydrangeas, and evergreen Christmas trees adorned with sparkling white lights will grace the Rotunda and the East and West Garden Courts, lending the main floor of the West Building a festive atmosphere through the New Year.

Gallery Talk
The Christmas Story in Art gallery talk is a 60-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 3–5, 9, 10, 12, 16, 17, 1:00 p.m.
West Building Rotunda

Holiday Concerts: Afternoon Encounters
Concerts at the National Gallery are open to the public, free of charge. Afternoon Encounters take place at 3:30 pm in the West Building, West Garden Court, unless otherwise indicated. Admittance is on a first-come, first–seated basis ten minutes before the concert begins. Limited seating is provided for those who cannot stand. Music programs are planned to last no more than 60 minutes, and late entry is permitted. For a full concert listing, visit the website or call (202) 842-6941.

This year's offerings include:

Empire Brass
Saturday, December 6, 3:30 p.m.
Holiday Concert
West Building, West Garden Court

Spanish Brass
Saturday, December 13, 3:30 p.m.
Holiday Concert
West Building, West Garden Court

Thomas Circle Singers
Saturday, December 20, 3:30 p.m.
Holiday Caroling
West Building, West Garden Court

Alexandria Kleztet
Sunday, December 21, 3:30 p.m.
Klezmer music
Hanukkah concert
West Building, West Garden Court

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 include Mexican hot chocolate, peppermint candy cane, gingerbread house, and white chocolate mocha.

The Pavilion Café in the Sculpture Garden offers a tempting array of seasonal beverages to keep you warm between spins around the ice, including apple cider, peppermint hot cocoa, and hot chocolate. Alcoholic beverages are also available, including Irish coffee, apple cider and rum, mulled wine, and more.

Ice Rink
The 2014–2015 ice-skating season at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden begins on November 14, 2014, and continues through March 16, 2015, weather permitting. Skating classes are offered for all ages and abilities. 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
Gallery Shops offer visitors a unique holiday selection of special, artful gifts for your family and friends. Offerings include boxed ornaments, holiday cards, Advent calendars, books, and more. 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