East Building Auditorium
4th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW,
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East Building Auditorium (Official)
The East Building Auditorium, also referred to as the Large Auditorium, seats about 500 in a semi-stadium seated configuration. It is located in the Concourse (lower level) of the East Building of the National Gallery of Art. The East Building is at 4th and Constitution Avenue on the National Mall, near Smithsonian museums. The nearest Metro subway stop is the National Archives stop.
The National Gallery of Art is one of the world’s greatest art museums, and is open free of charge. The East Building was built between 1974 and 1978. Designed by famed architect I.M. Pei, it is an architectural masterpiece of modern design. It displays modern art. An underground tunnel connects to the West Building, a building with very ornate interiors and which displays art before the modern period. Travel the tunnel to the West Building to enjoy art and architecture, and also for food cafes.
Films are shown afternoons, each weekend, starting Fridays, including 35 mm films. The program is of classics, arthouse, and often documentaries about art. There is a piano on stage to accompany silent films. A curtain is opened to reveal a large screen that appears to be thirty to forty feet wide for scope films. The ceiling is honeycombed. At the start of the film, blinds descend to cover three giant windows, otherwise open to the foyer. The auditorium hosts lectures and other programs, in addition to films.
There is no admission charge for movies. The auditorium opens thirty minutes before the film start. Policy is first come, first served. Lines sometimes form, as early as one and a half hours before the movie, and very popular films result in a full house with people being turned away. No food or drink is permitted in the auditorium. As there’s no aisles and no "reserved seating" restroom breaks are difficult.
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