Opening image for the 2023 Washington City Paper Spring Arts Guide, featuring Dee Dwyer and a still from the film The Hunter

D.C. Arts Refresh and Renew: Let’s Rediscover Our Local Arts Scene (and Coverage)

I was on a panel the other day at which an audience member bemoaned the lack of local arts coverage in the District. I didn’t fix my face or bite my tongue: “If only D.C. had hyperlocal news outlets to cover such things,” I interrupted sarcastically. 

I meant what I said. Some outlets with Washington in their name have taken a decidedly national turn—and that’s OK, because Washington City Paper is still here (and we’re not alone). I say this as a means to introduce our 2023 Spring Arts Guide, which is, indeed, filled to the metaphorical brim with local arts coverage. Not just with previews of events rolling through town at the Kennedy Center and the Anthem, but actual local arts events put on for and by actual locals. It’s the definition of local arts coverage, if I do say so myself. 

Since January, when spring seemed so far away it felt cruel to issue assignments, I’ve been thinking about what and who to spotlight in our biannual roundup of artsy events in the DMV. Between the winter doldrums and a flickering hope that the worst of COVID is behind us, I wanted to focus on the idea of New and Renew. 

With the help of nearly 30 writers, we spitballed on that loose theme and hunted down everything from big-name events—such the National, New Edition, and MUNA—to the local dance collective chitra.MOVES’ two-day TEMPLE performance and Dee Dwyer’s captivating photo exhibit of Anacostia. We have comedy superstars, such as Margaret Cho, coming to town, but also easy-to-overlook improv nights led by some truly hilarious locals. Like me, you might even learn what a “Harold Night” is. As happens, some events such as May 6’s inaugural Tamarindo Festival at RFK Stadium and Shakespeare Theatre Company’s May production of Here There Are Blueberries were announced after coverage was assigned. But in the end I’m awed by this package. It’s a reminder for even the most cynical and sarcastic of how truly talented and creative D.C. is—from its arts events to its arts writers. Don’t sleep on them.  

In this day and age it’s almost a cliche to equate spring with rebirth and renewal. But then, some things are cliches for a reason. As the city unfurls from winter, without a COVID spike in sight (knocks on wood aggressively), now is a good time to reacquaint yourself with the very best side of the city we call home. 

So do me, and those 28 other writers, a favor: Share this guide with your friends, your family, your coworkers—remind them that there is local coverage and local artists and smaller venues who are doing big and little things that continue to make D.C. more than politics, but a hub for arts and culture. —Sarah Marloff

Table of Contents




Dance and Performance


Museums and Galleries

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