Celebrate the Grand Reopening of Women’s Museum with new exhibitions and programs

A cloud-shaped silver wire, off-white resin, and white paper pulp sculpture hung against a white wall.

WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts will reopen to the public on October 21, 2023, after a major renovation. Be the first to see brand new galleries, visit the Mezzanine Café, and attend programs in the education studio. Attend the first Creative’s Keynote with Katy Hessel, art historian, podcaster and author of The Story of Art Without Men.

The information below is current as of September 2023. All times listed are Eastern Time. For more information, visit the museum’s online calendar. Live transcriptions are provided during most virtual programs. To request additional access services, please check the online calendar for contact information or email accessibility@nmwa.org.

In the Galleries

NMWA Now: Museum Reopening
Saturday, October 21, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
NMWA is open and ready to welcome you! Be among the first to explore The Sky’s the Limit exhibition and the remixed collection galleries. Join us as we celebrate the grand reopening with a day full of art making, interactive fun, performances and spotlight tours of our special exhibitions and newly renovated space. Activities include typewriter poetry by Ars Poetica, flash tattooing by Bibi Abelle and vodka tastings with Republic Restorative. Les the DJ, BOOMscat and Batala Afro Brazilian will perform. A full schedule of activities to come. Free. Reservations required and available in September.
The grand reopening weekend is generously underwritten by Bank of America. 

Reopening Weekend Free Day
Sunday, October 22, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Take part in our inaugural free community day in the renovated building. Explore new exhibitions and the remixed collection galleries, visit the Education and Public Programs Studio for art-making activities inspired by works on view and more. Free. Reservations required and available in September. The grand reopening weekend is generously underwritten by Bank of America.

Open Studio
Sundays, November 5, December 3, January 7; Wednesdays, November 8, December 13, January 10, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Join NMWA educators in the museum’s new Education and Public Programs Studio for free, drop-in art-making activities inspired by artworks on view. Activities and inspirations change each month. Visitors of all ages are invited to participate. Children 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Free with admission. Reservations not required.  

Gallery Talks
Wednesdays, October 25, November 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, December 6, 13, 20, 27, January 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 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.

Collection Highlights Tours
Fridays, November 3, 10, 17, December 1, 8, 15, 29, 2–2:45 p.m.; Sundays, November 5, December 3, 2–2:45 p.m.
Explore the museum’s collection during engaging, interactive, drop-in tours. These guided experiences feature six to eight works on view and highlight the creative contributions of artists from the 16th century to today. Free with admission.

Art Chat Live!
Friday, November 3, 5–6:30 p.m.
To celebrate the museum’s reopening and the diversity of the online community that we have developed and fostered over the past three years, join NMWA for a hybrid Art Chat @ 5. We welcome local participants to join us in person for a conversation in the galleries and those at a distance to join via Zoom. Free. Reservations required; choose in-person or online when registering.  

Free Community Day
Sunday, November 5; Wednesday, November 8; Sunday, December 3; Wednesday, December 13; Sunday, January 7; Wednesday, January 10, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Visit us on the first Sunday and second Wednesday of each month for free museum admission. Take this opportunity to explore our collection and current exhibitions. Free. Reservations required. 

Firsthand Experience Workshop
Saturday, December 9, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Firsthand Experiences bring contemporary artists together with learners ages 13 and up for hands-on programs that combine making, gallery conversations and discovery. For our inaugural Firsthand Experience since reopening, participants will see, make and play in our new spaces. Join us for accessible art-making projects contextualized by gallery conversations and activities. $25; $22 seniors/students/DC residents; $20 NMWA members. Reservations required

NMWA Nights
Wednesday, January 17, 5:30–8 p.m.
Join us on the third Wednesday evening of each month for a creative and engaging after-hours experience! Peruse the galleries, grab a cocktail, listen to a performance, attend a tour or participate in making and craft activities. Mark your calendar for a great time for you and your friends. $25; $22 for students/seniors; $20 NMWA members. Reservations required. 

Women, Arts, and Social Change

Creative’s Keynote: Katy Hessel
Sunday, November 12, 4–5 p.m., followed by Sunday Supper, 6–8 p.m.
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 non-conforming 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 panelists and participants will share a meal served family-style, with the goal of fostering connections among attendees. This program is a partnership with the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. $40; $37 Students, Seniors, D.C. Residents; $35 NMWA members. Reservations required. Tickets are available in October.

Fresh Talk: Digital Futures in Art and Design
Sunday, December 3, 4–5 p.m., followed by Catalyst Cocktail, 5–6 p.m.
In this Fresh Talk, digital artists, curators and designers will explore how technology is influencing the creation and sale of art and how it can be leveraged to emphasize gender equity for creatives. The conversation, moderated by curator and producer Luba Elliott, will feature digital artist and founder of Techism, Krista Kim; artist Nyla Hayes; and Metaverse designer and strategist Damara Inglês. $20; $17 Students, Seniors, D.C. residents; $15 NMWA members. Reservations required. Tickets are available in October.

Virtual Programs

Art Chats @ 5
Fridays, October 6; November 17; December 1, 15; January 19, 5–5:45 p.m.
Jump-start your weekend with art! Join NMWA educators online for informal 45-minute art chats about selected artworks in the collection. Each week the group will consider a new sampling of artworks. You can even enjoy your favorite happy hour drink or snack during the sessions. Free. Reservations required. Registration for each month’s Art Chats opens by the 20th of the preceding month.

