Royalty has come to the Nation’s Capital just in time for Independence Day. King Tut makes his first visit to the United States in 25 years with what is described as a “cinematic immersive” Smithsonian exhibition. But what’s a quarter-century in the short life and 3,300-year afterlife of the legendary child pharaoh? Beyond King Tut: An Immersive Experience celebrates the centennial anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt’s fabled Valley of the Kings.
Instead of the don’t-touch artifacts in standard museum displays of mummy paraphernalia, this National Geographic show deploys replicas and high-definition projections to take you inside Tut’s tomb. Beyond that, as the title suggests, you’ll catch glimpses of the ancient world outside – from the Great Sphinx to a sunrise ascent over the Pyramids of Giza and a two-millennium time trip to the 1922 unearthing of Tut’s resting place constructed and accessorized with his quest for immortality in mind. Timed admission tickets: nationalgeographic.org/tickets/events
Re-emerge into the here-and-now literally outside on the National Mall, and depending on the time of your visit, you can stroll through the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival on your way to the Constitution Avenue side of the Mall to take in the Independence Day Parade featuring floats, marching bands, and giant balloons. Other highlights of the D.C. Fourth include a 3 p.m. Musical Celebration at the National Cathedral and, of course, fireworks starting at 9:09 p.m. bursting across the skies over the Mall. (For the best view, fireworks cruises on the Potomac depart from Washington Harbour at 7:30.) The Capitol Fourth Concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol itself is best seen on PBS since post-Jan. 6, 2021 security makes in-person attendance problematic.
Among July 4th observances on this side of the Bay, Ocean City offers free beach entertainment all through the holiday weekend with family-friendly movies, including Sing 2 on July 1st, and games at the 27th Street beachfront or near the Carousel Hotel and fireworks on the night of July 4th. Just up the coast in Delaware, Rehoboth Beach celebrates one day early with fireworks at 9:30 on Sunday, July 3rd, preceded by a concert on the beachfront bandstand. There’s even a small chance of a President and First Lady holiday sighting.
Get ready for the next big art event in Easton by checking out galleries all over the Midshore. Although most painters who enter the Plein Air Festival starting July 15th select vistas in Talbot County, a few go further afield to neighboring counties. Here’s a gallery sampler for the month.
In Cambridge, you might be intrigued by the Hookers, Strippers & Dyers exhibit – but it’s not what you think. Artists Betty Burbage and Elissa Crouch practice the traditional folk art of rug hooking, which also involves dying and stripping fabric into colorful strands woven into whatever patterns the artists imagine. The show runs only through July 3rd at Main Street Gallery www.mainstgallery.net. Despite its name, the gallery’s location is 518 Poplar St.
Nearby on High Street, the Dorchester Center for the Arts dorchesterarts.org brings Outside In with its July exhibit of works by self-trained “outsider” artists. Among them are Mose and Annie Tolliver and Howard Finster – whose imaginative creations have appeared in Baltimore’s Visionary Art Museum and Smithsonian’s American Art Museum in D.C. Ed Krell of Hooper’s Island, who specializes in large-scale chalk artworks, demonstrates his technique in a free Second Saturday reception, 5-7 p.m. July 9th, with music by Marianne and the Misfits, also from Hooper’s Island.
In Chestertown, MassoniArt, massoniart.com which has expanded to a street-level gallery on Cross Street near the original second-story High Street space, splits its Summer Gallery Artists Exhibition on July 1st between the two locations. A few doors down on High, the Artists’ Gallery theartistsgalleryctown.com opens Shore Delights by Nancy Thomas with a First Friday reception on July 1st, introducing a month-long tag-sale show.
Get in the plein-air mood at Adkins Arboretum adkinsarboretum.org near Ridgely with botanist Anna Harding’s vibrant color-pencil Wake Up . . . We Need Everybody drawings opening July 5th at the visitor’s center gallery. Then take a forested stroll through the site-specific Re-Vision installation by Howard and Mary McCoy.
Circling back to Easton’s arts district along Harrison Street, Trippe Gallery thetrippegallery.com hosts a First Friday reception for artist David Csont, 5-8 p.m. July 1st. Next, the gallery celebrates the Plein Air Festival’s opening day with a Variations exhibit of paintings by 15 artists inspired by the same photograph taken by gallery co-founder Nanny Trippe. Among them is Nancy Tankersley, a Plein Air Easton founder. Also on Harrison, Troika Gallery troikagallery.com continues its summerlong Raoul Middleman, A Life Well Painted show and sale of works by the late Baltimore painter and one-time Plein Air Festival celebrity artist.
Meanwhile, around the corner on Goldsborough Street, Studio B Art Gallery studiobgallery.com hosts a Plein Air workshop starting July 11th at various Talbot County outdoor sites led by painter Jove Wang. A free reception toasts the opening of Masterstrokes: Visions of Jove Wang exhibit, 5-8 p.m. July 15th at the gallery.
Steve Parks is a retired New York arts writer and editor now living in Easton.