Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery Announces December 2020 Virtual Programs

By Editorial Team on December 7, 2020
Image credits: Young Portrait Explorers (detail) by Tony Powell, photograph, 2019 (left). First Lady Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald, oil on linen, 2018. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Gift of Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg; Judith Kern and Kent Whealy; Tommie L. Pegues and Donald A. Capoccia; Clarence, DeLoise, and Brenda Gaines; Jonathan and Nancy Lee Kemper; The Stoneridge Fund of Amy and Marc Meadows; Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker; Catherine and Michael Podell; Mark and Cindy Aron; Lyndon J. Barrois and Janine Sherman Barrois; The Honorable John and Louise Bryson; Paul and Rose Carter; Bob and Jane Clark; Lisa R. Davis; Shirley Ross Davis and Family; Alan and Lois Fern; Conrad and Constance Hipkins; Sharon and John Hoffman; Audrey M. Irmas; John Legend and Chrissy Teigen; Eileen Harris Norton; Helen Hilton Raiser; Philip and Elizabeth Ryan; Roselyne Chroman Swig; Josef Vascovitz and Lisa Goodman; Eileen Baird; Dennis and Joyce Black Family Charitable Foundation; Shelley Brazier; Aryn Drake-Lee; Andy and Teri Goodman; Randi Charno Levine and Jeffrey E. Levine; Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation; Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago; Arthur Lewis and Hau Nguyen; Sara and John Schram; Alyssa Taubman and Robert Rothman (center). National Portrait Gallery’s Courtyard by Tony Powell, photograph, 2019 (right).

Behind the Seams with Designer Michelle Smith
Tuesday, Dec. 15, 5 p.m. EST
Online via Zoom
Former First Lady Michelle Obama is known for wearing and supporting American designers and clothing brands. This interest may be best represented in the now-iconic dress by Milly that she wears in the National Portrait Gallery’s 2018 painting of her by Amy Sherald. Join the dress’s designer, Michelle Smith, and the Portrait Gallery’s senior historian and acting chief curator, Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, as they discuss this remarkable garment, the “power of the needle” to change women’s lives, and the new clothing line that Smith is now in the process of launching. This program accompanies the exhibition “Every Eye Is Upon Me: First Ladies of the United States,” curated by Shaw. The Zoom link will be emailed to participants upon registration. Free—Registration required.

Young Portrait Explorers
Biweekly on Tuesdays, 11 a.m. EST
Instagram @smithsoniannpg
Explore portraits of astronauts and activists, scientists and star athletes – and discover the stories behind them. Join the Portrait Gallery each week for a close look at a featured portrait. Then we’ll dig deeper with some discussion questions and get moving with fun activities on the day’s topic. Download PDF activity guides from the “Visit at Home” page of the Portrait Gallery’s website at For children ages 3 and up and their families.

Writing Hour
Tuesdays, 5 p.m. EST
Online via Zoom
Join us weekly for a virtual creative writing hour. We’ve set up an online space where writers can create, connect and draw inspiration from the Portrait Gallery’s collection. Free—Register at

Wednesdays, 11 a.m. EST
YouTube @smithsoniannpg
Introducing… a new kind of story time! Each week a Portrait Gallery educator will shine a light on some of this country’s lesser-known historymakers and their portraits. Children will learn more about art, hear the stories behind the portraits and even learn some new vocabulary. Select story times will be in Spanish. For children ages 3 and up and their families.

Drawn to Figures
Thursdays, 11 a.m. EST
YouTube @smithsoniannpg
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.

Open Studio
Fridays, 11 a.m. EST
YouTube @smithsoniannpg
The Portrait Gallery is bringing its weekly art workshops to your home via YouTube. Each Friday, we will post a video with a new activity or technique. Grab a family member or your roommates, or make a virtual date with a friend, and get creative with artist Jill Galloway. Artists of all ages and skill levels will enjoy creating art inspired by the Portrait Gallery’s collection.