National Gallery’s Sculpture Garden to begin limited reopening

The National Gallery of Art’s lush Sculpture Garden on D.C.’s National Mall will reopen to the public in late June after an extended closure due to the coronavirus — albeit with some limitations.

The 6.1-acre art garden will swing open starting Saturday, June 20, on a reduced schedule, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Visitors ages 2 and up will be required to wear face coverings, and access to the park has been modified to help manage crowd sizes: People can only enter via the gates at 7th Street and Madison Drive, and can only exit at 7th Street and Constitution Avenue.

“I find great relief in being able to welcome our visitors back to the Gallery by way of our oasis-like Sculpture Garden,” art gallery Director Kaywin Feldman said in a statement.

“The weather is warm, people have been on stay-at-home orders for months, and the garden offers such delight and respite for anyone who visits.”

In addition to mask requirements, visitors are strongly encouraged to practice safe social distancing by remaining at least 6 feet away from anyone not in their group.

The garden’s Pavilion Cafe will offer prepackaged salads, sandwiches and drinks for purchase just outside its doors. It will not accept cash.

Hand sanitizer will be available near the Pavilion Cafe. Outdoor seating and bathrooms will undergo enhanced cleaning, with the restaurant’s indoor space remaining closed until a later date.

The popular Jazz in the Garden summer concert series won’t resume yet. It was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, along with all other public events in the garden through early September.

While the gallery itself is still closed, reopening will commence once D.C. moves into its second stage of reopening. The west building’s ground floor and special exhibitions on artist Edgar Degas and European open-air painting will open first, with the remaining galleries staying closed until Mayor Muriel Bowser announces Phase Three.

The East building will reopen last.

Timed entry passes will be among new visitor guidelines for indoor galleries, but the museum has yet to provide further details.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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