National Museum of Women in the Arts Celebrates Women’s History Month 2021 with Free Programs

By Editorial Team on March 1, 2021
Sonya Clark, Hair Craft Project Hairstyles (Ife Robinson), 2014; From series of 11 color photographs, each 28 x 28 in.; On loan from the artist; © Sonya Clark; Photo by Naoko Wowsugi.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) hosts a variety of virtual and on-site programming during Women’s History Month this March, including a full day of free events on March 8 for International Women’s Day. NMWA will present virtual experiences from 11 a.m. through 7 p.m., including an introduction from NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling, interactive Art Chats with museum educators, a family-friendly story time featuring picture books by or about women artists, and more. Artists and makers will lead workshops, and a local bartender will teach how to create cocktails inspired by the art of Julia Lopez.

In addition to these special programs, NMWA will expand its popular social media campaign #5WomenArtists throughout 2021. To increase awareness of gender inequity in the art world and beyond, the global campaign asks the question, “Can you name five women artists?” Over the course of the year, social media followers can expect popular Instagram takeovers from partnering museums and arts organizations as well as #5WomenArtists content from NMWA staff, donors, members and artists whose work is in the collection.

Read on for a full list of celebratory events this March.

Opening Day: Sonya Clark: Tatter, Bristle, and Mend
Wednesday, March 3, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Visit the museum to be among the first to see this survey exhibition of artist Sonya Clark’s 25-year career. Clark is renowned for her mixed-media works that address race and class, celebrate Blackness and reimagine history. Sonya Clark: Tatter, Bristle, and Mend includes the artist’s well-known sculptures made from black pocket combs, human hair and thread as well as works made from flags, currency, beads, sugar, cotton plants, pencils, books, a typewriter and a hair salon chair. The artist transmutes each of these objects through her application of a vast range of fiber-art techniques: Clark weaves, stitches, folds, braids, dyes, pulls, twists, presses, snips or ties within each work. By stitching black thread cornrows and Bantu knots onto fabrics, rolling human hair into necklaces and stringing a violin bow with a dreadlock, Clark manifests ancestral bonds and reasserts the Black presence in histories from which it has been pointedly omitted.

The Tea: Black Alley
Friday, March 5, 12–1 p.m.
In this online series, women musicians perform original work via livestream on the first Friday of the month. In March, Black Alley joins NMWA for an exclusive performance, pushing the art of music to its rhythmic limits. Determined to create a unique musical elixir, the band takes the finest ingredients of rock, hip-hop and go-go to create their own genre-bending sound called “hood rock.” The session includes a short interview, conducted over a cup of tea, which explores the band’s creative process. Free. No reservations required. Stream live here.

Art Chats @ 5
Fridays, March 5–26, 5–5:45 p.m.
Jump-start your weekend with art! Join NMWA educators online every Friday for informal 45-minute art chats about selected artworks in the collection. Discuss a new sampling of art each week. You can even enjoy your favorite happy hour drink or snack during the sessions. Free. Registration required and limited. Register online. Registration for each month’s Art Chats opens by the 20th of the previous month. Art Chats in March will be related to the #5WomenArtists campaign.

Wikipedia Art+Feminism Virtual Edit-a-thon
Saturday, March 6, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
To mark Wikipedia’s 20th anniversary, NMWA partners with Wikimedia DC for the museum’s eighth Art+Feminism edit-a-thon, focused on improving Wikipedia entries related to notable women artists and art world figures. Participants will work to enrich the representation of women artists of color, with an emphasis on women of African descent whose work is included in NMWA’s collection. This event is part of a global initiative to help right Wikipedia’s gender imbalance. Free. Reserve online. No experience necessary; you need a computer, motivation to combat gender bias and a belief in equal access to quality resources. People of all gender identities and expressions are invited. Use the hashtags #ArtAndFeminism and #NowEditingAF to share about the event.

Free Community Days
Sundays, March 7 and March 21, 12–5 p.m. 
The first and third Sundays of every month are free Community Days for the public. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore current exhibitions as well as the museum’s collection. Free. Advance reservation of timed tickets required. Reserve at nmwa.org/tickets.

International Women’s Day
Monday, March 8, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
Join NMWA for a virtual festival in celebration of International Women’s Day. Throughout the day, museum staff, artists and makers will host online classes and programs that highlight and honor women in the arts. Learn something new or simply enjoy a conversation about women in the arts. Free. A full schedule and registration links will be available February 19.

BMA x NMWA: In Relation
Tuesday, March 9, 12–12:45 p.m.
Join us for BMA x NMWA, a livestreamed monthly talk show co-presented by The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and NMWA. In this episode, educators from both museums welcome artist Tschabalala Self. Known for constructing grandly scaled Black figures in collage-like canvases, Self’s works are made of found fabrics and fragments of her own recycled artworks. Educators and the artist will also discuss story quilts in each museum’s collection by Faith Ringgold. Throughout her 70-plus-year career, Ringgold has created figures that address social, political and racial issues poignantly. Self identifies Ringgold’s work as an influence on her practice.

Collection Highlights Talks
Wednesday, March 10, 5:30–6:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 27, 1–2 p.m.
Unable to visit the museum in person? Check out one of our drop-in virtual “tours.” During each interactive, docent-led presentation, participants will look closely at and discuss artworks from the museum’s collection. Join in as often as you like—docents select the artworks, so tour content will vary. Free.

National Museum of Women in the Arts
The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women through the arts. With its collections, exhibitions, programs and online content, the museum inspires dynamic exchanges about art and ideas. NMWA advocates for better representation of women artists and serves as a vital center for thought leadership, community engagement and social change. NMWA addresses the gender imbalance in the presentation of art by bringing to light important women artists of the past while promoting great women artists working today. The collections highlight painting, sculpture, photography and video by artists including Louise Bourgeois, Mary Cassatt, Judy Chicago, Frida Kahlo, Shirin Neshat, Faith Ringgold, Pipilotti Rist, Amy Sherald and Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun.

NMWA is located at 1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. For information, call 202-783-5000, visit nmwa.orgBroad Strokes blogFacebookTwitter or Instagram.