We’re the Art Beat of H Street
The Atlas Performing Arts Center is a non-profit performing arts venue in a historic theater. We’re the cultural anchor of the H Street, Northeast community in Washington, DC. The Atlas fosters and presents stellar art in film, dance, music, theater, vocal and choral work, spoken word, and beyond.
The Atlas has four performance spaces and we often host free events in our lobby. We produce Atlas Presents performances and also rent our spaces to other artist groups so they can create their own productions. We support and partner with DC arts makers – our Arts Partners – including Capital City Symphony, Mosaic Theater Company of DC, Joy of Motion Dance Center, and Step Afrika!
The Atlas also leads in its arts education initiatives through our City at Peace youth development program and the Atlas’ Stagecraft Training and Apprenticeship Program. In the winter each year, we produce our popular INTERSECTIONS Festival that hosts close to 400 artists and performing groups who entertain and engage thousands of patrons in a multi-week long celebration of the arts.
Our mission is to bring people together through the arts to expand the reach and strengthen the bonds of our community. We provide shared space in a creative environment that inspires exceptional performances, events, and initiatives that enlighten, entertain, and reflect the best of the arts and our humanity.
As the catalyst for neighborhood growth and change, the Atlas continues to play a major role in the regional creative economy and is where the arts, culture, and connection happen on H Street.
We bring people together through the arts to expand the reach and strengthen the bonds of our community. We provide shared space in a creative environment that inspires exceptional performances, events, and initiatives that enlighten, entertain, and reflect the best of the arts and our humanity.
Our Vision 2020
The Atlas Performing Arts Center stands as a cultural icon and destination within a dynamic community energized by human diversity, abundant in economic opportunity, and infused with passion for the arts.
A LONG HISTORY ON H STREET
Originally built in 1938, the Atlas was one of four movie theaters in Washington, D.C. For 30 years, the iconic movie house was a second home for film lovers throughout the H Street Corridor. From film noir to classic buddy comedies, the Atlas Theater was a host for the magic of Hollywood for all DC residents.
But in 1968, everything changed for everyone in America. Riots ensued following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Atlas, as well as thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed. For decades, the H Street Corridor was a dark and silent reminder of a once-vibrant H Street.
From 1968 to 2001, only the iconic art deco Atlas sign remained visible from the street. The building was empty for 33 years.
In 2001, Jane Lang, a philanthropist and lawyer, began discussing the renovation of the Atlas with its neighbors to determine the best possible use for the space. The group decided that the theater and several storefronts would become a community-based performing arts venue that would serve the blighted community. Spurred by Lang’s vision, the Washington, DC government adopted a plan in 2003 to rebuild the H Street, NE corridor and identified the Atlas as a cornerstone of revitalization.
The Atlas fully re-opened in 2006 as a 59,000 square-foot performing arts center with four performance spaces, dance studios, offices, back-of-house facilities and an expansive lobby with a café. The Atlas is on the National Register of Historic Places and was the proud recipient of the 2012 Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Service to the Arts.
The Atlas wants to hear from you!
Please participate in our Patron Satisfaction Survey. We thank you in advance for your time!