WASHINGTON, DC.- The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden's 2008-2009 ice-skating season will begin on November 15 and continue through mid-March, weather permitting. The ice rink, located on the National Mall at 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, is a popular recreational destination that has attracted thousands of visitors since it reopened as part of the Gallery's Sculpture Garden in 1999. The rink's design allows skaters to enjoy the park-like setting with views of the large-scale sculptures by renowned artists such as Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, and others, as well as the grand architecture of surrounding museums and monuments, for a truly unique Washington, DC experience.
During the opening weekend of November 15 and 16, visitors who purchase time on the ice or rent skates or a locker will receive a coupon for a free cup of hot chocolate from the Pavilion Café. To entertain the young and the young-at-heart, free crayons and placemats to color depicting Julius Caesar Ibbetson's watercolor, Skaters on the Serpentine in Hyde Park (1786), are available at the cash registers inside the Café throughout the winter season.
The skating surface, which measures approximately 135 feet long and 90 feet wide, can accommodate more than 200 skaters at one time.
A state-of-the-art music system provides uniform sound to skaters, diners, and spectators without distracting other visitors to the Sculpture Garden. At night, lights encircling the rink illuminate the ice, adding to the skating experience and contributing to the festive atmosphere. Sixteen banners on poles that surround the ice-skating rink represent a cross-section of the broad range of portraiture in the Gallery's collection in the East and West Buildings.