National Gallery of Art kicks off summer series ‘Concerts in the Sculpture Garden’

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Concerts in the Sculpture Garden' (Part 1)

Pour a pitcher of sangria, lay down a blanket and enjoy some summer tunes outside.

“Concerts in the Sculpture Garden” kick off Thursday at the National Gallery of Art.

“We’re really excited to bring live music back to the Sculpture Garden,” National Gallery Head of Education Damon Reaves told WOTP. “This is the first live program that we’ve hosted since the pandemic, I think since March of 2020, so we’re just really excited.”

The series is every other Thursday. Gates open at 5 p.m. and concerts start at 6 p.m.

While past years featured an all-jazz lineup for “Jazz in the Sculpture Garden,” this year’s rebranding to “Concert in the Sculpture Garden” captures a range of music genres.

“We’re branching out a little bit this time,” Reaves said. “We thought it was a good opportunity to experiment and expand our genres beyond just jazz. … So we’re really looking at a range of music, but also bringing some of the jazz favorites back in the group, too.”

The music lineup kicks off Thursday, July 29 with Bombay Rickey.

“This is a bit of world music described as global psychedelia,” Reaves said.

It continues Thursday, Aug. 12 with Baltimore Jazz Collective.

“For those fans of ‘Jazz in the Sculpture Garden,’ this will be a little more familiar,” Reaves said. “We’re really excited to have this ensemble group coming and performing.”

It continues Thursday, Aug. 26 with US Army Brass.

“This will be a really interesting space for us, having the premiere military performance group coming and sharing a wide range mix of patriotic, classical and cover music,” Reaves said.

It all wraps Thursday, Sept. 9 with Flor de Toloache.

“It’s an all-female mariachi band, so again, it’s bringing lots of different styles,” Reaves said.

The Sculpture Garden is located on the National Mall with entrances located at Constitution Avenue and 7th and 9th Streets Northwest, as well as Madison Drive Northwest.

“They’re going to be set up facing the fountain,” Reaves said. “The fountain will be turned off, but they’ll be facing that fountain space in the middle of the sculpture garden.”

You can also grab refreshments at the Pavilion Café.

“We’ll have refreshments and plenty of opportunity to not just listen to music but to hang and socialize and enjoy food and drinks with friends,” Reaves said. “Sangria is back. The known and much-loved sangria will be making an appearance this summer. That’s definitely on the menu.”

Admission is free, but tickets must be reserved in advance. The opening night concert is already at capacity, but Week 2 tickets go on sale this Thursday at 10 a.m.

On concert days, the Sculpture Garden closes to the public at 4 p.m. Gates reopen at 5 p.m. and the concerts start at 6 p.m. The evening ends at 8:30 p.m.

Fully vaccinated visitors are not required to wear a mask. Those who are not fully vaccinated are asked to wear a mask, as well as those who would feel more comfortable doing so.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Concerts in the Sculpture Garden' (Part 2)
Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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