The Washington Performing Arts Society (WPAS) was formed in 1965 by Patrick Hayes, a former manager of the National Symphony Orchestra, and was one of the nation’s first independent, non-profit professional performing arts organizations. It was a daring venture, with a mission to bring the world’s premiere performers to venues throughout Washington, promote arts education in local schools, and create new opportunities for artistic development and expression.
Throughout its main season, WPAS produces a number of series focused on particular styles of music (including, but not limited to: classical, jazz, world and American roots music) as well as dance. The Society also sponsors outreach programs in the arts aimed at local schoolchildren and their families, in a time when the arts are among the first casualties of public school budget cuts.
A good deal of WPAS’s efforts go to growing new audiences for the performing arts and bringing under-recognized artists to public attention. For example, a Gospel Concert Series begun in the 1998-99 season brought new appreciation for a musical genre that was mostly confined to community and church gatherings. Prominent artists promoted by WPAS in the early stages of their careers include Luciano Pavarotti, the Kronos Quartet, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
Washington Performing Arts Society (WPAS) Information
- Performances/Programs: WPAS presents more than 60 performances each year on the following subscription series: Great Orchestras, Stars, Hayes Piano, Kreeger String, Celebrity, Jazz, Dance All Over, On the Edge, World Music and Movement, and American Roots. These performances are held at numerous D.C. area venues, including the Kennedy Center, Strathmore, and Warner Theatre
- Ticket Prices: Vary based on program. Join the Email Club for special offers
- Group Discounts: Discounts for groups of 15 or more
- Subscriptions: The create your own series (five or more) or create a mini-series (three or four) are among the most popular subscriptions at WPAS. Benefits include free ticket exchanges and priority seating
- Membership: WPAS membership starts at $50. Member benefits include members-only pre-sales, three members-only concert previews, no handling charges on ticket orders placed through WPAS ticket services, a 15% discount on select performances, and discounts at the Strathmore Café, Olsson’s Books and Records, Music Box Center, M Street Bar and Grill, Hela Spa, Mar de Plata, and Artmosphere Digital Café.