March 2023 Programs at Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery

By Editorial Team on February 27, 2023
Courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery.

Virtual Women Filmmakers Festival at SAAM: Film Screening with Artist Alison O’Daniel
Wednesday, Mar. 1, 5:30 p.m. EST

Join adits and filmmaker Alison O’Daniel and Saisha Grayson, time-based media curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, for a virtual screening and conversation about O’Daniel’s film practice, which is also an experimental deep dive into sound, music and communication systems from a Deaf/hard of hearing perspective.

The live program discussion will be sparked by excerpts from O’Daniel’s features, The Tuba Thieves (2023), which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, and Night Sky (2011), a fantastical road trip movie that revolves around a hula-hooped shaped portal in the desert. A spin-off of a true news story about tubas stolen from multiple Los Angeles high school bands, The Tuba Thieves is a meditation on sound loss, re-creation and transmutation across a series of historical and fictional narratives. Two musical milestones are recreated: the premier of John Cage’s “silent” piece, 4’33” (1952), and a 1979 punk-show organized by artist Bruce Conner at the San Francisco Deaf Club. Fictional storylines feature Deaf drummer and actor Nyke Prince; parts of the score are provided by Deaf sound artist Christine Sun Kim, whose work will be on view in SAAM’s Musical Thinking: New Video Art and Sonic Strategies, which opens in June 2023.

Festival registrants are invited to watch Night Sky from Feb. 22 through Mar. 14 via a special link. An audience Q&A will conclude the program.

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

In-Person and Virtual Crafting a Better Future: The Renwick 50th Anniversary Symposium
Friday, Mar. 3, 1-5 p.m. EST

The exhibition This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World showcases the dynamic landscape of American craft today. This symposium, organized in conjunction with the exhibition, highlights the role that artists play in our world to spark essential conversations, stories of resilience, and methods of activism-showing us a more relational and empathetic world. Led by SAAM curators Nora Atkinson and Mary Savig, artists and scholars discuss ways in which everyday objects can teach us lessons about who we are and the future we are creating. Registration is required for both in-person and virtual attendance.

Schedule of the Day:
12:30 p.m.: Doors open
1 p.m.: Welcome, Stephanie Stebich, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery
1:05 p.m.: Introduction of speakers and themes of the day, Nora Atkinson
1:12 p.m.: In memoriam
1:15 p.m.: Keynote, Virgil Ortiz: “eVOlution: Guided by Clay Ancestors”
2:00 p.m.: Artists respond: “How we make time?”
Alicia Eggert
Einar and Jamex de la Torre
Jiha Moon
2:30 p.m.: Conversation with Virgil Ortiz, Alicia Eggert, de la Torre brothers, Jiha Moon, moderated by Anya Montiel, curator, National Museum of the American Indian (and co-co-curator of This Present Moment)
3:00 p.m.: Break
3:30 p.m.: Artists respond: “What do we learn from….”
Sonya Clark, “What do we learn from a dishrag?”
Corey Alston, “What do we learn from a basket?”
Susie Ganch, “What do we learn from trash?”
Carla Hemlock, “What do we learn from a quilt?”
Margarita Cabrera, “What do we learn from a cactus?”
4:10 p.m.: Conversation with artists, moderated by Diana N’Diaye, curator, American Folklife and Cultural Heritage and founder of the African American Craft Initiative
4:40 p.m.: Full group conversation and audience Q&A

Location: In-Person and Online
Smithsonian American Art Museum: McAvoy Auditorium
Tickets: Free | Registration required via Eventbrite
Event Link:

Virtual Women Filmmakers Festival at SAAM: Film Screening with Filmmaker Vivienne Dick
Wednesday, Mar. 8, 5:30 p.m. EST

Join filmmaker Vivienne Dick and Saisha Grayson, time-based media curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, for a virtual screening and conversation about Dick’s wide-ranging career, starting with her earliest films from the 1970s through 2020’s New York Our Time.

Dick captured the birth of the No Wave scene of the 1970s and 80s by focusing on magnetic women rockers from New York’s gritty downtown scene. Her films made since continue the powerful assertion that another way of seeing and living in the world is possible and necessary. In her most recent film, she returns to the remaining icons-performer Lydia Lunch, singer-songerwriter and bass player Felice Rosser, band members of the Bush Tetras and photographer Nan Goldin-in New York Our Time. Dick’s interviews and archives meditate on time, memory, and feminist generations, contrasting a recalled wild, rough city with steely image of its gentrified present.

Festival registrants are invited to watch New York Our Time from Mar. 1-14 via a special link. An audience Q&A will conclude the program.

Location: Online
Tickets: Free | Registration required via Eventbrite
Event link:

In-Person Lecture: Charles C. Eldredge Prize Lecture
Tuesday, Mar. 14, 5-7 p.m. EDT

Join art historian Vivien Green Fryd for the Eldredge Prize lecture, “The Art of the Un-Speakable and the ‘Me Too’ Movement.” Fryd is a professor emerita in the history of art and architecture department at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of “Art and Empire: The Politics of Ethnicity in the United States Capitol, 1815-1865” and “Art and the Crisis of Marriage: Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keeffe”, and is currently writing “Henry Ries’s Photographs of Berlin Iconic Buildings and Monuments, 1937-2004”. In addition, Fryd has published essays in Panorama, Art Bulletin, American Art Journal, American Art, and Winterthur Portfolio. She was the 2022 recipient of SAAM’s Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in American Art for her book “Against Our Will: Sexual Trauma in American Art Since 1970”. This publication focuses on the role of contemporary art in challenge society to acknowledge and legally address rape, incest, and other forms of sexual violence. In her lecture, Fryd will reflect on how she has conscientiously brought this difficult material into university and museum settings.

