Known by locals and visitors for its vibrant art scene, Alexandria is home to some extraordinary art events and venues for everyone from film fanatics to craft lovers, music enthusiasts to theatre fans and everyone in between. With the fall festival season upon us, we’ve rounded up our top 11 can’t-miss fall art events throughout Alexandria. Looking for some creative inspiration, the perfect gift, a date idea or a good show? Check out our list for fun fall ideas.
1. King Street Art Festival
Image Credit: Visit Alexandria
The King Street Art Festival was named one of America’s Best Small Art Festivals by Fodor’s Travel in 2016, happening September 16 & 17, 2017. Six blocks of King Street, from Washington Street all the way to the Potomac waterfront, are transformed into an outdoor gallery filled with art including paintings, sculptures, photography, ceramics and more from over 250 artists from the U.S. and abroad. Up and down King Street during the 14th Annual festival, there will be live music and hands-on activities, including artists from the Torpedo Factory Art Center creating their artwork in Market Square on both days. Be sure to check out The Art League’s popular Ice Cream Bowl Fundraiser, featuring 1,400 handmade ceramic bowls and local artisanal ice cream, all for only $15 per bowl, and stop into the Torpedo Factory for even more art.
2. Live Music Week
Image Credit: K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria
This year, the 3rd Annual Alexandria Live Music Week is back with even more music, featuring over 50 participating venues and over 175 performances from October 6 to 14, 2017 in addition to buskers, local shop promotions and more. Presented by Alexandria Live, this city-wide event will include venues like The Birchmere: America’s Legendary Music Hall, The Light Horse, Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub, Bilbo Baggins, Torpedo Factory Art Center, Nick’s Night Club, Daniel O’Connell’s, Blackwall Hitch and many more.
3. Art on the Avenue
Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria
Every year at the Art on the Avenue in Del Ray, over 50,000 visitors stroll down Mount Vernon Avenue between Bellefonte and Hume Avenues. At the 21st Annual Art on the Avenue on October 7, 2017, visitors will be greeted by over 300 artists including jewelers, woodworkers, pottery makers, soap crafters, glass makers, unique painters, sculptors, fabric artists, musicians, and more. Food vendors will also be serving up hot dogs, BBQ, Indian, crab cakes, chocolate bananas dipped on a stick, homemade cider donuts and more treats throughout the day. Kid-friendly activities include stuffing your own scarecrow, pumpkin painting, lotus flower design and weave screen art to name a few.
4. Art on Tap
Image Credit: The Art League
The Art League’s 4th Annual Art on Tap event on November 3, 2017 is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to sample craft beers from local breweries that have been artfully paired with a work of art from an Art League instructor. Local restaurants choose a brew/artwork coupling to serve as their muse to create the perfect complementary appetizer. You can enjoy the creative combinations while drinking from a take-home Art on Tap beer tasting glass, and then vote for your favorite at the end of the event.
5. Alexandria Film Festival
Image Credit: Alexandria Film Festival Facebook Page
The 11th Annual Alexandria Film Festival is a must for filmmakers and film lovers, showcasing independent films from around the world with diverse and thought-provoking short and feature length-films and documentaries. The festival, happening from November 9-12, 2017, highlights the talents of local, national and international filmmakers and includes opportunities for audiences to ask questions and interact with filmmakers. For film fanatics who can’t wait until November, check out the special one-day event at Hoffman Movie Theater on September 16 happening for the first time ever in theaters nationwide. The film is not part of the Alexandria Film Festival but is a unique opportunity for film lovers. Fathom Events will present SpacePOP: Not Your Average Princesses! with a feature length compilation of season one and a sneak peek at season two of SpacePOP ahead of its YouTube debut. Fathom Events will also host a celebration of Bolshoi Ballet, featuring Le Corsaire on October 22, inspired by Lord Byron’s epic poem.
