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 Dec 5, 2019 at 10:31 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. 


  • 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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Upcoming Monthly Programs

First Friday: Season of Celebrations – December 6

Washington Balalaika Society Photo

Get into the spirit of the holidays by attending the First Friday: “A Season of Celebrations” from 6. to 9 p.m. at the Durant Center, 1605 Cameron St., Alexandria, VA.
Enjoy music from “Russkie Musikanti Ensemble,”  and an evening of holiday music from Russia, Ukraine and Eastern European countries on traditional instruments and in costume. Want to do some holiday shopping? Visit the Pop-up Holiday Fair with items from around the world, including: Blooms of Paradise (floral arrangements); “African Women and Youth Initiative” (African jackets, handbags and jewelry from Kenya); and Girl Scout Troop 5416 (holiday stocking stuffers). 
A “meet and greet” begins at 6 p.m.  Light refreshments will be available, compliments of the Arts Division of the Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities. Concert begins at 7 p.m.

Flute and Harp Ensemble – December 14

AYPO Flute and Harp Ensembles

The American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra’s Flute and Harp Ensemble will perform a joint concert just in time for the holidays with works adapted and originally composed for flute, clarinet and harp. Plan to attend this delightful afternoon of holiday music on Saturday, December 14 at 3 p.m.

Tickets for the Bagels and Bach, First Friday and the Flute and Harp Ensemble are $9 per person, children 5 years and under are free. Children must be accompanied by at least one adult. Tickets are available online or at the door. 

Silly Goose and Val "Holiday Extravaganza" - December 21

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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. One puppet show will be offered at 10 a.m.. All tickets are $9 per person, and available online or at the door.

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

About the Artists

Russkie Musikanti Ensemble 
The Russkie Musikanti is an ensemble of the Washington Balalaika Society, the largest Russian folk orchestra in the United States. The ensemble wears traditional Russian costumes and performs on authentic Russian folk instruments bringing the music of Russia and Eastern Europe to the broader community. The ensemble consists of balalaikas, domras, accordion, a variety of percussion instruments, and features two vocalists. The domra is a round-backed instrument similar to instruments brought to Russia by the Mongols in the 1200’s. The balalaika is a triangular shaped instrument that was originally a peasant instrument derived from the domra. The quintessential Russian folk instrument, the balalaika was perfected in the 1890’s and became the professional level instrument of today. More information about the Russkie Musikanti and the Washington Balalaika Society can be found at www.balalaika.org and on our Facebook pages. To arrange a concert, contact crstroup@gmail.com.

American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra
The American Youth Philharmonic is a musical training ground for the most accomplished young musicians in the area, many of whom go on to have successful music careers. The Orchestra performs a series of demanding orchestral literature spanning from Classical to contemporary and commissioned works. Typically includes students grades 9th-12th, averaging grade 11. The Flute Ensemble, under the direction of Laura Kaufman Mowry, repertoire includes arrangements for flute ensemble as well as original works.  The Harp Ensemble, under the expert direction of Elizabeth Blakeslee, repertoire will include arrangements for harp ensemble as well as original works. 

Silly Goose and Val
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.  

Upcycle Creative Reuse Center

Upcycle's satellite location is located at the Oswald Durant 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