Oswald Durant Center

The Oswald Durant Center is located in the Upper King Street neighborhood of Old Town and provides community programming and meeting space on demand.

Page updated on Oct 10, 2019 at 5:00 AM

About the Oswald Durant Center

Formerly a USO center, the Center was named after Dr. Oswald Durant, one of the first African American doctors in Alexandria. For many years Dr. Durant could not practice at the local hospital because of segregation. Some patients of color in need of emergency care would show up at his home in the middle of the night to be treated for their injuries.

The Oswald Durant Center is located in the Upper King Street neighborhood of Old Town and provides community programming and meeting space on demand. 


1605 Cameron St. 

Center Hours

  • Available for pre-scheduled private use on demand
  • Closed on all City holidays

Upcoming Programs

NEW! Programming options have been added at Oswald Durant Center beginning with the Fall season. Register now!

Learn more about the variety of programs being offered in your neighborhood by downloading the seasonal theNEWs in your neighborhood for Oswald Durant Center. 

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Monthly Programs

Puppet Shows 

Family puppet shows are fun for the very young and the young at heart. Performances are on select Saturdays and take place at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. All tickets are $6 per person, available online or at the door.  


  • October 19: Beech Tree Puppets perform The Giant Turnip
    An old man and his wife lovingly tend their garden and grow a vegetable so large they can’t pull it up by themselves. This whimsical folktale is sung and told with hand-crafted rod and shadow puppets. The story celebrates caring for the earth and working together.  

    Founded by Ingrid and Ole Hass in 2012, brings meaningful stories with sensory-friendly and Beech Tree Puppeteers feel that puppets can break down barriers, and provide insights and resolutions to cross cultural differences, and open people to new ideas and possibilities. Beech Tree Puppets have performed artful performances to schools, libraries and public theaters in the wider DC area. 

Silly Goose and Val3

  • November 16: Silly Goose and Val perform "All Things Fall"
    Val’s award-winning and participatory performance features 40 minutes of music, puppets, ventriloquism, dancing, singing to delight audiences of all ages. With bold voice talents and contagious dances, little ones get up, move, and laugh together.

    Ventriloquist, musician, composer, and performer Valerie Leonhart Smalkin has performed across America as well as in France and Belgium. She was one of the writers, performers, and co-producers as well as the head puppeteer of the Emmy-Award winning It's Kindertime on Baltimore’s WMAR-TV. Her three albums—A Gentle Halloween, Sing! Sing! Sing!... and Dance!, and Love Bug!—all received Parents’ Choice awards. Her book, Springtime Dance, earned gold in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards in 2014. She has earned several grants from the Maryland State Arts Council as a solo performer and actively performs and composes music for ages 2 through 10.  
  • December 21: Silly Goose and Val "Holiday Extravaganza"
    Val returns for a fast-paced, humorous musical treat celebrating snow, jingle bells, elves, Santa, reindeer and more. Enjoy a family afternoon out with music, ventriloquism, comedy, dancing, singing, and 100% audience participation. 

First Fridays

The first Friday of each month, enjoy a memorable and artful evening with the family. Grab a slice of pizza and meet the guest artists starting at 6 p.m. Performances start at 7 p.m.. Tickets are $9 per person and can be purchased online or at the door. Children under 5 are free.   

  • November 1: Dances Around the World
  • December 6: Season of Celebrations

For more information or to request reasonable disability accommodation, contact cherylanne.colton@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.5565.  

Upcycle Creative Reuse Center

Upcycle has a satellite location at the Durant Arts Center.  Visit Upcycle to learn more about their classes and camps. 


  • Fee Schedule 
  • Facility Features
    • One grand multipurpose room with stage
    • Four multiple purpose rooms
    • Kitchen
    • Gallery
    • Patio