Free things to do in Washington, D.C.
As the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. has the most robust and wide-ranging list of things to do, places to go, and food to eat. Adventure always comes at a cost, but this August, keep your wallet, tummy, and mind happy with these free events and opportunities.
Now in its 9th year, the 17th Street Festival will celebrate 17th Street and its diversity of restaurants and retailers on Saturday, August 25 from noon to 6 p.m. at Dupont Circle. With over 100 local vendors, 50+ artists, and a kids zone for children, the neighborhood festival highlights everything from fine art and jewelry to ceramics, crafts, and more. The event is free, but they welcome donations, and you can receive a wristband for discounts if you do!
From Renaissance caricatures to English satires and 20th-century comics, the current “Sense of Humor” exhibit at the National Gallery of Art indicates how print has become the primary vehicle for humor in art. Works by Alexander Calder, Jacques Callot, the Guerilla Girls, and others will make you laugh and question how this experience is free. Bonus: If you visit on a Friday, you can also enjoy a free jazz concert. Head to the Sculpture Garden for an evening of jazz musicians, chilled sangria, and other food offerings.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum has devoted the entire Renwick Gallery (and some outdoor portions) to the first major national exhibition on Burning Man, an annual gathering of 70,000 bohemians who construct a city in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for one week. “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” portrays the creativity, craft, and effort of the community in creating small-scale art pieces and colossal pavilions. The extensive exhibition also includes some of the elaborate costumes and jewelry, worn by Burners as well as videos and photography captured over the years.
No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man brings the large-scale, participatory work from this desert gathering to the nation’s capital for the first time. The exhibition takes over the entire Renwick Gallery building and surrounding Golden Triangle neighborhood, bringing alive the maker culture and creative spirit of this cultural movement. In their work, Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu, the artist duo behind art and design studio HYBYCOZO, investigate the influences of geometry on human evolution, and the interconnections between contemporary physics and ancient man made patterns, often Islamic, conveying an appreciation for the math behind the art. Using advanced manufacturing and prototyping technology, their works generate tension between hard geometric surfaces and soft interior illumination, promoting a sense of contemplation and awe of the inherent beauty of universal forms. HYBYCOZO (Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu), “Deep Thought,” 2015 [detail] HYBYCOZO (Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu), “Inner Orbit: Lvov,” 2017 [detail] HYBYCOZO (Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu), “Trocto,” 2014 [detail] ???? by Libby Weiler #SmithsonianAmericanArtMuseum #RenwickGallery #SmithsonianRenwickGallery #NoSpectators #RenwickGalleryNoSpectators #RenwickGalleryBurningMan #PhotographyEncouraged #TBT #ThrowbackThursday #ArtDetail #InstallationArt No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man March 30, 2018—Janurary 21, 2019 Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW)
The “Wall Flowers: Botanical Murals” exhibition showcases large-scale murals with powerful colors and vibrant details that beautify our urban environments. Found at the Conservatory, this collection emphasizes local artists, plants, and their vital role in fostering creative conversations in our everyday lives. Additionally, “Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora” displays 45 original pieces of art, selected from over 200 entries, of trees, cacti, wildflowers, and more in the Conservatory Gallery. Similar exhibitions are planned to be held in 24 other countries, each highlighting native plants. Artists—including Judy Thomas, Paula Blair, Molly Hoopes, and more—will be present during the fall to draw plants live and talk with visitors.
Comcast Xfinity Outdoor Film Festival
Starting this Thursday, Comcast Xfinity will host a four-day series of outdoor movies at Strathmore, benefiting the National Institutes of Health Children’s Charities. No tickets needed. Just bring your blankets or low-rise lawn chairs, claim your spot in front of the 12-16 foot screen, and enjoy popcorn and other food items from Ridgewells summer grill starting at 7:30 p.m. Catch Coco (Aug. 23), Black Panther (Aug. 24), The Lion King (Aug. 25), and Wonder Woman (Aug. 25) at dusk (8:30 p.m.).