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From Gallery to Stage to Screen — Experience Arts and Culture in Washington, DC

When you make plans to visit Washington, DC this summer, schedule some time to immerse yourself in the city’s rich cultural scene. See fine art and photography in treasured galleries. Take in a musical at one of the city’s numerous performing arts venues. Participate in one of America’s favorite pastimes with a movie on the big screen. And enjoy live entertainment on a city stage with a summer show, often offered outdoors. See our five recommendations below to kick-start your cultural adventure.

The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, part of the Smithsonian Institution, represent the national museum of Asian art for the United States. The current exhibition “Filthy Lucre” at the Sackler Gallery involves interplay between two works of art. The immersive installation by painter Darren Waterston is a reimagination of James McNeill Whistler’s “Peacock Room.” It’s described by the gallery as a representation of a “decadent ruin collapsing under the weight of its own creative excess.”

Every modern-art enthusiast should at some point make a pilgrimage to The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art. “American Moments: Photographs from The Phillips Collection” continues until September 13. The exhibition includes more than 130 photographs by 33 artists from the museum’s permanent collection. Visitors will see examples of Modernism, street photography, documentary expression, and photojournalism.

Nine-time Tony Award-winning “The Book of Mormon” is on stage at The Kennedy Center now through August 16. From the creators of “South Park,” the musical comedy follows two young Mormons on their missionary journey. The show is traditional in that it has several big song-and-dance numbers. But the modern show takes playful, and sometimes irreverent, stabs at religion, race, sexuality, and poverty.

Slip back in time at the 19th-annual Comcast Outdoor Film Festival. The festival takes place about 20 miles north of Washington, DC in Rockville, Maryland. The three-night event, August 21-23, brings the drive-in theater back into style. Each night offers a different family-friendly, award-winning film — “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” “Interstellar,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The movies start at dusk, but arrive early for music, games, and food trucks.

On August 6 and 7, Kevin Hart brings his “What Now?” tour to the Verizon Center stage. Washington, DC, is one stop on the 45-city comedy tour. The superstar entertainer, actor, and comedian is known for his hit TV shows, blockbuster movies, and hosting duties on the MTV Video Music Awards. He only gets funnier in person.

With hit plays, one-of-a-kind exhibits, and star appearances, Washington, DC, is ready to wow you this summer. Start planning your arts-and-culture adventure here.