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 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 6/18/2013: Washington Performing Arts Society

Young musicians, vocalists, and dancers led by WPAS teaching artists perform jazz, classical, world music, and dance, as part of WPAS’s multiyear Collaborative Arts Partnership in support of arts education in DC Public Schools.

Video 5/16/2012: WPAS Young Artists Showcase

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

Video 8/7/2011: WPAS Summer Steps with Step Afrika!

Led by members of Step Afrika!, young performers showcase the traditions of stepping and other percussive dance styles.

Video 8/15/2010: WPAS Summer Steps with Step Afrika!

A showcase of up-and-coming youth talent as part of Washington Performing Arts Society's Summer Performing Arts Academy. Led by members of Step Afrika!, the young performers will explore the traditions of stepping and other percussive dance styles.

Washington Performing Arts