Anyone that wants to learn about the local Washington DC art scene is in the right place. Galleries, museums, supplies, schools, shows, events and more will all be covered thoroughly right here.
We will start with the best Washington DC Art Galleries and Museums where you can see some of the city’s most impressive exhibitions and collections. Up next you will read about where you can get all of the materials and supplies you’ll need at some of the best art stores in your area.
Shows, festivals, and events that happen throughout the year will also get their own section. Art walking tours present a terrific opportunity to explore a range of styles in a short amount of time, and we’ll also point you in the direction of the city’s best sculptures and statues.
There are numerous art classes and lessons near you for both children and adults available too. Some of our more seasoned readers may not want any lessons so we will also mention how to find art studios for rent around town.
A list of the best framing shops will round things out. Towards the end there will be a local map with all of these spots pinned on it, and if you want you can look through our other posts on the Northeast region right there.
Best Art Galleries & Museums In Washington DC
When you visit the best art galleries and museums in Washington DC you are visiting some of the best in the world:
- National Gallery of Art at Constitution Ave
- Smithsonian American Art Museum at G St NW & 8th St
- Renwick Gallery at 1661 Pennsylvania Ave NW
- The Phillips Collection at 1600 21st St
- Hirshhorn Museum at Independence Ave Sw & 7th St SW
- National Museum of African Art at 950 Independence Ave
- Arthur M Sackler Gallery at 1050 Independence Ave SW
- National Museum of Women in the Arts at 1250 New York Ave NW
- The Kreeger Museum at 2401 Foxhall Rd NW
- Arlington Arts Center at 3550 Wilson Blvd, Arlington
- Gallery Underground at 2100 Crystal Dr, Arlington
- The Pakan Penn Fine Art Gallery at 3101 N Monroe St, Arlington
- Principle Gallery at 208 King St, Alexandria
- Torpedo Factory Art Center at 105 N Union St, Alexandria
- Del Ray Artisans Gallery at 2704 Mt Vernon Ave, Alexandria
The National Gallery of Art features almost 150,000 works in its collection including Ginevra de’ Benci which is the only picture by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas and groups of works by Titian and Raphael. The National Gallery is open 363 days a year and offers a wide range of special exhibitions and public programming while admission to the museum is always free.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum houses one of the world’s largest and most diverse collections of American art with over 7,000 creators represented while also containing the world’s largest collection of New Deal works. Nam June Paik, Jenny Holzer, David Hockney, Georgia O’Keeffe, and many others are among the notables represented in its collection.
The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of contemporary art, opened in 1921 and houses almost 6,000 works. They offer education and community engagement activities for audiences of all ages and backgrounds in addition to presenting selections from the permanent collection and special exhibitions. They also host The Sunday Concerts which is one of the capitals longest-running music programs.
The Hirshhorn Museum is one of the most visited modern art museums in the country and admission is always free. They have over 12,000 pieces in their collection including works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins, Henry Moore, and Jackson Pollock. Outside the museum is a sculpture garden with over thirty works on display year-round.
Arthur M Sackler Gallery is a center of extraordinary Asian art collections with about 40,000 artifacts ranging from Near East China, Japan, Korea, South and South East Asia, and the Islamical world that extends from the Neolithic period to the present day. They offer a wide range of free programs including performances, lectures, seminars, movies and celebrations.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts is the world’s only major museum solely dedicated to promoting women through the arts and over 5,000 pieces have been added to the museum’s collection. Works by Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, and Élisabeth Louise Vigée-Le Brun are among the highlights of the collection. They feature signature events for guests of all ages like artist talks, monthly talkshows, and curative group conversations.
The Kreeger Museum is set on five acres of sculpture-filled gardens and terraces while their collection consists primarily of works from the 1850’s to the present. The Impressionists are represented with nine Claude Monet paintings as well as works by Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Camille Pissarro. They also have weekly live music and a variety of activities.
