September 2023 Events and Workshops at National Portrait Gallery

By East City Art Editorial Team on September 11, 2023
Photo © Tony Powell. National Portrait Gallery Stock Photography. July 24, 2019

In Conversation with Kenturah Davis
Sunday, Sept. 17, 2 – 3 p.m.
McEvoy Auditorium

In partnership with Arion Press, the historic San Francisco letterpress printer, the National Portrait Gallery is proud to present a public conversation with visionary artist Kenturah Davis. In 2023, Arion conceived and produced a new limited edition of Zora Neale Hurston’s seminal 1937 classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God, as an artist book featuring artworks by Davis.

Join us for a talk led by Rhea Combs, Director of Curatorial Affairs, delving into Davis’s signature style of “text drawings” which fuse the act of writing and drawing as exemplified by two recent projects: her portraits of Janie Crawford for Arion’s edition of Their Eyes Were Watching God and her acclaimed portrait of Ava DuVernay selected for the 2022 “Portrait of a Nation” exhibition. Hear how Davis marks cultural histories through inscribing text and language into her figuration while investigating black identity through her intricately layered portraiture. Free—Registration required.

Registration link:

Kinship: An Artist Talk with Thomas Holton
Sunday, Sept. 17, 3 – 4 p.m.
Meet at G Street Lobby, event held in MacMillan Education Center

Join us for an artist talk with Thomas Holton, a featured artist in “Kinship”. His portraits explore themes of identity and belonging. In “Kinship,” his photography captures intimate portraits of family life of the Lams, a Chinese family living in New York. The artist will discuss the origins of this series and his connections to his half-Chinese and half-American heritage. Free—Registration required.

Registration link:

Virtual Writing Hour
Select Tuesdays, Sept. 19 & 26, Oct. 10 & 24, Nov. 14 & 18
5 – 6 p.m.
Online Via Zoom

Join us for a virtual, 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 will provide writing prompts, and you are also welcome to bring your own writing project-in-progress. Attendees will write for about 30 minutes and end each session with a brief discussion or reading. Free—Registration Required.

Registration link:

Writing Workshop Inspired by Hispanic Heritage Month
Wednesday, Sept. 20, 5 – 7 p.m.
G Street Lobby

In this creative writing workshop, we will gain inspiration from portraits of Cecilia Vicunya and other contemporary Hispanic artists and activists in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection. We will explore themes of culture, identity and social justice through guided writing prompts and discussion. Open to writers of all levels and genres, ages 18 and up. Free—Registration required.

Fotos y Recuerdos Festival
Saturday, Sept. 23, 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Kogod Courtyard

Join the Hispanic Heritage Month fiesta at the National Portrait Gallery! Back by popular demand, our friends from Lil’ Libros are helping us throw another all-ages celebration. Learn about Latinx trailblazers through vibrant portraits from our collection and the Lil’ Libros book series “The Life of / La vida de”. Attendees can enjoy art, dancing, museum tours, story times and book signings and more. Free—No Registration Required.

Registration link:

1898 Film Series
Sundays, Sept. 24 & Oct. 1, 2 – 4 pm
McEvoy Auditorium

Join the National Portrait Gallery for a free two-day film program exploring the impact of United States expansion during the 20th century. These films are presented in conjunction with the “1898: U.S. Imperial Visions and Revisions” exhibition.

On Sunday, Sept. 24 the National Portrait Gallery will screen War for Guam, produced and directed by Frances Negrón-Muntaner. This 57-minute film explores World War II and its enduring legacy in Guam, a U.S. territory since 1898. Rare archival footage and testimony from survivors and their descendants sheds light on the native people of Guam, the Chamoru, and the militarization of their island. Following the screening, National Portrait Gallery curator Taína Caragol will moderate a public dialogue between filmmaker Frances Negrón-Muntaner; Lauren Swaddell, senior associate with expertise in Pacific conservation and Indigenous engagement at The Pew Charitable Trust; and Neil Weare, civil rights attorney and co-founder of Right to Democracy.

On Sunday, Oct. 1 the Portrait Gallery will screen The Spanish American War, produced by Blackhawk Films and Foreign in a Domestic Sense, directed by Natalia Lassalle Morillo and Sofía Gallisá Muriente. Presenting a 22-minute compilation of 30 seconds to 1-minute newsreels of the War of 1898 between the United States and Spain, this film offers a rare testament of the coincidental development of U.S. overseas expansion and early films. Layered between the clips of historic footage are narratives of Puerto Ricans who have migrated to Central Florida as a result of political and environmental disasters, bringing to light more contemporary issues around displacement and community. A panel discussion with directors Natalia Lassalle Morillo and Sofía Gallisá Muriente, moderated by Taína Caragol, curator of painting and sculpture and Latino art and history, will explore the film’s relevance to issues of both the past and present.

Both Screenings are free—Registration required.

Registration link:

Curator Tour of “Kinship” by Robyn Asleson
Sunday, Sept. 24, 3 – 4 p.m.

National Portrait Gallery
8th St NW & G St NW, Washington, DC 20001
G Street Lobby

What does the word “kinship” mean to you? According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of the word relates to “the fact or state of having something in common” when referring to family and friends. Prints and Drawings Curator, Robyn Asleson will give a tour of the “Kinship” exhibition. Learn about each artist’s motivation for creating art that embodies the word kinship and what it means to each of them. Free—Registration required.

Registration link: