April and May 2022 Events at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery

By Editorial Team on March 28, 2022
Credit: The Four Justices” by Nelson Shanks, oil on canvas, 2012. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Ian M. and Annette P. Cumming. © Estate of Nelson Shanks
REMIX: What’s Your Sign?
Tuesday, April 19, 6–8:30 p.m.
Kogod Courtyard
The past two years have proven that life is unpredictable, so let’s look to the stars in this evening of art, music and astrology! Grab a specialty cocktail, play horoscope games and create astrological art while DJ Farrah Flosscett conjures Venus. Which actor, president or star athlete shares your sign? Bring your friends and chart a course for your future, or just learn about astrologers, horoscopes and true believers.
Strike a Prose: Time, Memory & History
Friday, May 6 10 a.m.12 p.m.
G Street Lobby
In this creative writing workshop, we will gain inspiration from “Hung Liu: Portraits of Promised Lands” to develop stories that explore the themes of time, memory and history. Participants may write nonfiction, fiction or poetry in response to the guided writing prompts. Open to writers of all levels, ages 18+. Fee: $12. Registration required.
Young Portrait Explorers: The Four Justices
Wednesdays, May 11, 11–11:30 a.m. & 3–3:30 p.m.
Education Center
Join us at the museum as we discuss the four pioneering women Supreme Court justices portrayed in Nelson Shank’s 2012 painting “The Four Justices.” This program for children up to age five and their adult companions touches on art and history through storytelling. Parents and guardians must remain with their children. Masks and proof of vaccination required for participants over the age of five. Class size is limited. Free—Registration required.
El Muro by Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company
May 17, 18 & 19, 6:30 p.m.
Kogod Courtyard
The newest work by the Portrait Gallery’s choreographer-in-residence, Dana Tai Soon Burgess, is entitled “El Muro” (The Wall in Spanish). “El Muro” explores the universal themes of acceptance and the quest for a place to call home. This 30-minute modern dance performance featuring ten members from the acclaimed D.C.-based company will be accompanied by live music from Martin Zarzar, formerly of Pink Martini. Free—Registration required.

Virtual Programs

For more information on the Portrait Gallery’s ongoing and past remote programs, explore the “Visit at Home” page of the museum’s website at npg.si.edu.

Virtual Writing Hour
Select Tuesdays, 5 p.m.
Online via Zoom
  • April 5 & 26
  • May 10 & 24
Join us for a virtual creative writing hour at the National Portrait Gallery. We’ve set up an online space where writers can create, connect and draw inspiration from the Portrait Gallery’s collection. Grab a happy hour beverage and write with us. Try out one of our writing prompts or bring your own in-progress writing project. We will write for about 30 minutes and end each session with a brief discussion or reading. Free—Registration required.
Select Wednesdays, 11 a.m.
YouTube @smithsoniannpg.
  • March 30 – Martha Graham
  • April 13 – Hung Liu
  • May 11 – The Outwin 2022
  • May 25 – The Outwin 2022
Explore the Portrait Gallery from a distance as a museum educator guides you through our museum. During this program for ages 3 and up, we’ll look at portraits of people who changed history and hear their inspiring stories.
Drawn to Figures
Select Thursdays, 11 a.m.
Online via Zoom
  • April 7 & 21
  • May 12 & 26
Discover your inner artist in this online workshop on sketching the human body. Artist Jill Galloway will highlight the techniques and challenges of figure drawing while providing guided instruction and helpful tips. Open to all skill levels, ages 13 and up. Free—Registration required.
Young Portrait Explorers
Wednesdays, 11–11:30 a.m. & 3–3:00 p.m.
Online via Zoom
  • April 6: Duke Ellington
  • April 20: Esperanza Spalding
  • May 4: Liliuokalani
  • May 18: Yo-Yo Ma
Join our virtual workshop for children ages 3­–6 and their adult companions as we learn about art, history and more! Explore the Portrait Gallery’s collection with educators in a 30-minute activity that incorporates close looking at portraiture, movement and artmaking. Free—Registration required.
In Dialogue: Museum Objects and Social Justice 
Tuesday, April 12, 5 p.m.
Online via Zoom
Join the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of American History in a discussion about representation, art and undocumented immigrants. How do museums highlight the images and stories of people who are forced to hide? We will examine Barbara Carrasco’s Pop Art print of lawyer, activist and community leader Antonia Hernández as well as a monarch butterfly poster created by activists in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Free—Registration required.
Wind Down Wednesday: Orchidaceous
Wednesday, April 20, 5 p.m.
Instagram Live @smithsonianNPG
It’s all about flower power! April is National Orchid Month and the Orchidaceae family is in bloom and on view in the Smithsonian Gardens’ exhibition “Orchids: Hidden Stories of Groundbreaking Women” in our very own Kogod Courtyard. Discover the idiosyncrasies and benefits of having orchids in your home, learn about Georgia O’Keeffe’s obsession with depicting orchids and open your olfactory senses to experience a demonstration of a fragrant botanical drink.
Painting Nostalgia: Jewish Portraits at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  
Tuesday, May 17 at 5 p.m.
Online via Zoom
Closed captioning provided.
There are three compelling portraits of Jewish sitters in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Despite their differing artists and contexts, “The Talmudist” by Jacob Binder, “Hannah” by Isidor Kaufmann and “Jewish Man Reading” by Edouard Brandon share an often-neglected common trait: All three paintings were made by Jewish artists who had found success in the wider, secular society through other subjects and genres. What drew these cosmopolitan, secular artists to deeply traditional Jewish sitters and scenes? How did depictions of Jewish life fit into their broader production? What do these works tell us about the journey of Jewish artists working in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? This presentation will explore these questions by tracing the stories of these portraits and the artists who created them.
Presented by Simona Di Nepi, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Curator of Judaica, Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Kate Clarke Lemay, interim director of PORTAL and acting senior historian at the National Portrait Gallery, will moderate the Q & A.
The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the recent passing of Daniel B. Greenberg, whose generosity and that of his wife, Susan, makes the Greenberg Steinhauser Forum in American Portraiture possible. The program is hosted by PORTAL, the Portrait Gallery’s Scholarly Center.  Free—Registration required.
Art AfterWords: A Book Discussion
Tuesday, May 17, 5:307 p.m.
Online via Zoom
The National Portrait Gallery, the 1882 Foundation and the DC Public Library invite you to an encore virtual conversation about displacement and the power of amplifying overlooked stories. Join us as we analyze a portrait from the exhibition “Hung Liu: Portraits of Promised Lands,” and discuss the related book “The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts” by Maxine Hong Kingston. Participants are encouraged to learn more about the exhibition before the event. DCPL cardholders can access “The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts” here.

Virtual Docent Tours

Group Tours
By reservation
Online via Zoom

The National Portrait Gallery offers docent-led group tours online for adults interested in exploring the museum remotely. The following tours will be available by registration: America’s Presidents, Highlights of the National Portrait Gallery, Docent’s Choice and Special Exhibitions. Reservations must be made three weeks in advance of the desired tour date. To receive a tour request form, e-mail NPGAdultTours@si.edu or click here. All tours are subject to availability; last-minute cancellations may occur.