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Release Date: November 30, 2017

Celebrate the Holiday Season at the National Gallery of Art with Caroling, Gallery Talks, Concerts, Ice-Skating, Gifts from the Gallery Shops, Seasonal Offerings from the Pavilion Café, and Decorations in the East and West Buildings

View of the West Building Rotunda decorated with poinsettia plants and holiday greenery.

View of the West Building Rotunda decorated with poinsettia plants and holiday greenery.

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art celebrates the holiday season throughout the month of December with a variety of free programs, including concerts, caroling, films, lectures, and gallery talks. All programs are free and open to the 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.

Holiday Decorations
Beginning Monday, December 4, eight Christmas trees, adorned with sparkling white lights, and hundreds of red poinsettias, white hydrangeas, and orchids will grace the Rotunda and Garden Courts, creating a festive, holiday atmosphere on the Main Floor of the West Building. The holiday display in the Rotunda is made possible by a generous endowment established in 2003 by Lee and Juliet Folger. Red and white poinsettias inside tree wells will greet visitors as they enter the East Building Atrium.

Gallery Talk
The gallery talk The Christmas Story in Art is a 75-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 14, 18, 20, 21, 22 at 2:00

Caroling at the Gallery
The Gallery's long-standing tradition of community caroling in the West Building Rotunda continues to be a favorite family activity during the holidays. Visitors are invited to sing along with guest choirs and ensembles at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. on December 9, 10, 16, and 17. The groups will perform their own music as well as lead the audience in familiar Christmas carols. Performances last 45 minutes; singers and spectators of all ages are welcome. The following groups will lead caroling this year:

National Presbyterian School Chorus
December 9 at 1:30, 2:30

United States Army Chorus
December 10 at 1:30, 2:30

Centennial High School Madrigals
December 16 at 1:30, 2:30

National United Methodist Church Singers and Ringers
December 17 at 1:30, 2:30

Holiday Performance
Concerts, offered on Sundays in the West Garden Court of the West Building, are free to the public. Performances begin at 3:30 p.m. and end at approximately 5:00 (unless noted otherwise). Audiences are admitted on a first-come, first-seated basis starting at 3:00. This year's performance is by the Turtle Island Quartet with Liz Carroll on December 17 at 4:00.

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden's 2017–2018 ice-skating season begins on Saturday, November 18, and continues through Sunday, March 11, weather permitting. Skating classes are offered for all ages and levels. Located on the National Mall between 7th and 9th Streets along Constitution Avenue NW, the ice rink continues to be 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, and in close proximity to the US Capitol, is enhanced by views of post–World War II sculptures by internationally famous artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, Roxy Paine, Tony Smith, and others from the Gallery's renowned collection. To celebrate the beginning of the Gallery's ice-skating season, visitors that purchase skating time on November 18 and 19 will receive a coupon from Guest Services Inc. for a complimentary cup of hot chocolate from the Pavilion Café on those dates. See below for exciting seasonal menu items and promotions from the Pavilion Café. Ice rink hours are:

Monday–Thursday, 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Friday, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.
Saturday, 11:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m. (open to the general public); 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. open for Learn to Skate USA sessions only
Sunday, 11:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.

For fees, class information, and more, visit
For general information and announcements about openings and closings, call (202) 216-9397 or visit

Holiday Dining Options
The Gallery has a multitude of options to complement your holiday visit. The Pavilion Café, located in the 6.1-acre National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, offers panoramic views of the ice rink and tempting seasonal beverages and dishes for all ages. Apple cider, peppermint hot cocoa, and hot chocolate keep visitors warm between spins around the ice, and alcoholic beverages including Irish coffee, mulled wine, and a full beer and wine list are also available. In conjunction with Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting, the West Building's Garden Café presents a menu of specialty Dutch dishes featuring regional cheeses, fresh seafood, seasonal ingredients, and traditional desserts. Vermeer-inspired items are available during the week and weekend brunch buffet. At the Espresso & Gelato Bar, special seasonal flavors of gelato may be purchased through the month of December. Host a holiday gathering at any of our locations or purchase gift cards for anyone on your list. For more information, visit

Gallery Shops
The Gallery Shops offer visitors a selection of artful holiday gifts for family, friends, and colleagues. Offerings include Gallery-produced holiday cards, prints, and catalogs that feature works of art from the collection, as well as books and media, calendars, stationery, jewelry, apparel, wearable art, ornaments, accessories, gifts for the home, and an array of educational and entertaining gifts for children of all ages. Every purchase supports the National Gallery of Art, making it a gift that gives twice. Shop online at Visitors receive a 20 percent discount for online purchases of $100 or more when they use the code Gallery20.

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