Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery September, October, and November Events

By Editorial Team on August 29, 2022

Tue, 30 August 2022 - Thu, 17 November 2022

 

National Portrait Gallery Director’s Essay Prize Ceremony
Friday, Sept. 9, 5–6 p.m.
McEvoy Auditorium

Founded in 2019, the Director’s Essay Prize fosters leading research in the field of visual biography and American portraiture. This year’s winner is Tiffany Barber, Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of California Los Angeles. Her essay, “Narcissister, a Truly Kinky Artist,” was chosen by a panel of jurors for its interdisciplinary contributions to American art, biography, history and cultural identity. At the prize ceremony, Barber will present “Black Women’s Visual Alterity,” a paper related to her essay topic. The Director’s Essay Prize complements the Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition and is specifically dedicated to supporting the next wave of written scholarship on portraiture. In 2022, it was juried by PORTAL, the Portrait Gallery’s Scholarly Center. Free—Registration Required.

Holly Bass: American Woman
Saturday, Sept. 10, 11:30 a.m.–6:15 p.m.
Great Hall

Join Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition finalist Holly Bass as she premieres her day-long performance “American Woman,” which is based on her 2021 video. Part of the exhibition “The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today,” the performance addresses the unacknowledged labor of Black women while celebrating and recognizing their overlooked contributions to the country’s history. Through movement, Bass will interpret the messages of leading activists, including Shirley Chisholm, Angela Davis and Fannie Lou Hamer, as well as the music of Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin, among others. Join her as she highlights the changing constructs of Black womanhood, labor and beauty.

Portraiture Festival
Saturday, Sept. 10, noon–3 p.m.
Kogod Courtyard

Join us for a celebration of art, identity and creativity! The Portrait Gallery’s first festival since 2020 will include art, music and activities for all ages. Meet finalists from the 2022 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, who will discuss their work during interactive gallery talks and hands-on art workshops. Venture to the Great Hall, where Holly Bass will present her day-long performance “American Woman,” based on her 2021 video in “The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today.”

Weekend Workshops

  • Select Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 11, 17, 18 & 25
  • Saturdays and Sundays Oct. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 & 30
  • Select Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 5, 6, 20, 26 & 27

11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.

Education Center, E151

Calling all artists! Get creative during our drop-in workshops for all ages. Learn about artists and changemakers and create art inspired by their stories.

Young Portrait Explorers
Select Mondays, 10:30–11:30 a.m.
G Street lobby

  • Sept. 12: Frida Kahlo
  • Oct. 17: José Limón
  • Nov. 14: Sequoyah

Join National Portrait Gallery educators for a fun and interactive program about art, identity and history. Each month we highlight a different story with new art activities. Recommended for children up to age six and their adult companions. Free–Registration required.

 

In Focus: Milk
Thursday, Sept. 15, 12:30–1 p.m.
G Street lobby

In Focus, our lunchtime program, is back! Join us as we take a close look at Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition finalist Elsa María Meléndez’s self-portrait “Milk,” a large-scale textile artwork about the fight for gender equality.

 

Art AfterWords: A Book Discussion
Tuesday, Sept. 20, 5:30–7 p.m.
G Street lobby

The National Portrait Gallery and the DC Public Library invite you to a conversation about autobiography and Black representation in the 19th century. Together with our special guest, Professor Dana Williams of Howard University, we will analyze a portrait of Frederick Douglass and discuss the related collection of essays “What Moves at the Margin: Selected Nonfiction” by Toni Morrison. This in-person program ties into the Portrait Gallery’s newly re-opened permanent collection exhibition “Out of Many: Portraits from 1600 to 1900.” Free–Registration Required.

Fotos y Recuerdos Festival with Lil’ Libros
Saturday, Sept. 24, 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.
Kogod Courtyard

The National Portrait Gallery is teaming up with renowned children’s book publisher Lil’ Libros to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month! This bilingual event will include story times, book signings, live entertainment and gallery tours. Join us to create art inspired by the Lil’ Libros book series “The Life of / La Vida de,” which includes Latino sitters from the Portrait Gallery’s collection.

Surroundings: A Tribute to Maya Lin
Sundays, Oct. 16, 23 & 30, 6:30–7 p.m.
Kogod Courtyard

In conjunction with the Portrait Gallery’s “One Life: Maya Lin” exhibition, Dana Tai Soon Burgess, the Portrait Gallery’s choreographer-in-residence, premieres his newest modern dance. Performed by seven members of the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company, the piece will be accompanied by opera singers Millicent Scarlett and Keith Hudspeth, with Dana Scott on piano.

