Workhouse Arts Center

The Workhouse Arts Center is set on 55 acres of land on the campus of what used to be the historic D.C. Workhouse and Reformatory.  Today, The Workhouse supports more than 100 professional and emerging visual artists by providing them affordable studios and galleries in which to create, and to exhibit, their work. In addition to visual arts, the Workhouse is home to the W3 Theatre performing arts program, the Lucy Burns Museum, the Military in the Arts Initiative, the Art of Movement program, and large-scale community events. The Workhouse also offers over 800 arts education classes and workshops in a broad spectrum of art disciplines.


4 Things to Do at the Workhouse Arts Center

1. Attend an Event

Workhouse Arts Center Second Saturday

Throughout the year there are numerous concerts, theatrical performances, and various other events to enjoy. In the intimate classrooms and theaters found across campus you'll be able to enjoy everything from comedy shows to jazz recitals and everything in between.  There are also seasonal performances on the campus quad for you to enjoy during the warmer months of the year.  Annual Independence Day and Spring Festivals are two of the larger special events that bring out the crowds, and you can see what's going on when you're in town by visiting their event calendar.

2. Visit With Artists in Their Studio 

Workhouse Arts Center

The Workhouse is home to over 60 studio artists working on site throughout the campus.  Visitors to art galleries usually find themselves in a very passive experience (simply viewing the art on display), but at the Workhouse you're encouraged to interact with the artists in their studios and see what their passions and inspirations are.  These welcoming artists put on over 150 independent exhibitions per year in the various buildings throughout campus, which gives you plenty of opportunities to view their works - and buy your own unique piece to take home with you!

3. Visit the Lucy Burns Museum

The Lucy Burns Museum at the Workhouse Arts Center

In 2018, the Workhouse Arts Center completed renovation of a 10,000 square foot barracks building on campus to house the Lucy Burns Museum.  By the end of 2019, the Workhouse Arts Center will complete the installation of professional history exhibits to tell the story of the 91 years of prison history and the story of the suffragists who were imprisoned here in 1917 for picketing the White House for women’s right to vote.

The Lucy Burns Museum will engage visitors in an exploration of the history of the Lorton Correctional facilities that operated for a total of 91 years from 1910-2001.  From the prison’s founding by President Theodore Roosevelt during the progressive reform era to the current site adaptive reuse project, re-purposing of the property to support an innovative and growing arts center, the museum explores a vast history including an incredible cast of characters of notorious criminals, some of the biggest jazz artists of the 21st century, and activist and suffragists.

4. Take a Class   

Workhouse Arts Center

If you want to expand your creativity, get in shape, learn to cook, or even take a stab at glass-blowing, then the Workhouse is the place for you.  Multiple classes throughout the year give you an opportunity to nurture your inner artist, and puts you in position to learn how to hand-craft the best birthday gift EVER for your significant other. To find the most up-to-date information on classes and workshops including classroom changes, time changes or date changes please check their site often.

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