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Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Opera, Performing Arts, Performing Arts Centers

Mission: The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts presents and creates excellent and innovative performing arts programs for the enrichment, education, and enjoyment of diverse audiences and participants.

Programs: The filene center at wolf trap is the only national park dedicated to presenting the performing arts. From late may to early september more than 366,000 patrons at 70 performances were in attendance at shows that included musical theater, symphony & film, dance, opera, pop, rock and more with an average ticket price of $44. The filene center has the second largest theatrical stage in the country; seats 7,028, nearly 4,000 of which are covered with open sides and views of the tall trees and rolling hills in the park. The remainder of the seating is uncovered on a sloping lawn where patrons can bring picnics to enjoy before & during performances. The barns at wolf trap presented 82 performances from october to early may at our 382 seat indoor venue. Almost 28,000 tickets were issued to see legendary artists and exciting up-and-coming talents in a diverse array of musical genres with an average ticket price of $35. The theater was built from two restored 18th century barns and was a gift from our founder, catherine filene shouse.

each year, wolf trap education delivers high quality arts-learning experiences to more than 75,000 children and adults, locally, nationally, and internationally. At the heart of wolf trap's education outreach for more than three decades, the wolf trap institute for early learning through the arts (institute) is recognized nationally as a model for incorporating the performing arts into preschool and kindergarten curricula. The institute provides direct services to children between the ages of three months and 6 years and multiplies its impact through professional development for early childhood educators, parents, and caregivers. The institute seeks to address two primary concerns: (1) the school readiness of children who live in economically disadvantaged circumstances; and (2) access to effective professional development for teachers who work with these children. By integrating arts strategies into early childhood standards-based instruction, the institute enhances children's cognitive, physical, and social/emotional development, as well as literacy, science, technology, engineering, and math (stem) skills development. Each summer, wolf trap education serves nearly 20,000 children, parents, and other caregivers through wolf trap children's theatre-in-the-woods. Building on four decades as a beloved community institution, this program comprises seven weeks of performances with musicians, actors, and dancers at an outdoor venue situated in the woods near the filene center at wolf trap national park for the performing arts. This unique, family-friendly venue offers the perfect environment for lively adventures in music, dance, theater, and puppetry. Wolf trapeducation also manages the organization's internship program, a highly competitive program consistently ranked among the nation's best. Each year approximately 43 full- and part-time internships provide students and recent graduates with invaluable hands-on experience and connections in the administrative side of the arts. In addition to the internship program, wolf trap education oversees one year-long fellowship that is offered to a youngprofessional of color who has completed at least one year of graduate study or recently graduated with a master's in the arts or a related discipline. Wolf trap education annually acknowledges and awards the work and achievements of six outstanding performing arts teachers from school districts in the dc/md/va metro area through grants for high school performing arts teachers. At the center for education at wolf trap and on the filene center stage, wolf trap education offers field trip performances, classes, and master classes serving all ages that encourage lifelong learning through thearts.

the wolf trap opera company, created in 1971, is a highly regarded residence program for opera singers in transitions: our primary tier of filene young artists are established singers on the verge of professional careers; studio artists are talented student singers considering a career in the field. The company offers an opportunity for our nation's most talented young performers to experience the demands of a professional career in the performing arts. The company presents highly acclaimed performances at both the filene center and the barns. In 2014, the company selected 17 filene young artists (representing eight states and five foreign countries) who then performed in 10 barns performances (2 different operas and 1 recital) and 1 filene center staged concert opera with the national symphony orchestra. The 15 studio artists performed small roles and in the chorus of wtoc productions. Alumni of the company have gone on to careers performing with some of the leading opera companies in the world.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Wolf Trap is by far one of the best venues (both large and small-they have 2!) around. I've never had a bad experience and they make a conscious effort to make sure of that. Even during sold-out shows, it's not too crowded, you can bring your own food/drink, parking is free, and ticket prices, even for the best seats, are cheaper than simple lawn tickets at some other venues. The Barns (their indoor venue) is great too. It's small (about 350 seats) and has amazing acoustics, which is great for the kind of acts they bring there (local bands, folk music, classical, etc.). Go Wolf Trap!


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I love the fact that this organization keeps the performing arts affordable. Ticket prices are very reasonable AND you can bring in your own food and beverages for a picnic during the summer performances at the Filene Center. Knowing that the cost of tickets goes to support the Foundations's excellent education programs for our community's most at-risk kids is gratifying.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Many people know about the great performances that The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts offers during the summer season where families can bring picnics to the lawn and watch artists on the Filene Center Stage. I've recently joined Wolf Trap as an employee and hope that people will take time to learn about the many other great programs and services that the organization provides, including an internationally-acclaimed early childhood arts education institute, a Grammy-nominate opera company, an internahip program that has been ranked one of the best places to intern by BusinessWeek and year-long performances in The Barns in an intimate setting.