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Live Vibrantly - December 4, 2019

Seven Enticing Washington, D.C. Exhibits and Events to Visit This Winter

by Kristine Jepsen

The arts community of Washington, D.C. keeps a busy calendar year-round, even in winter. Fortunately, most of the exhibits are held indoors, so grab a friend and head into the city for a little fun. These cultural events are a great excuse to spend time with loved ones. They can also benefit your health by providing you time to be active and enjoy social interactions. To help you fill your schedule this winter, we have listed seven noteworthy exhibits, shows and cultural activities that you are sure to enjoy!

1. Live Dangerously | National Museum of Women in the Arts | Through January 20, 2020

As part of the Live Dangerously exhibit of photographs depicting women “claiming their natural environments,” the museum will hold a free Gallery Talk on December 11, 2019. The exhibition has been called “fierce, dreamy and witty” and includes work by 12 women artists, including a series of large-scale photographs drawn from worldwide travels by Brooklyn-based artist Janaina Tschäpe.

2. Feel the Sun in Your Mouth: Recent Acquisitions | Hirshhorn National Museum of Modern Art | Through February 23, 2020

If you’re looking for an exhibit that pairs newer and older works, Feel the Sun in Your Mouth showcases 25 new pieces along with anchor acquisitions from the 1960s and 1970s. Among them is John Giorno’s interactive Dial-a-Poem, which allows visitors to hear famous creators via a rotary phone. The purpose of the overall material is to “identify art that is opening new avenues of exploration.” The exhibition also includes contemporary paintings, modern Japanese photography and a large-scale installation exploring the Berlin Wall’s legacy.

3. Inventors of the Alphabets | Museum of the Bible | November 14, 2019–May 14, 2020

On load from the Vatican Library, this exhibit makes its U.S. debut. It showcases contemporary woodblock-print interpretations of famous 16th-century Sistine Hall frescoes. Access to the Inventors exhibit is included in the price of regular museum admission

4. America’s First Veterans | Anderson House | November 8, 2019–April 5, 2020

Thousands of enlisted soldiers returned home from the Revolutionary War to little money, economic upheaval and a nation in debt. America’s First Veterans tells the story of their return to civilian life through paintings, artifacts and documents

5. A Thousand Splendid Suns | Arena Stage | January 17–March 1, 2020

If you’re a fan of The Kite Runner author, Khaled Hosseini, be sure to see this stage adaptation of the story of two women in Kabul, Afghanistan, who become allies in the face of oppression. A Thousand Splendid Suns has been deemed “gorgeously captivating” ( and “emotionally stirring” (Los Angeles Times) and shows in Kreeger Theater daily

6. Picturing the American Buffalo: George Catlin and Modern Native American Artists | Smithsonian American Art Museum | Through April 12, 2020

Painter and author George Catlin traveled beyond the Mississippi River on five expeditions in the 1830s, documenting Plains tribal culture and the great bison herds of the period. Picturing the American Buffalo combines 45 works from the museum’s permanent collection, layering Catlin’s historic perspective with that of modern Native American artists

7. ZooLights 10th Anniversary | National Zoo | November 29, 2019–January 1, 2020, 5–9 p.m. (Closed 12/24, 12/25, and 12/31)

Did you know that the Smithsonian’s annual ZooLights show has more than 500,000 LED bulbs? The annual free holiday display also features two laser light shows. Other highlights include live music and snacks like warm mulled wine and s’mores roasted over fire pits. Also, all proceeds from concessions benefit Zoo wildlife conservation programs.

From theater and galleries to the ZooLights, get a taste of culture this winter with friends in Washington, D.C. With the countless exhibits and events going on this season, your only worry will be deciding which to attend!


Kristine Jepsen is a writer and editor for literary journals online and in print, as well as a professional business counselor, Pilates and Oula! dance instructor, grant-writer, and brand content developer. Her work with Goodwin Living At Home centers on health and wellness along the aging continuum, covering topics as diverse as dating apps and financial scams. She lives on a farm in the Midwest with her horse-loving tween daughter and many four-legged friends, large and small.


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