Urgent Museum Notice

Celebrate Free Reopening Weekend October 21–22, 2023, at National Museum of Women in the Arts After Transformative Renovation

Museum visitors observe artworks hanging on the royal blue walls of a small gallery bay. Paintings of various sizes are on display, and small sculptures are in a glass case.
Community celebration on Saturday, October 21, features free performances, tours and art-making; free admission all weekend

WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) celebrates its grand reopening weekend on Saturday, October 21, and Sunday, October 22, 2023, with a full day of festivities for all ages on Saturday and free admission throughout the weekend. Planned activities include art-making, interactive entertainment, live performances and spotlight conversations on special exhibitions and newly renovated areas. To attend opening weekend, free timed tickets are required and available now. Tickets for admission throughout the fall are also on sale. 

The celebratory weekend marks the first time the museum has been open since August 2021, when it launched a top-to-bottom renovation. The million project, designed by Baltimore-based architectural firm Sandra Vicchio & Associates, features more gallery space and increased accessibility. In addition, a new Learning Commons encompasses an exhibition gallery, Library and Research Center with a reading room open to the public, and a flexible studio/classroom.  

The schedule of activities for reopening day on Saturday, October 21, is as follows: 

Saturday, October 21 
Throughout the day, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. 

  • Flash Tattooing 
    Memorialize your visit and commitment to women artists with a flash tattoo! Tattoo artist Bibi Abelle draws inspiration from the museum’s collection to craft her masterpieces right in front of you—and on you. Registration and waiver to be completed on site. Estimated cost for a tattoo will be $150.  

    Seeking a less permanent tribute? Enjoy a complimentary temporary tattoo inspired by artworks and artists in and artists in NMWA’s collection. 
  • Photo booths 
    Come dressed as your favorite NMWA artwork or artist and capture the stylish moment in a photo booth. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to make art come alive. Keep the conversation going by sharing your photos and tag @WomenInTheArts and #NMWAnow.  
  • Typewriter Poetry 
    Interact with the brilliant minds of the Ars Poetica team and take home your own personalized poem. Make a request and watch as talented women poets bring your words to life using vintage typewriters. 
  • Sketching 
    Get a free NMWA-branded sketchbook filled with imaginative prompts to encourage close looking, drawing, writing and playing in the galleries.  
  • Button-Making 
    Make a wearable button adorned with designs inspired by the museum and its collection. 
  • Postcard-Writing 
    Grab a postcard custom designed by artist Amy Wike, highlighting the museum’s one-of-a-kind architecture. Share memories of your visit and the museum will mail the card on your behalf.  
  • Tastings  
    Indulge in a delectable journey through the offerings of women-owned businesses right here in the heart of Washington, D.C. Sample cocktails, mocktails and scrumptious snacks, including dumplings, empanadas, chocolate and more. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase. 
  • Spotlight Conversations 
    Discover some of NMWA’s featured artworks and artists during bite-sized conversations with NMWA staff throughout the day. 

11 a.m.–1:30 p.m. 

  • Les the DJ 
    With a mix of pop, indie and underground hits, Les the DJ creates a freeform fusion that’ll have everyone dancing to the beats of soul, funk, boogie, disco and old-school hip-hop. 

11 a.m.–2 p.m. 

  • Balloon Twister 
    Balloon artists from Balloon Twister create playful, museum-inspired sculptures (and souvenirs). 

2–4:40 p.m. 

  • BOOMscat  
    Featuring soul, electronic vibes and hip-hop grooves, BOOMscat provides an electrifying live performance.  

4:40–5 p.m. 

  • Batalá Washington 
    This all-female percussion band wraps up the day’s celebration with Afro-Brazilian beats and rhythms.   

The grand reopening weekend is generously underwritten by Bank of America.  

NMWA also has a full slate of programming throughout the fall, including Free Community Days on the first Sunday and second Wednesday of each month. 

Additional Reopening Programs: 

  • Gallery Talk 
    Wednesday, October 25, 12–12:30 p.m.  
    Facilitated by museum staff members, these conversational thematic talks highlight three to six works on view. Topics and locations in the museum vary; check the calendar for rotating areas of focus. Free. Reservations not required. Meet at the Information Desk. 
  • Creative’s Keynote: Katy Hessel 
    Sunday, November 12, 4–5 p.m., followed by Sunday Supper, 6–8 p.m. 

    Celebrate the return of Women, Arts and Social Change programming at the first Creative’s Keynote event. With the recent release of her book The Story of Art Without Men (W. W. Norton, 2023), British art historian and broadcaster Katy Hessel has gained renown for her advocacy for women and gender-nonconforming artists. In this program, Hessel will detail her experience as a curator and creative leader who centers overlooked artists from all over the world on a variety of platforms. She will discuss what women throughout the museum and visual arts fields can do to continue amplifying artists who deserve center spotlight. The program is followed by the museum’s signature Sunday Supper, during which speakers and participants will share a meal served family-style, with the goal of fostering connections among attendees. This program is presented in partnership with the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. $40; $37 students, seniors, D.C. residents; $35 NMWA members. Reservations required. 

National Museum of Women in the Arts 

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is the first museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women through the arts. With its collections, exhibitions, programs and online content, the museum inspires dynamic exchanges about art and ideas. NMWA advocates for better representation of women artists and serves as a vital center for thought leadership, community engagement and social change. NMWA addresses the gender imbalance in the presentation of art by bringing to light important women artists of the past while promoting great women artists working today. The collection highlights a wide range of works in a variety of mediums by artists including Rosa Bonheur, Louise Bourgeois, Lalla Essaydi, Lavinia Fontana, Frida Kahlo, Hung Liu, Zanele Muholi, Faith Ringgold, Niki de Saint Phalle and Amy Sherald. 

The museum building is currently closed for a major renovation, reopening on October 21. Visit nmwa.org/renovation for more information about the building project and nmwa.org/exhibitions for details about inaugural exhibitions. For information, call 202-783-5000, visit nmwa.org, Broad Strokes blog, Facebook or Instagram

Media Contacts  

Amy Mannarino, amannarino@nmwa.org, (202) 783-7373 
Emma Filar, efilar@nmwa.org, (202) 783-7377