Arlington Arts Center hosts approximately 12 exhibitions every year. Art classes are also available for adults, teenagers, and children plus they rent out art studios. Local art studios are also available for rent at Gallery Underground.
The Pakan Penn Fine Art Gallery sells art. Torpedo Factory Art Center houses the nation’s largest collection of open studios for working artists under one roof and has classes for people of all ages. They provide a variety of programming including artist talks, hands-on art projects, live music, performance pieces, and other activities.
Del Ray Artisans Gallery is another place to find lessons for people of all ages as well as children’s art camps. They also conduct summer creative programs that include workshops, demos, and talks.
Materials & Supplies Near You
The best stores to buy art supplies and materials in your area are:
- Plaza Artist Materials at 1120 19th St NW
- Blick Art Materials at 1250 I St NW
- Artist & Craftsman Supply at 1201-1203, Brentwood Rd NE
- Michaels at 5252 Wisconsin Ave NW
- Inspire Supplier at 2221 S Clark St, Arlington
- Artistic Artifacts at 4750 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria
- Michaels at 3654 King St, Alexandria
Inspire Supplier carries inspired items as well as high-quality and difficult-to-find materials. Every month they will feature products for a specific type of maker or artist and they are also known for custom hot foil stamping services.
Artistic Artifacts sells new and vintage supplies for fiber and mixed media artists. They also provide art lessons and workshops near you.
Shows & Events
There are some great local art shows, festivals, and events here like:
- Smithsonian Craft Show in April
- Washington Arts Festival in August
- The Sunday Concerts from September to May
- Alexandria Festival of the Arts in September
- Arlington Labor Day Festival of the Arts in September
- Downtown Holiday Market in November
The Smithsonian Craft Show is held at the National Building Museum every April. Over 120 major contemporary artists and remarkable inventors are featured in the show and whether you’re an art collector or just curious you’ll find artworks at all price points here.
The Washington Arts Festival is held at Washington Park each August. The show contains live music, children’s activities, live artist demonstrations, caricatures, cuisine, wine, and beer tasting, and more.
The Sunday Concerts series at The Phillips Collection is one of Washington DC’s longest-running music series. Concerts are held on Sundays from September through May in the oak-paneled Music Room, which is located within the original Phillips house.
The Alexandria Festival of the Arts is held in Old Town Alexandria and this outdoor art event spans six blocks of King Street and features sculptures, paintings, photography, glass, jewelry, and other works. It is free to attend and takes place every September for two days.
Also in September the Arlington Labor Day Weekend Festival of the Arts is held on North Highland Street, beginning at the corner of North Highland and Washington Boulevard. You will have the opportunity to discover original handmade-in-the-USA pieces of art in every medium.
The Downtown Holiday Market takes place on the F Street sidewalk in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery once a year, from late November to mid-December. Fine art, crafts, jewelry, ceramics, photography, clothes, prepared food, and other items will be featured during the event.
Art Dealers & Appraisers
You can buy new works or find out how much a piece is worth at these art dealers and appraisers near you:
- Calloway Fine Art & Consulting at 1643 Wisconsin Ave NW
- International Visions Gallery & Consulting at 2629A Connecticut Ave NW
- Zenith Gallery at 1111 Pennsylvania Ave NW
- Aaron Gallery at 210 L St NW Ste 440
- De Andino Fine Arts at 2450 Virginia Ave NW
- Simone Agoussoye Art at 3409 Wilson Blvd, Arlington
Calloway Fine Art & Consulting specializes on contemporary art from the local, regional, and international scene. Furthermore the gallery offers comprehensive consulting services including on-site visits to both residential and commercial clientele. They also offer framing services.
International Visions Gallery & Consulting provides a variety of things including collection management, curatorial services, public art commissions, and can assist with the sale of collections.
Zenith Gallery provides full-service art consulting to corporate and residential clients to ensure that your acquisition, placement, and management requirements are met successfully. They also assist clients with appraisals, insurance, and documentation.
De Andino Fine Arts provides advice on the formation and distribution of individual pieces of art as well as entire collections. They also offer appraisal services, purchasing and selling services through public auctions and private venues, as well as consulting services for museum donations and loans. They also provide a full installation service as well as assistance with the conservation and restoration of works of art.
The Pakan Penn Fine Art Gallery is another place that sells art near you.
This city is known for great walking tours:
- Street Art Museum Tours at 401 Constitution Ave NE
- Art Smart Tours at 1200 Pensylvania Ave NW #7873
- Babylon Tours DC at 600 Independence Ave SW
- First Friday Dupont at 9 Dupont Cir NW
- Rosslyn Public Art at 1800 N Lynn St, Arlington
Street Art Museum Tours provides group art exhibit experiences, private walking tours, private museum tours, and other cultural adventures. Their organization provide many possibilities to visit historical sites such as the Street Art, Library of Congress, and National Gallery of Art.
Art Smart is a leading provider of gallery tours and guided museum tours including the National Gallery of Art. All of their tours are private, not public. Join the Rosslyn Public Art Walking Tour in Arlington County to learn about the famous public art collection of Rosslyn.
During the 90-minute tours the participants will discover Rosslyn’s public works’ history, design, and function as well as an extensive network of stunning and secret public areas. Liquid pixels, the Meridien’s overview, the Cupid’s Garden, Anna and David, the Bennett Park Art Atrium, and the Dark Star Park are some of the highlights while all tours meet at Central Place Plaza.
Sculptures & Statues
You will surely notice many of these sculptures and statues around town:
- Lincoln Memorial at The National Mall
- John Paul Jones Memorial at 17th St SW
- Statue of Albert Einstein at 2101 Constitution Ave NW
- National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden at Constitution Ave NW & 7th St NW
- General Andrew Jackson Statue at 16th St Nw
- Daguerre Memorial at 600 7th St NW
- Anna & David Sculpture at 1525 Wilson Blvd, Arlington
- Cupid’s Garden Sculpture at Wilson Blvd, Arlington
- Edmonson Sisters Sculpture at 1701 Duke St, Alexandria
To be honest there are far too many incredible statues and sculptures in your area for us to even come close to covering them all in this guide, but we will do our best. The Lincoln Memorial at The National Mall is one of the most iconic statues in the country if not the world. The John Paul Jones Memorial is located at West Potomac Park and Charles H Niehaus sculpted the monument which was dedicated on April 17, 1912. The memorial can be seen near the National Mall.
Robert Berks sculpted the Albert Einstein statue in 1978. It was unveiled at the Academy’s annual meeting on April 22, 1979, in an elm and holly grove in the southwest corner of the National Academy of Sciences grounds.
The Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art is situated on the National Mall between the West Building of the National Gallery of Art and the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution. As you go across this 6 acre area you will come across 21 modern and contemporary sculptures.
The Daguerre Memorial was sculpted by American sculptor Jonathon Scott Harley. The monument was rededicated in 1989 after being relocated to its current place outside the National Portrait Gallery.
Miriam Schapiro sculpted the Anna and David Sculpture which was placed in 1987 and currently beautifies the entrance of this Rosslyn office building. You also don’t want to forget about the great sculpture garden near you at The Hirshhorn Museum either.
Washington DC Art Classes
Sometimes a lesson or two can take your game to the next level and some of the best Washington DC art schools and classes can be found at:
- Corcoran School of the Arts & Design at 500 17th St NW
- Washington Studio School at 2129 S St NW
- Capitol Hill Arts Workshop at 545 7th St SE
- Anna Banana Arts and Crafts at 3270 S St NW
- Art Studio Blue Giraffe at 4545 42nd St NW #104
- Lee Arts Center at 5722 Lee Hwy, Arlington
- Art League School at 105 N Union St, Alexandria
- Alexandria Clay Co-Op at 2389 S Dove St, Alexandria
Corcoran School of the Arts & Design is the professional art school of George Washington University. The Corcoran offers 22 degrees ranging from studio disciplines such as photography and fine art to performative professions such as dance and drama to scholarly activities such as museum studies and art history.
Washington Studio School offers art classes, workshops, and free public programs for people of all ages and ability levels. Summer high-school teen intensive programs and weekly drop-in classes are also available.
Art classes for all ages and skill levels can be taken at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop who also offers private lessons, art camps, and night classes every Friday. Anna Banana Arts and Crafts offers art lessons and camps for children ages 2 to 8 as well as a limited number of adult classes.
Blue Giraffe Art Studio provides lessons for children aged 3 and up. They also have evening programs and a short-day camp for no-school days.
The Art League School is a non-accredited, open-to-all institution that educates about 7,000 students annually. Courses are offered quarterly in practically all of the fine arts and a wide range of crafts, taught by some of the country’s most accomplished and well-known artists and instructors. Courses are available for all ability levels for children aged five and up.
Alexandria Clay Co-Op offers pottery classes for kids aged 15 and up, or students aged 12 and up if accompanied by a parent. Arlington Arts Center, Torpedo Factory Art Center and Del Ray Artisans Gallery from our initial best galleries in your area list also has classes as does Artistic Artifacts from the local supply stores list.
Studios For Rent Near You
Take your next project more seriously by renting art studio space at:
- Stablearts at 336 Randolph Pl NE
- DC Arts Studios at 6925 Willow St NW
- Brookland Artspace Lofts at 3305 8th St NE
Arlington Arts Center, Gallery Underground, and Torpedo Factory Art Center also have art studio space for rent in your area.
Some of the best places for art framing in Washington DC are:
- Picasso Gallery Custom Framing at 1709 17th St NW
- Picture Frame Factory at 2300 18th St NW
- Frame of Mine at 545 8th St SE
- Allen Custom Frame at 5028 Wisconsin Ave NW
- Framebridge at 1919 14th St NW
- Italo Frame at 3110 10th St N, Arlington
- Art & Framing Club at 2811 Columbia Pike, Arlington
- KH Art & Framing at 4745 Lee Hwy, Arlington
- TR Framing at 694 N Saint Asaph St, Alexandria
- Museum Framing at 109 S Fairfax St, Alexandria
Picasso Gallery Custom Framing is happy to give a free in-home framing consultation. They stock thousands of moulding samples ranging from modern to classic, simple to distressed, and avant-garde.
Picture Frame Factory also provides free consultations and specializes in shadowboxing, canvas stretching, and oversize mounting. Allen Custom Frame has over 5,000 mouldings to choose from and can provide in-home consultations and installation in addition to print and painting restorations.
Italo Frame provides free consulting and estimates on all projects while also offering one-day and rush services. TR Framing has over 4,000 frame samples and carries Larson-Juhl and Roma mouldings plus they can do photo restorations.
Calloway Fine Art & Consulting from art dealer list also does framing. You might also want to read our posts on:
- Museums, Supply Stores, & Art School in Baltimore
- Museums, Supply Stores, & Art School in Philadelphia
- Museums, Supply Stores, & Art School in Richmond
- Museums, Supply Stores, & Art School in New York City
Have Fun Enjoying The Washington DC Art Scene
Well guys, we tried to cover the full art scene near you to the best of our abilities. We listed the best local galleries, museums, events, shows, supply stores, dealers, appraisers, walking tours, sculptures, classes, studios, and framers in your area.
Anyone that is still reading probably loves art as much as we do. You can let us know about any of your own tips and tricks in the comments at the end of the post, or please also let us know if we got anything wrong or if anything we posted is now out of date.
Have fun going to the galleries, museums, buying supplies or doing anything that has to do with art in Washington DC!