6. Through the 4th Wall Immersive Musical Workshops
Image Credit: Through The 4th Wall
Old Town-based theater, film and media company “Through The 4th Wall” will be workshopping the first 45 minutes of their new original immersive musical called “19,” featuring the dynamic and little-known story of Alice Paul and her fight to get women the right to vote—the 19th Amendment (ratified in 1920). The performance is inspired by “Hamilton,” with Through the 4th Wall honoring these fearless American suffragists with an inspiring story and a jazz-based soundtrack which includes some spoken word songs. The sneak-peak performances take place November 1, 2 and 3, 2017 at The Lyceum: Alexandria’s History Museum. They will include hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, the first part of the show and a Q&A with the creators after the performance.
7. Culture Shock at the Torpedo Factory’s Target Gallery
Image Credit: Torpedo Factory
The Target Gallery is the contemporary exhibition space inside the Torpedo Factory Art Center, and this fall they’ll exhibit Culture Shock, exploring pop, graffiti, and street styles in contemporary art. The exhibit addresses topical socio-political issues and pokes fun at pop culture, illustrating the influential role visual art and creative expression plays into building cultural identity. The gallery will feature the exhibit from September 9 to October 22, 2017 with an opening reception on September 14, 2017 from 6-8 p.m.
8. Driving Miss Daisy at The Little Theatre of Alexandria
Image Credit: The Little Theatre of Alexandria
The Little Theatre of Alexandria is the oldest award-winning theater in the Washington metro area and one of the few community theaters in the country with its own building. This fall, The Little Theatre of Alexandria will play “Steel Magnolias” September 9 to 30, 2017. The Pulitzer Prize-winning play begins in 1948 in the Deep South just prior to the Civil Rights movement, and shows friendships are found in even the most unlikely circumstances.
9. Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been…at MetroStage
Image Credit: MetroStage
Located in a converted lumber warehouse, MetroStage is known for its intimate theatre environment, with seats on risers wrapping around a “thrust” stage keeping the audience in close proximity to the actors. October 5 to November 5, 2017, MetroStage is performing Are you now, or have you ever been…, written and created by Carlyle Brown and directed by Thomas W. Jones II, the play focuses on a fictional account of the demons and dilemmas faced by Langston Hughes while attempting to write a poem on the eve of his appearance before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations led by Senator Joseph McCarthy. The piece is performed against the backdrop of searing blues and the ever-present poetic hues of Langston.
10. Alexandria Symphony Orchestra
Image Credit: Alexandria Symphony Orchestra Facebook Page
The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra‘s 74th season in 2017-2018 will be unlike any other, featuring four final candidates for the new Music Director, all of whom will conduct and program four pairs of concerts as their audition for the permanent position. The four candidates have been narrowed down from almost 200 candidates worldwide, meaning this fall is a unique opportunity to hear a diverse mix of some of the best music directors in the world who have conducted symphonies from Xalapa, Mexico to Lucena, Spain—from the Los Angeles Philharmonic to the Washington National Opera. The season kicks off on September 23 and 24 from Maestro Michael Rossi with a program of love and longing featuring Beethoven, Strauss and Wagner. James E. Ross will play a program that evokes images of coastal shores and green pastures on October 21 and 22, 2017 featuring Brahms, Britten and Butterworth. Be sure to check out their full calendar through the spring to catch all four candidate performances.
11. Over 50 Years at The Birchmere
Image Credit: R. Kennedy for Visit Alexandria
The Birchmere: America’s Legendary Music Hall celebrated 50 years in 2016 and keeps getting better with age. The world-famous concert venue is known for its nightly lineup of classic and up-and-coming jazz, country, folk, bluegrass and R&B artists in an intimate setting, and has hosted acts like Johnny Cash, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris and Ray Charles. If you’ve never been, celebrate their milestone and catch a show at the venue The Washington Post describes as “the best listening club in America.” Check out their calendar for artists and bands coming to Alexandria this fall, including Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on September 13, Randy Newman on September 18 & 19, Brand X Reunion Tour on September 20, Herman’s Hermits on October 3, The Psychedelic Furs on October 4, The Whispers on October 7 & 8, Buddy Guy on October 10, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn on November 7 and much more.
Header Image Credit: Visit Alexandria