May 2020 at Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery

By Editorial Team on May 3, 2021
Courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Virtual May Day Family Celebration
Saturday, May 1, 10 a.m. ET

Celebrate spring and learn more about art and environmental conservation with our virtual May Day family program. Explore how the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s team of art conservators preserve and protect works of art in a sustainable way. Then join the musical group Bash the Trash and get tips on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle and make your own upcycled musical instruments with step-by-step instructions, tips, and tricks. This interactive family workshop will conclude with a music and dance party where you can rock out using your newly crafted instruments. More information and a supply list will follow registration. This program is designed for children ages three to eight years old and their caretakers.

The program is part of a yearlong series cohosted by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art.

Register now; one registration per family. A Zoom link and a list of suggested materials will be sent to registered participants 24–48 hours in advance of the workshop.

Location: Online
Tickets: Free | Registration Required via Eventbrite
Event Link:

See Me Online at SAAM
Wednesday, May 5, 2 p.m. ET

Join the Smithsonian American Art Museum for a virtual program designed for art lovers with mild to moderate dementia and their care partners. Enjoy an opportunity to discuss and engage with artworks from SAAM’s collection.

Space is limited, and registration is required; email or call 202.633.2921 to register.

Location: Online
Tickets: Free | Registration Required email or call 202.633.2921 to register.
Event Link:

Smithsonian American Art Museum Virtual Fellows Lectures
Wednesday, May 12, 2:30–5 p.m. ET
Thursday, May 13, 2:30–5 p.m. ET
Friday, May 14, 2:30–5 p.m. ET

Join the 2020–2021 class of Smithsonian American Art Museum research fellows as they present new scholarship on a range of topics and time periods, media, and messages. This series of lectures presented entirely online highlights a new generation of scholars who are pushing boundaries and helping us understand the importance of examining and re-examining American art through new perspectives. More information and a detailed schedule are available at

Wednesday, May 12, 2:30–5 p.m. ET
Moderated by Crawford Alexander Mann III, curator of prints and drawings, Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • Sirpa Salenius, Terra Foundation for American Art Senior Fellow, University of Eastern Finland
    Otium et Negotium: Edmonia Lewis, Sallie Mercer, and Sarah Parker Remond in Italy
  • Serena Qiu, predoctoral fellow, Smithsonian Institution, University of Pennsylvania
    An Audience with the Empress: The Placement of Cixi’s Portrait in the 1904 St. Louis Exposition
  • Allison Robinson, predoctoral fellow, Smithsonian Institution, University of Chicago
    ‘Certain fields must be excluded in this first project’: Defining the American Craftsman in the Index of American Design

Thursday, May 13, 2:30–5 p.m. ET
Moderated by Saisha Grayson, curator of time-based media, Smithsonian American Art Museum

  • Pierre-Jacques Pernuit, Terra Foundation for American Art Predoctoral Fellow, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
    Phantasmagoric Abstract Painting: Thomas Wilfred’s Mobile Color Theatre 1918–1925
  • Ana Gabriela Rodriguez, predoctoral fellow in Latinx art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Courtauld Institute of Art
    Alternative Visions: Puerto Rico’s Generación del 50 between the graphic and photographic
  • Lauren van Haaften-Schick, predoctoral fellow, Smithsonian Institution, Cornell University
    “Use the system as a pipeline”: Artists’ Resale Royalties to the Redistribution of Wealth

Friday, May 14, 2:30–5 p.m. ET
Moderated by Mary Savig, the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft, Smithsonian American Art Museum

  • Janine DeFeo, predoctoral fellow, Smithsonian Institution, City University of New York, The Graduate Center
    Commensality and Its Discontents: Alison Knowles’s 1960’s Food Scores
  • Theo Gordon, predoctoral fellow, Smithsonian Institution, The Courtauld Institute of Art
    How Was Art Mobilized by Sexual Politics in 1980?
  • Cyle Metzger, predoctoral fellow, Smithsonian Institution, Stanford University
    Body Doubles: Gender Transformation in Greer Lankton’s Dolls

Location: Online
Tickets: Free | Registration Required via Eventbrite
Event Link:

Art Signs Online: Artful Conversations in ASL
Thursday, May 13, 5:30 p.m. ET

Curious about American art? Join us for a 30-minute gallery conversation about selected works from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection. This program is presented in American Sign Language (ASL) with voice interpretation for participants who are deaf or hard of hearing. Zoom link provided via email upon registration.

Location: Online
Tickets: Free | Registration Required via Eventbrite
Event Link:

¡Printing the Revolution! Virtual Conversation Series: Creating in a Digital Sphere
Thursday, May 13, 6:30 p.m. ET

The digital realm defines a new chapter of Chicanx graphics. Artists use technologically based artwork to critique Big Tech, as well as distribute digital graphics across social media networks as a unifying call for social justice. This virtual conversation features artists from ¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now who use digital strategies as a form of political advocacy for issues such as immigration, the commodification of personal data, and queer rights. Panelists include San Antonio–based artist Michael Menchaca, whose multimedia works incorporate ancient Mesoamerican iconography and digital interfaces to comment on tech culture and its adverse effects on communities of color; and Los Angeles–based undocumented queer artist and social justice activist Julio Salgado, who is best known for his digital images supporting the migrant rights movement. This virtual conversation is moderated by Claudia Zapata, curatorial assistant for Latinx art at the Smithsonian American art. Zapata also authored the essay “Chicanx Art in the Digital Age,” in the ¡Printing the Revolution! catalogue.

This program is the fifth in a five-part online conversation series that examines Chicanx graphics and how artists have used printmaking to debate larger social causes, reflect on issues of their time, and build community. The series featured artists, scholars, and activists discussing the significance of the Chicanx graphics movement, from civil rights–era prints to today’s digital landscape. Watch all five conversations on the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s YouTube channel.

This program received generous support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.

Location: Online
Tickets: Free | Registration Required via Eventbrite
Event Link:

Renwick Invitational 2020 Virtual Studio Tour with Rowland Ricketts
Thursday, May 20, 7 p.m. ET

Enjoy a behind-the-scenes virtual studio tour and artwork demonstration by Rowland Ricketts, one of the artists featured in Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020. Discover more about Ricketts’s work and his holistic creative process. From farming his own indigo to dyeing and aging the fabric, Ricketts looks to nature for inspiration and material when constructing his immersive large-scale installations.

Learn more about Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020 and Rowland Ricketts’s installation Ai No Keshiki – Indigo Views on the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s website.

The Smithsonian Women’s Committee Endowment provided generous funding for Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020 public programs.

Location: Online
Tickets: Free | Registration Required via Eventbrite
Event Link:

Beyond the Studio Virtual Workshop: Watercolor Illustration with Marcella Kriebel
Sunday, May 23, 1–2 p.m. ET

Venture beyond the studio with DC artist Marcella Kriebel. Register now for this engaging Zoom workshop and learn the basics of watercolor and illustration techniques, then try your hand at making your own masterpiece. Kriebel is known for her culinary watercolor paintings and murals throughout DC, which include collaborations with Call Your Mother Deli, POW! WOW! DC, and José Andrés’s food relief non-profit, World Central Kitchen. Please note that space is limited for this program. Tickets include the cost of materials needed for the activity, instructions, and postage. Participants must register by 7 p.m. ET on May 2.

Materials kit includes:
Watercolor set with brushes
Watercolor tips and techniques worksheet
Watercolor paper

Location: Online
Tickets: $15 Materials fee | Registration required via Eventbrite
Event Link:

Podcast Release: Luce Listening Party with Hometown Sounds and Yasmin Williams
Friday, May 28

Luce Unplugged has gone digital! SAAM’s Luce Foundation Center has teamed up with Paul Vodra, and Anthony Porecco of local music podcast Hometown Sounds to feature music and conversations from DC artists. Tune in for an episode featuring the experimental guitar melodies of DC musician Yasmin Williams. Williams is known for her unique, fingerstyle acoustic guitar and for her innovative use of alternate tunings and percussion techniques.

Listen to this episode and subscribe to the Hometown Sounds podcast now!

Location: Online
Tickets: Free | No Registration Required
Event Link: