The Kennedy Center

Washington Performing Arts


For more than four decades, Washington Performing Arts has created profound opportunities for connecting the community to artists, in both education and performance. Through live events in venues that span the landscape of the D.C. metropolitan area, the careers of emerging artists are guided, and established artists who have a close relationship with local audiences are invited to return. In this way, the space between artists and audiences is eliminated, so that all may share life-long opportunities to deepen their cultural knowledge, enrich their lives, and expand their understanding and compassion for the world through the universal language of the arts.

Washington Performing Arts is one of the leading presenters in the nation. The organization’s inherent belief in the complete spectrum of the arts is revealed in performances of the highest quality, including classical music, jazz, gospel, contemporary dance, international music and art forms, and works that bend genres in provocative ways. The commissioning of world premieres on local stages to support artists’ creativity is critical to the mission of Washington Performing Arts. Dynamic education programs in the schools and beyond are a hallmark of the institution. Set in the nation’s capital and reflecting a population that hails from around the globe, these abundant offerings both ground us in the great heritages of the world, and allow our imaginations to fly, evoking fresh perspectives on life. 

Washington Performing Arts was honored by President Barack Obama with a 2012 National Medal of Arts for bringing world-class performances to our nation’s capital, becoming only the fourth D.C.-based arts group and the first arts presenter of its kind to be so honored. Washington Performing Arts also received the 2012 Mayor's Arts Award for Excellence in Service to the Arts.

Watch Past Performances

Video 11/26/2018: VeVe & tha Rebels

VeVe & tha Rebels performs original Afro-folk songs that tell a story of discovery and Black identity through purpose-driven music making. The band is a 2018–2019 Washington Performing Arts Mars Urban Arts Initiative Ensemble-in-Residence.

Video 2/27/2018: Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choir

Join the men, women, and children of the Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choir and travel on a musical journey through the power and beauty of gospel music, featuring music by various African American composers. 

Video 8/21/2017: New Frontiers: Back to School Youth Rally

In observance of the Great American Eclipse, our nation’s first full solar eclipse in decades, the New Frontiers: Back to School Youth Rally will feature ‘stellar” youth performances by StepAfrika, Split this Rock, Washington Performing Arts’ Children of the Gospel, and The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, accompanied by the NEWorks House Band.

Make the Kennedy Center your solar eclipse destination! Come early to experience the eclipse at the Kennedy Center, and then join us for free interactive space and eclipse themed workshops led by Boys and Girls Club from 4-5:30 pm in the Grand Foyer and on the River Terrace.

Presented in collaboration with NEWorks Productions and the Mann Center for the Performing Arts (Philadelphia, PA)

Video 3/13/2017: Washington Performing Arts

Washington Performing Arts showcases an array of performances by students and teaching artists from the Capital Arts Partnership (CAP) program, an award-winning, performance-based music education program in the DC Public Schools (DCPS). The four CAP programs—Capital Jazz, Capital Strings, Capital Dance, and Capital Voices—foster vital reading, writing, listening, improvisation, and performance skills through hands¬on instruction, residencies with diverse Teaching Artists, and on-stage performances in venues across DC.

Video 12/18/2016: Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choirs

Sing in the Holidays! with a program of favorites.

Video 8/12/2016: Washington Performing Arts Summer Steps w/ Step Afrika! Showcase

A showcase of up-and-coming youth talent as part of Washington Performing Arts’ Summer Performing Arts Academy.

Video 3/1/2015: DJ Lightbolt and Adriel Luis

Inspired by Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble’s musical explorations, Lightbolt and poet/curator/visual artist Luis create a live, border-crossing, sonic journey using cutting-edge, projected digital audio apps and state-of-the-art DJ gear by creating The Slick Road Mix, a taste of the cosmopolitan synthesis that technology is increasingly empowering in the early 21st century. Presented in collaboration with the Washington Performing Arts Mars Urban Arts Initiative.

Video 5/16/2012: WPAS Young Artists Showcase

This program highlights young student musicians and dancers in performances with professional artists

Washington Performing Arts