For Educators

Welcome Back Educator Open House
Friday, November 10, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
Join NMWA educators and fellow teachers on Veteran’s Day as we celebrate the work you do. Enjoy interactive gallery explorations, hands-on activities in our new studio-classroom and an introduction to the brand new Learning Commons. Learn more about NMWA’s tour and school partnership possibilities as well as our latest classroom resources, with a particular focus on teaching with artworks and artist videos currently on view. Free. Reservations required.


The Sky’s the Limit
Opens October 21, 2023
The contemporary sculptures in this exhibition dangle from the ceiling, cascade down walls and extend far beyond their footprint on the gallery floor. Process-focused sculptures were pioneered by women creators in the mid-20th century, and they continually expand and redefine this medium. Never-before-exhibited artworks from the museum’s collection by Sonya Clark, Beatriz Milhazes, Cornelia Parker, Mariah Robertson, Shinique Smith and Joana Vasconcelos form the core of this presentation. They illuminate how artists use scale and the allure of materials for maximum impact. Towering artworks on view feature an array of found objects such as silver-plated vessels, hair combs, ostrich eggs and parasols, as well as essential materials ranging from aluminum to wool.

The Sky’s the Limit is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. This exhibition is underwritten by Presenting Sponsor Denise Littlefield Sobel. 

Curatorial research funds were provided by Marcia Myers Carlucci. Additional support for the exhibition catalogue comes from The Deborah Buck Foundation.  

Remix: The Collection
Opens October 21, 2023
Remix showcases familiar collection favorites as well as never-before-exhibited recent acquisitions. Artworks are grouped around themes, in some cases anchored by a medium and in others by an idea, that resonate among global artists across time, including photography, fiber works, the colors red and purple, nature, domesticity and more. 

Remix: The Collectionis organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. 

The exhibition is sponsored by Lugano Diamonds. 

Additional funding provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sue J. Henry and Carter G. Phillips Exhibition Fund, and the Clara M. Lovett Emerging Artists Fund.

In Focus: Artists at Work
Opens October 21, 2023
Enjoy a close-up look into the practices and perspectives of eight contemporary collection artists via short documentary-style videos. Presented in NMWA’s ground-floor Long Gallery, welcoming visitors to the renewed museum, these videos feature Ambreen Butt, Sonya Clark, Colette Fu, the Guerrilla Girls, Graciela Iturbide, Delita Martin, Rania Matar and Alison Saar. The installation’s intimate and immersive design sparks curiosity, inspires advocacy and encourages slow looking during visitors’ exploration of the museum. Dynamic graphic panels include information about each artist and share online resources as well as a map leading to their art on view at NMWA. Presented in two phases, with four artists highlighted in each phase, this series spotlights groundbreaking women artists at work today.

For this project, NMWA partnered with Emmy and James Beard award-winning film production company Smartypants and experiential design firm Art Processors to ensure an accessible and enriching experience.

In Focus: Artists at Work is produced by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in collaboration with Smartypants Pictures and Art Processors. 

The video series is generously supported by the members of NMWA. Project design is made possible through the generous support of Denise Littlefield Sobel, with additional funding provided by Jamie Gorelick and Richard Waldhorn.

Display screens contributed by Sony Corporation of America.

Hung Liu: Making History
Opens October 21, 2023
“Weeping” paintings and prints by Hung Liu (1948–2021)—featuring signature paint drips, layers of color, and cultural symbols—pay homage to overlooked figures in history, predominantly vulnerable women and children from the artist’s native China. Liu lived through Mao Zedong’s totalitarian regime during the Cultural Revolution before immigrating to the U.S., and her work reveals boundless empathy for the plights of the working class. Drawing inspiration from a collection of vintage photographs that she discovered on a return visit to China in the 1990s, she portrays migrant laborers, sex workers, female soldiers and refugees with dignity, endurance, strength and courage.

Hung Liu: Making History is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The exhibition is generously supported by Stephanie Sale and the members of NMWA.

Impressive: Antoinette Bouzonnet-Stella
Opens October 21, 2023
The Entrance of the Emperor Sigismond into Mantua (1675), an extraordinary series of 25 prints by 17th-century French artist Antoinette Bouzonnet-Stella (1641–1676) is presented at NMWA for the first time in almost 15 years. The exhibition explores the circumstances of the work’s creation and focuses on Bouzonnet-Stella’s life in Paris, where she lived and worked with her uncle, artist Jacques Stella, in his prestigious lodgings in the Louvre. There, she produced copies of his paintings and accepted commissions for works such as The Entrance of the Emperor Sigismond into Mantua, her best-known work.

Impressive: Antoinette Bouzonnet-Stella is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The exhibition is generously supported by Stephanie Sale and the members of NMWA.

Holding Ground: Artists’ Books for the National Museum of Women in the Arts
Opens October 21, 2023
Nine new works by celebrated book artists inaugurate NMWA’s new Learning Commons and its reinvigorated Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center. Some of the artists reflect on NMWA as a special place for art by women. Others remind viewers that creativity is expressed in other environs, from small interiors to vast outdoor geographies. Above all, the artists’ books celebrate the varied spaces where women’s creativity blooms. Participating artists include Alisa Banks, Adjoa J. Burrowes, Julie Chen, Suzanne Coley, IBé Crawley, Maricarmen Solis Diaz, Colette Fu, Kerry McAleer-Keeler and María Verónica San Martín.

Holding Ground: Artists’ Books for the National Museum of Women in the Arts is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The exhibition is made possible by a generous bequest from Marjorie B. Rachlin.  

Renovation: The museum building at 1250 New York Avenue NW is closed for a major renovation, with plans to reopen on October 21. 2023. Visit nmwa.org/renovation for more information.

Contact: nmwa.org, 202-783-5000

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