September 2022 Programs at Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery

By Editorial Team on September 12, 2022
Image credits (from left to right):
Credit: Janelle Wellons headshot, courtesy of
Credit: Alma Thomas, The Eclipse, 1970, acrylic on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 1978.40.3
Credit: Abra Lee headshot, courtesy of Abra Lee.

Virtual Program: Alma Thomas: Teacher, Artist, Trailblazer (Part 2)
Wednesday, Sept. 13, 4-5 p.m. ET

Join a rich conversation with aerospace engineer Janelle Wellons and horticulturist Abra Lee, as they reflect on Thomas’s legacy as a STEAM trailblazer. Wellons will share insights on how she uses visual images and inquiry to unlock the mysteries of the cosmos, while Lee will unearth the histories of Black gardeners. Together, these reflections provide an in-depth understanding of Thomas’s cultural impact, inspiring adults, and students alike. Space is limited, registration is required.

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

In-Person and Virtual Program: Clarice Smith Distinguished Lecture Series 2022: Roberto Lugo: A Village Potter
Wednesday, Sept. 14, 6:30 ET

Artist Roberto Lugo kicks off the 2022 Clarice Smith Distinguished Lecture Series by detailing his studio practice and the intersections of identity, representation, empowerment, and storytelling in his work, now on display at SAAM’s Renwick Gallery in the exhibition This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World. These themes are evident in his work, from Sévres porcelain-inspired vessels depicting Frederick Douglass to life-size urns decorated with likenesses of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. Lugo adorns classical pottery forms with portraiture and surface design that incorporate his North Philadelphia roots and hip-hop culture. His hand-painted works reimagine traditional European and Asian ceramics, highlighting themes of poverty, inequality, and racial injustice.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum established the Clarice Smith Distinguished Lectures in American Art in 2004 to present new insights in American art from the perspectives of outstanding artists, critics, and scholars. This annual series takes place each fall, and is made possible by the generosity of Clarice Smith (1933-2021).

Please note that space is limited for the in-person option and registration is required. Tickets available starting Sept. 1.

Location: In-Person: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 1st Floor: McAvoy Auditorium | Online

Tickets: Free | Registration required via Eventbrite
Event Link:

Virtual Program: Studio Tour with Artist Chawne Kimber
Thursday, Sept. 22, 7-8 p.m. ET

Join quilter Chawne Kimber on a virtual tour through her studio and learn how she draws open her family history for inspiration to create contemporary works. For centuries, cotton has been central in the lives of the women in Kimber’s family, as many of her enslaved ancestors cultivated cotton in rural Alabama. From picking to ginning to sewing, the lives of Kimber’s ancestors revolved around cotton. Eventually, quilting emerged as a primary form of self-expression.

Inspired by the quilts her relatives made in the late 1800s, Kimber interprets traditional forms in an improvisational style using vibrant modern colors of commercially available American-farmed, processed, and woven cotton. Combining minimal self-portraits in a street art style, Kimber uses quilts to respond to current race-related social justice issues. When not making art, Kimber is a mathematics professor and an academic dean at Washington and Lee University.

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

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

As of March 11, the Smithsonian no longer requires visitors to wear a mask to visit its museums and the National Zoo. Visitors may choose 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: