Ongoing Programs

The National Portrait Gallery is proud to host some of its many public programs online with these digital workshops ranging from story time readings for young children to art-making workshops for all ages. Tune in to the museum's social media channels to experience these workshops firsthand.

Select In-Person Programs Return and Virtual Workshops Continue  

June, July & August

Campaign poster for a black woman and a colorful portrait of a white woman

All Event Listings are for Eastern Time
In-Person / June – August

Young Portrait Explorers

Select Mondays, 10:30 a.m.
G Street Lobby

June 13: Seeing faces
July 11: Body language
Aug. 8: Texture and touch

Join us at the museum for a special tour of “The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today” exhibition that highlights themes for children up to age five and their adult companions. Class size is limited. Parents and guardians must remain with their children. Masks are appreciated but not required for participants. Museum educators will be masked. Free—Registration required.

Drawn to Figures

Select Thursdays, June 16, July 14, Aug. 11, 10 a.m.–12 p.m.
G Street Lobby

In this series of drawing workshops, artist Jill Galloway will lead participants through the techniques and challenges of figure drawing. Each workshop will highlight select portraits from a Portrait Gallery exhibition and include instruction, a guided drawing session, and all supplies. Open to artists of all levels, ages 18 and up. Space is limited. Registration required. Fee: $12 per workshop.

In Celebration of Pride: A Conversation with Riva Lehrer and Achy Obejas

Friday, June 17, 6:30 p.m.
McEvoy Auditorium

Join PORTAL, the National Portrait Gallery’s Scholarly Center, for a dialogue between artist and educator Riva Lehrer and the subject of her piece in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, Cuban American writer Achy Obejas. As a part of the Tommie L. Pegues and Donald A. Capoccia Conversation Series in LGBTQ+ Portraiture, this event will explore themes related to queer identity and disability. Moderated by Taína Caragol, curator of painting, sculpture, and Latinx art and history at the National Portrait Gallery, the conversation will also examine Lehrer’s method for creating Obejas’ portrait and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Free admission.

“Birthright” by Maren Hassinger

Saturday, June 25, 2 p.m.
Great Hall

Postponed since summer 2020, the much-awaited performance piece “Birthright” by New York City-based artist Maren Hassinger will debut at the National Portrait Gallery this summer. A commission of the museum’s IDENTIFY series, “Birthright” (2022) explores the complexity of individual family histories through collective ritual in a live performance based on the artist’s 2005 video work of the same name. At the event, Hassinger will screen her 12-minute video, which documents the artist’s encounter with her uncle in an exploration of the paternal branch of her family tree. The artist will then show audience members how to twist pieces of newspaper, inviting them to participate in this meditative ritual she performs throughout during the video. Please note the video contains brief descriptions of violence. Free—Registration recommended

“Truth Tellers” Film Screening

Friday, July 8, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
McEvoy Auditorium

Jointly presented with the Anacostia Community Museum, “Truth Tellers” is a new documentary film chronicling the lives of courageous Americans fighting for peace, racial equity, environmental justice, and Indigenous rights. The film explores the intersection of these issues through the eyes of longtime artist and activist Robert Shetterly, who has painted portraits of these individuals. Tracing Shetterly’s journey across the nation to visit his sitters and their communities, it stresses the urgency of coming together and galvanizing our resolve to uphold our country’s founding ideals while inspiring and empowering Americans to emulate his “models of courageous citizenship.” The screening will be followed by a discussion with Shetterly and a featured guest from the film. Watch the film’s trailer here.

Block by Block Walking Tour

July 15 – Jan. 16, 2023
Online via the SmARTify app and the Portrait Gallery’s Website

With summer and warmer weather approaching, the Portrait Gallery invites visitors to participate in self-guided walking tours of Washington, D.C., inspired by the exhibition “Block by Block: Naming Washington,” which highlights the individuals whose names define the capital’s cityscape, gracing its streets, squares, and landmarks. Each stop will shed light on the very spaces where figures—among them Clara Barton, David Farragut and Oliver Otis Howard lived, worked and played and encourage participants to reckon with the city's overlapping and shifting histories, as well as their own. Tours will feature interesting tidbits, fun facts and historical details about people, neighborhoods, urban planning and development, and architecture in Wards 1 and 2. Each tour is self-guided through the museum’s SmARTify App, accessible here for Android and iPhones.

Virtual Programs, June – August
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.

Young Portrait Explorers

Select Wednesdays, 11 a.m.

June 1: Seeing faces
June 15: Light and shadow
July 6: Artful colors
July 20: Body language
Aug. 3: Symbols in art
Aug. 17: Texture and touch

Join our virtual workshop for children ages three to six years old and their adult companions as we discuss themes from “The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today” in a 30-minute program that incorporates close looking at art, movement and art-making. Free—Registration required.

