Things to Do DC

Rubell Museum Opens Inside Storied DC School Building

Residents of the District and U.S. veterans can visit for free

NBC Universal, Inc.

A new contemporary art museum opened in Washington, D.C. Saturday, housed inside a former school that Marvin Gaye attended.

The Rubell Museum, at 65 I (eye) Street SW, boasts thousands of pieces from paintings to acrylics to photographs to sculptures and even a covered wagon.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser joined the ribbon cutting at the new site.

Director Caitlin Berry says it’s the only museum in the District dedicated exclusively to showcasing contemporary art.

It features artists from D.C. and beyond, including a gallery dedicated to the unbranded work of Hank Willis, a former Duke Ellington High School student, Berry said.

The space itself is an important part of the experience. It originally housed Cardozo Elementary, then expanded to Randall Junior High School — which one of D.C.’s most legendary musicians attended.

The Rubell Museum’s inaugural exhibition is called “What’s Going On,” a reference to Gaye’s famous song.

The exhibition includes 190 works by 37 artists grappling with issues including climate change, racial parity and gender equity, Berry said.

The works are from the personal collection of the Rubell family. They want visitors to see it as a place of respite and representation, with a D.C. audience in mind.

Residents of the District and U.S. veterans can visit for free. Otherwise, it’s $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students and youth.

Contact Us