Día de los Muertos
Wednesday, Nov. 2, 5–8:30 p.m.
Kogod Courtyard
G and 9th St. facade

The National Portrait Gallery’s annual celebration of el Día de los Muertos kicks off with an indoor festival with music, dancing, art activities and a community altar from 5 to 8 p.m. Venture outside between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., when artists MasPaz and Guache will project their live video artwork on the museum’s G and 9th St facade. ¡Esta fiesta es para todos!

Our Struggle for Justice Community Symposium
Monday, Nov. 7, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Kogod Courtyard
Panel discussion in McEvoy Auditorium

Draw inspiration from “The Struggle for Justice,” the museum’s rotating display of historical and contemporary figures who changed U.S history and culture, and the related interactive digital engagement project “Our Struggle for Justice.” This day-long symposium will help college students tap into their activism and discover ways to become more engaged in protecting our communities and the environment. Light breakfast will be provided, followed by guided tours of “The Struggle for Justice.” At the end of the day, a panel discussion and meet and greet with local grass-roots organizations will leave participants feeling empowered. Registration information and the full schedule will be posted on the museum’s What’s On page.

In Focus
Select Thursdays, Nov. 17, 12:30–1 p.m.
G Street lobby

Join in an interactive discussion about archives and representations of the African American experience centered on “Killed Negative #13 / After Arthur Rothstein” by artist Joel Daniel Phillips and writer Quraysh Ali Lansana. Their collaborative work was a finalist in the 2022 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Free.

Virtual Programs
August – November

For more information on the Portrait Gallery’s ongoing and past remote programs, explore the “Visit at Home” page of the museum’s website at npg.si.edu.

Queering Women’s Suffrage in the United States
Tuesday, Aug. 30, 5–6 p.m.
Online via Zoom

Join PORTAL, the National Portrait Gallery’s Scholarly Center, for a conversation with scholars Anya Jabour, Regents Professor of History at the University of Montana, and Wendy L. Rouse, Associate Professor of History at San José State University. Jabour is the author of “Sophonisba Breckinridge: Championing Women’s Activism in Modern America” (2019), and Rouse recently published “Public Faces, Secret Lives: A Queer History of the Women’s Suffrage Movement” (2022). Moderated by Kate Clarke Lemay, acting senior historian at the National Portrait Gallery, this conversation will explore how queer history intersects with that of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. It is part of the Tommie L. Pegues and Donald A. Capoccia Conversation Series in LGBTQ+ Portraiture. Free–Registration required.

Drawn to Figures
Thursdays, Sept. 8 & 29, Oct. 6 & 27, Nov. 3, 11 a.m.–noon
Tues. Nov. 22, 11 a.m.–noon
Online via Zoom

Discover your inner artist in these online workshops led by artist Jill Galloway. Each session will highlight the techniques and challenges of figure drawing while providing guided instruction and helpful tips. Open to all skill levels, ages 13 +. Free–Registration required.

In Dialogue: Smithsonian Objects and Social Justice
Thursdays, Sept. 8, 5–6 p.m.
Online via Zoom

Heighten your civic awareness through conversations about art, history and material culture. In this program, educators from the National Portrait Gallery partner with colleagues from across the Smithsonian to discuss how historical objects from their respective collections speak to today’s social justice issues. Together with our cohosts from the Anacostia Community Museum, we will ask: What does a perfect world look like and how does one let go of practical hurdles and allow oneself to dream? Using two artworks by self-taught artists, Mary Proctor’s “Equal” and Morgan Monceaux’s portrait of the artist and musician Sun Ra, we will discuss how creativity can help catalyze change. Free–Registration required.

Understanding Sylvia Rivera 
Tuesday, Sept. 13, 5–6 p.m.

Online via Zoom

Join historians Julio Capó Jr., author of “Welcome to Fairyland: Queer Miami before 1940” (2017), and Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, author of “Translocas: The Politics of Puerto Rican Drag and Trans Performance” (2021), as they discuss Latinx transgender activist Sylvia Rivera. Although a veteran of the Stonewall Riot, a turning point in the modern LGBTQ+ struggle for equal rights, Rivera fought to be included in the Pride marches that followed. This conversation will celebrate her accomplishments while documenting the exclusion she faced and challenging the myths surrounding her life and work. Moderated by Portrait Gallery historian Mindy Farmer, this program is hosted by PORTAL, the Portrait Gallery’s Scholarly Center, and is part of the Tommie L. Pegues and Donald A. Capoccia Conversation Series in LGBTQ+ Portraiture. Free–Registration required.