Content warning: SAAM seeks to provide a safe space for all attendees; this lecture will amplify the voices of survivors of sexual violence.

Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum; McAvoy Auditorium
Tickets: Free | Registration opening soon
Event Link:

Virtual America InSight: Verbal Description Tours
Thursday, Mar. 16, 5:30-6:30 p.m. EDT

Join the Smithsonian American Art Museum for a docent-led virtual tour designed for participants who are blind or have low vision. Discover highlights from the collection through rich verbal descriptions that invoke a multi sensory experience.

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

Virtual Art & Me Preservation Family Workshop: Blossom Buds
Saturday, Mar. 18, 10-10:45 a.m. EDT

Celebrate spring and D.C.’s beloved cherry blossoms with a festive virtual family workshop. The delicate sakura, or cherry blossoms, have been depicted in landscapes, figure paintings, and prints for centuries. Learn how Smithsonian art conservators preserve these beautiful yet fragile artworks. Then get creative and make your own cherry blossom-inspired artwork. This hands-on preservation workshop is designed for children ages three to eight and their caretakers. The program is co-hosted by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art.

Registration is required; space is limited. One registration per household. A Zoom link and a list of suggested materials will be sent to registered participants 24-48 hours in advance of the workshop.

This program is part of the 2023 National Cherry Blossom Festival.

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

In-Person Film Screening and Conversation: This World is Not My Own
Tuesday, Mar. 21, 6 p.m. EDT

Join filmmakers Ruchi Mital and Petter Ringbom with executive producer Marquise Stillwell for a screening of their biographical film about the artist Nellie Mae Rowe. Exploring the world created by Rowe, including intricate sets that recreate Rowe’s “Playhouse”, Mital and Ringbom bring her unique vision to life on film. Narrated by Emmy-award winner, Uzo Aduba, with voice support by Broadway actress Amy Warren, this film considers the cultural and political forces that shaped Rowe’s life and art. This event will be the D.C. premier of the film, after it debuts at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum; McAvoy Auditorium
Tickets: Free | Registration required.
Event Link:

In-Person Art Bites Gallery Talk
Friday, Feb. 24, 12:15 – 1 p.m. EST

Join SAAM’s research fellows for this lunchtime series of gallery talks as they share new discoveries about artworks on view. Learn the stories behind these objects and how each one tells us about America’s ever-changing culture. Jill Vaum Rothschild, the Luce Foundation Curatorial Fellow, discusses David “Dave” Drake’s Untitled (Verse Jar) (1860).

Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum; Meet in G Street Lobby
Tickets: Free | No registration required

In-Person Cherry Blossom Family Celebration
Saturday, Mar. 25, 11:30 a.m. -3 p.m. EDT

Join us for our annual celebration of spring and the blooming trees of D.C. Enjoy a taiko drumming performance by New Daiko, traditional Japanese dance with Onoe Dance, and break out your best Japanese pop dance moves with Les the DJ. Craft your own cherry blossom trees to take home, make a kinobori kite to fly at the kite festival, or try your hand at an origami Sakura. Explore SAAM’s galleries with a scavenger hunt and enjoy festive treats from a special menu celebrating the cherry blossoms offered by the Courtyard Café.

This program is part of the 2023 National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum; Kogod Courtyard
Tickets: Free | Registration encouraged.
Event Link:

Virtual Renwick 50th Anniversary Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
Thursday, Mar. 30, 1 p.m. EDT

During this edit-a-thon, any participant with computer and Internet access can create or improve Wikipedia articles for forty-four women of color featured in the Renwick Gallery’s exhibition This Present Moment. Learn more about the artists and the exhibition with Mary Savig, the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft.

No Wikipedia editing experience is necessary; training will be provided. No background in art history is required. Attendees of all experience levels are encouraged to participate. As one of the web’s most visited reference sites, Wikipedia serves as the starting point for many who want to learn about art and artists. However, less than 19 percent of Wikipedia biographies in English represent women, and less than 10 percent of Wikipedia editors identify as women. These percentages are even lower for women artists of color or those who specialize in craft, compared to their male counterparts and artists who practice more recognized art forms like painting. Help SAAM change these statistics as you learn more about the vital history of craft.

This event is cohosted by the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.

Location: Online
Tickets: Free | Registration required.
Event Link:

Please Note COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Events:

The Smithsonian no longer requires visitors to wear a mask to visit its museums and the National Zoo. Visitors are encouraged to wear a mask during their visit or while participating in a program or event. Social distancing continues to be encouraged and we ask people who do not feel well to stay home. Updated information about COVID-19 guidelines and safety measures is online at

The Smithsonian reserves the right to modify its hours of operation, capacity, and visitor guidelines as circumstances require. The museum may deny entry or access to any person who fails to follow these guidelines or whose conduct puts Smithsonian staff, visitors, or property at risk.

About the Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is home to one of the most significant and inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. The museum’s main building is located at Eighth and G streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station. Its Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft and decorative arts, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. Admission is free. Follow the museum on TwitterYouTubeInstagram, and Facebook. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Website: