DC Artswatch

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An opening date was announced for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American Art and Culture, which has reached its full five-story height on the National Mall: Saturday, Sept. 24. A multiday indoor-outdoor celebration will follow the ribbon-cutting by President Obama. The museum is currently making use of space on the second floor of the National Museum of American History.

Named not for a character from Dickens, but for the National Portrait Gallery volunteer who endowed the program, the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition will open March 12. Works by about 50 finalists, along with the portrait that was awarded the $25,000 grand prize, will be on view through Jan. 8. Virginia Outwin Boochever, who died in 2005, was among the first commissioned officers in the World War II women’s branch of the U.S. Naval Reserve.

There is one red entrance to Dupont Underground, the former trolley station capped by Dupont Circle. To unseal more of the access staircases by the April 30 opening of the new contemporary art space’s inaugural installation (of several hundred thousand plastic balls), a crowdfunding campaign called “Open These Doors!” has been launched. The winner of the “Re-Ball!” design competition will be announced March 21.

Ballerina Julie Kent, 46, a principal dancer with New York’s American Ballet Theatre from 1993 to 2015, was named artistic director of The Washington Ballet, effective July 1. Kent, who went to Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland, is married to ABT associate artistic director Victor Barbee, 61, who will become her colleague in Washington as associate artistic director. Completing his 17th and final season as artistic director, Septime Webre will speak at Georgetown Media Group’s April 7 Cultural Leadership Breakfast.

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