Drawn to Figures

Select Thursdays, 11 a.m.
Online via Zoom

June 9 & 23
July 7 & 21
Aug. 4 & 18

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 and up. Free—Registration required.

Barbara Jordan Comes to Washington Lecture

Thursday, Aug. 18, 5:30 p.m.
Online via Zoom

Join the Women’s History Content and Interpretation Curator Ashleigh Coren at the National Portrait Gallery for a lecture about how Congresswoman Barbara Jordan made history in 1974 when she delivered the opening statement for President Richard Nixon’s impeachment hearings. This moment launched the Texas politician into the national spotlight and set the tone for a career that carried out the promise of the American dream. This one-hour program explores the history of this remarkable woman and examines the limitations for Black, queer and women-identifying politicians both then and now. 

Art AfterWords: A Book Discussion

Tuesday, Aug. 9, 5:30–7 p.m.
Online via Zoom

The National Portrait Gallery and the DC Public Library invite you to a virtual conversation about intimacy and isolation. Analyze a portrait by Riva Lehrer featured in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition and discuss the related book “In the Dream House” by Carmen Maria Machado.  Free—Reqistration required.
 

In Dialogue: Objects and Social Justice 

Thursday, June 9, 5 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.  Free—Registration required.

The pandemic has revealed what some have known for a long time: Everyone deserves access to care. How have activist groups throughout time used design as a tool for building health equity? Together with our co-hosts from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, we will explore this key question in relationship to ACT UP’s George Bush AIDS Crisis poster and designs from Cooper Hewitt’s exhibition Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics.

Women Do Dare: Celebrating the Legacy of Shirley Chisholm Lecture

Tuesday, May 31, 5:30 p.m.
Online via Zoom

Join the Women’s History Content and Interpretation Curator Ashleigh Coren at the National Portrait Gallery for a lecture about how Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm became the first African American to seek a major party’s nomination for president in 1972. The campaign was the culmination of her brilliance and determination to create pathways in politics for underrepresented groups. Decades later, we continue to see her influence on civics, activism, and even fashion. Join us as we use Smithsonian collections to celebrate and discuss the fiftieth anniversary of her presidential run.  Free—Registration required.

For Teachers

Introducing the National Portrait Gallery’s New Curriculum Guide: Expanding Roles of Women 

Monday, July 11, 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. 
G Street Lobby

Join us as we debut our new interdisciplinary curriculum guide, “Expanding Roles of Women,” which uses portraits from the National Portrait Gallery’s “Out of Many: Portraits from 1600 to 1900” exhibition to teach about the history of women in the United States from the colonial period to the dawn of the twentieth century, with a focus on drawing connections to the present. Participants will be introduced to the guide’s themes—Suffragists, Professionals, and Radicals—as well as featured portrait subjects, including Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Mary Cassatt, Anne Catherine Hoof Green, Zitkála-Šá, and many more! We’ll also discuss the variety of historical women’s voices presented in this guide and consider our own perspectives on teaching women’s history. Teachers will receive classroom resources, and lunch will be provided. Registration required. Fee: $30.

Exploring Mindfulness with Contemporary Portraiture 

Monday, Aug. 8, 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. 
G Street Lobby

In this workshop, we will explore ways to use contemporary portraiture in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition and related exhibition “The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today” to bring our awareness to the current moment. As National Portrait Gallery Director Kim Sajet has observed of the exhibition, “It is no surprise that the art provides a powerful affirmation of the human experience, focused on the pain of the COVID-19 pandemic, demands for social justice, personal isolation, familial ties, community support, love and loss.” The artworks in this exhibition not only reflect the evolving democratization of portraiture but also underscore the genre’s ability to tell formerly hidden stories. Join us to engage your senses and be present with portraiture. Teachers will receive classroom resources, and lunch will be provided. Registration required. Fee: $30.

Slow Down, Look Closely: Reading Portraiture 101 

Thursday, Aug. 11, 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. 
G Street Lobby

The National Portrait Gallery’s collection presents the wonderful diversity of individuals who have left—and are leaving—their mark on our country. Together, our portraits illuminate accomplishments in fields ranging from the arts and sciences to activism, politics, and sports. In this one-day workshop, you will learn how to bring portraiture into the classroom and provide students with exciting opportunities to delve deeper into biography, history, visual art, and many other subjects. Portrait Gallery educators will model a variety of close-looking strategies—unique ways to hook and engage students as they examine portraits. Slow down with us and learn how to “read” portraits, a process that will help you use portraiture as a springboard into more in-depth discussions about the connections between the past and present. Teachers will receive classroom resources, and lunch will be provided. Registration required. Fee: $30.