Cultural Distancing Marches On

Even as Washington, D.C., and other cities begin a phased reopening, the prospects for cultural institutions to salvage their summer performances, talks and exhibitions — not to mention their fall plans — are fading.

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia, which had hoped to kick off a shortened series of performances on July 3, has now canceled the season in its entirely. As of this writing, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will be dark through Aug. 9. Given the probable need for continued social distancing, theater and dance companies are mulling whether to drop the fall component of their 2020-21 seasons; plucky opera presenter In Series has already announced that it will go all-digital.

Fall reopenings of museums — possibly with mandated face covering, occupancy limits and timed entry — are expected, but as yet unannounced. The latest information will be published in The Georgetowner’s next arts preview, part of the June 17 issue.

In the meantime, here is a handful (a screenful?) of current recommendations for cultural distancing.

Arena Stage: Molly’s Salon

Arena Stage’s free weekly series of half-hour webinars, billed as Molly’s Salons, take place on Thursdays from 7 to 7:30 p.m. On Thursday, May 28, actors from Disney’s “Newsies” will hold a “virtual reunion.” Participants will include Daniel J. Maldonado (Jack Kelly), Erin Weaver (Katherine Plumber) and Joe Montoya (Crutchie). Register at

Mosaic Theater Company: Creative Conversation

Mosaic Theater Company will host a Creative Conversation in connection with “The Niceties” on Friday, May 29, from 4 to 6 p.m. In “The Niceties” by Eleanor Burgess, an ambitious black student at an elite East Coast university debates her essay on the role of slaves in the American Revolution with her esteemed white professor. Director Angelisa Gillyard, actor Naomi Jacobson, dramaturg Shana Laski and American University’s Sybil Williams will participate on Facebook Live.

M Institute: Shop Talk Happy Hour

Operatic tenor and voice teacher James Smidt will talk about “Forbidden Fruits: Technical and Stylistic Mannerisms of ‘Golden Age’ Singers” on Saturday, May 30, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Smidt has a master’s degree in opera performance from the University of Maryland’s Maryland Opera Studio. Suggested donation is $12. Register for this M Institute for the Arts program at

DCJazzFest From Home

The DC Jazz Festival is running a free series of video performances on Saturdays at 7 p.m. on the festival’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. The featured artist on Saturday, May 30, is vocalist Rochelle Rice, who earned her master of music degree from Howard University, where she performed as part of Afro Blue. RSVP at

Chamber Dance Project: Virtual Chat

Diane Coburn Bruning, artistic director of Chamber Dance Project, will speak about “The Rise of Ballet in America” on Tuesday, June 2, from 5 to 5:30 p.m. A discussion will follow the presentation. Chamber Dance Project offers free virtual chats on Zoom every Tuesday at 5 p.m. To participate, email

National Gallery of Art: Virtual Tour

The National Gallery’s virtual tour of “Degas at the Opéra,” which had to close after less than two weeks, is a dynamic online exploration of the exhibition. Users can click on different-colored dots to read wall texts, listen to the audio tour and watch related video clips (best on a desktop or a tablet). The tour is available at

Hirshhorn Museum: Kids At Home

“Story Layers,” a Kids At Home program, centers on Mark Bradford’s “Pickett’s Charge,” eight canvases that wrap 400 feet around the Hirshhorn’s circular walls. Children and young people watch a video, learn about the work and the artist, then explore how to share personal stories and memories by creating their own multilayered paintings with paper. For details, visit



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