Strike a Prose: Writing Reflections of Contemporary American Identity
Tuesday, Sept. 13, 5–6:30 p.m.
Online via Zoom

In this creative writing workshop, we will explore themes of representation, reflection and identity in contemporary American culture through portraits from “The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today.” The workshop, which includes guided writing prompts and discussion, will encourage participants to explore diverse perspectives and lived experiences. Open to writers of all levels, ages 18+. Registration required.

Young Portrait Explorers
Select Wednesdays, 11–11:30 a.m.
Online via Zoom

  • Sept. 14, 21 & 28, Oct. 5 & 12: Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Nov. 9, 30: Native American Heritage Month

Join National Portrait Gallery educators to learn about art, history and more! This 30-minute virtual workshop incorporates close looking at portraiture, movement activities and artmaking. Recommended for children ages three to six and their adult companions. Free–Registration required.

Painting Nostalgia: Jewish Portraits
Tuesday, Sept. 20, 5–6 p.m.
Online via Zoom

Join PORTAL, the National Portrait Gallery’s Scholarly Center, for a conversation with Simona Di Nepi, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Curator of Judaica at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as she traces the stories of three portraits of Jewish sitters and the artists who created them. Moderated by Kate Clarke Lemay, acting senior historian at the National Portrait Gallery, this program is part of the Greenberg Steinhauser Forum in American Portraiture. Free–Registration required.

Strike a Prose: Overlooked
Tuesday, Sept. 20, 5–6:30 p.m.
Online via Zoom

In this poetry writing workshop, we will draw inspiration from “The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today” to develop vivid narrative poems. Our exploration of the theme “overlooked” will draw from fiction writing techniques, including narrative voice, character development and world building. Open to writers of all levels, ages 18+. Registration required.

Wind Down Wednesday: A Celestial Space: Earth, Wind & Fire
Wednesday, Sept. 21, 5–5:30 p.m.
Instagram Live

Rooted in fantasy and Afro-Futurism, the group Earth, Wind & Fire ascended to the height of pop culture during the 1970s. Wind down after work with a discussion of Bruce Talamon’s popular photograph of the group. In honor of the group’s meteoritic rise to fame, a special guest mixologist will create an out-of-this-world craft drink.

Virtual Writing Hour
Select Tuesdays, Oct. 4 & 25, Nov. 1 & 15, 5–6 p.m.
Online via Zoom

Join us for an online creative writing hour at the National Portrait Gallery! We’ve set up a virtual space where writers can create, connect and draw inspiration from the Portrait Gallery’s collection. Bring your own happy hour beverage of choice and write with us. We provide writing prompts, but all are welcome to bring their own writing project-in-progress. We will write for about 30 minutes and end each session with a brief discussion or reading. Free–Registration required.

Robert E. Lee and Me: In Conversation with Ty Seidule
Tuesday, Oct. 25, 5–6 p.m.
Online via Zoom

PORTAL, the National Portrait Gallery’s Scholarly Center, invites you to a conversation with Ty Seidule, Professor Emeritus of History and former head of the Department of History at West Point. Seidule, who recently published “Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause” (2021), will explore the legacy of the Civil War, its cultural impact, the myth of the Lost Cause. Moderated by Kate Clarke Lemay, acting senior historian at the National Portrait Gallery, this program is part of the Greenberg Steinhauser Forum in American Portraiture. Free–Registration required.

In Dialogue: Smithsonian Objects and Social Justice
Thursday, Nov. 3, 5–6 p.m.
Online via Zoom

Heighten your civic awareness through conversations about art, history and material culture. Each month, educators from the National Portrait Gallery will partner with colleagues from across the Smithsonian to discuss how historical objects from their respective collections speak to today’s social justice issues. What happens when one’s citizenship is challenged? Together with our cohosts from the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, we will explore what lengths citizens take to protect their civil rights. The experiences of Norman Mineta and Gordon Hirabayashi, whose portraits will anchor our conversation, will be placed within the wider context of U.S. society—then and now. Free–Registration required.

Portraits of Resistance: Activating Art During Slavery
Tuesday, Nov. 15, 5–6 p.m.
Online via Zoom

PORTAL, the National Portrait Gallery’s Scholarly Center, invites you to a presentation by Jennifer Van Horn, Associate Professor of Art History and History at the University of Delaware. Join her as she explores the connections between enslavement and portrait making in the 18th and 19th-century American South. Moderated by Kate Clarke Lemay, acting senior historian at the National Portrait Gallery, this program is part of the Greenberg Steinhauser Forum in American Portraiture. Free–Registration required.

National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of the United States through the individuals who have shaped American culture. Spanning the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the nation’s story.

The National Portrait Gallery is located at Eighth and G streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Connect with the museum at npg.si.edu