Washington, D.C.—Women, Arts and Social Change (WASC), the celebrated initiative taking museum programing to a new level with sold-out curated conversations, communal dinners and dynamic events, returns to the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) for its third season, beginning in September 2017. Key speakers include artist Judy Chicago as well as the directors of Tate Modern, London; the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; and the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. A champion for women in the arts, NMWA is the only United States museum presenting an ongoing platform for women to advance ideas and solutions to society’s most pressing social issues.
“When we launched Women, Arts, and Social Change in 2015, our goal was to activate our community by convening women in the arts and leaders from other sectors,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “We are thrilled by the success of our outreach to new audiences through new programming. And, we will continue to build a strong and engaged community, all while inspiring women to effect change.”
The museum’s signature WASC program, Fresh Talk, features women from a range of disciplines whose socially conscious ideas are reshaping lives, economies and communities. Each Fresh Talk is followed by cocktails or dinner, fostering conversations and connections among participants and speakers that plant the seeds for change. With the hashtag #FreshTalk4Change, the museum encourages social media engagement before, during and after programs, and live-streams each Fresh Talk. In addition to Fresh Talk programs, the WASC initiative includes Cultural Capital sessions—public program partnerships with leading Washington, D.C.-based organizations.
Fresh Talk attendees have been consistently enthusiastic, citing the “inspiring speakers,” “sense of community” and “focus on advocacy.” A recent participant said, “Fresh Talk demonstrates that museums are locations for raising consciousness and motivating social action.” Another attendee noted, “It’s very important that museums provide this kind of platform for people, especially people who historically haven’t had a voice in these spaces, to connect and build together.”
At each Fresh Talk, the museum invites participants to join the conversation during Sunday Supper, a communal meal served family-style, or at Catalyst, a cocktail hour with a topic and a twist. These social experiments in conversation-building create community by sharing ideas for change. Admission to Fresh Talk programs is $25 for general admission; $15 for members, seniors and students, and includes museum admission and complimentary cocktails or dinner. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fresh Talk Programs
Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, 4:30–6 p.m., followed by Sunday Supper, 6–8 p.m.
How can the arts amplify women’s voices and visibility? Feminist art pioneer Judy Chicago joins in conversation with Alison Gass, director of the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, about her ongoing dedication to amplifying women’s voices—perhaps most famously in The Dinner Party (1979). The iconic installation, regarded as the first epic feminist artwork, represents 1,038 women in history and is the subject of two fall exhibitions, one from the NMWA Archives (Sept. 17, 2017–Jan. 5, 2018), and one at the Brooklyn Museum.
FORUM: El Tendedero/The Clothesline Project with Mónica Mayer
Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, 4:30–6 p.m., followed by Sunday Supper, 6–8 p.m.
Fresh Talk Forums reach beyond the museum’s walls with interactive art projects and community collaborations. This inaugural Fresh Talk Forum with Mexico City-based artist Mónica Mayer focuses on the ways art can create awareness and inspire community-based advocacy directed at reducing violence against women—from sexual harassment to domestic violence. Mayer brings her important El Tendedero/The Clothesline Project to Washington in September, working with local artists, activists and organizations. Their work culminates with this Fresh Talk, featuring Mayer in conversation with project participants. The project also includes an installation in the museum’s Long Gallery on view Nov. 10, 2017–Jan. 5, 2018.
RIGHTING THE BALANCE III: Can there be gender parity in museums?
Sunday, March 18, 2018, 4:30–6 p.m., followed by Sunday Supper, 6–8 p.m.
The third annual “Righting the Balance” Fresh Talk explores whether true gender parity in museums is possible. Museums across Europe including the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, London’s Tate Modern, and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris are committing to presenting works by women artists and highlighting the contributions of women artists who have traditionally been overlooked. What do these changes mean, and how will they be sustained? What is the impact on institutions and audiences? Laurence des Cars, director of the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; Frances Morris, director, Tate Modern, London; and Eike Schmidt, director, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, address these questions and more.
Sunday, April 15, 2018, 4:30–6 p.m., followed by Sunday Supper, 6–8 p.m.
How can the documentary film industry disrupt stereotypical representations of women and girls? Directors, producers and advocates discuss how the portrayal of women and girls in media is shifting, and how documentary filmmaking can advocate for more diverse narratives. Joining the conversation are Esther Pearl, executive director, Camp Reel Stories, a media camp for girls; Tiffany Shlain, founder of the Webby Awards and cofounder of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences; and more to be announced.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 7–8:30 p.m., followed by Catalyst cocktail hour, 8:30–9:30 p.m.
Poets have long been society’s truth-tellers and witnesses, using language to illuminate human trials, histories and hopes. A night of spoken-word performance and conversation with award-winning poets whose work explores and celebrates cultural heritage, womanhood and helps us to imagine better futures. With Elizabeth Acevedo, poet and young-adult novelist, and Emi Mahmoud, poet and activist.
El Tendedero/The Clothesline Project, D.C.
Nov. 10, 2017–Jan. 5, 2018
Since 1978, artist Mónica Mayer has been implementing El Tendedero/The Clothesline Project in various museums and communities throughout Mexico, South America and the U.S., asking women from different classes, ages and professions to respond to the statement “As a woman, what I dislike most about my city is…” Participants write their responses on small pink ballots, which are then hung on a clothesline. This traditionally feminine form doubles as a useful tool to communicate with other women about violence against women—including sexual harassment, domestic violence and trafficking. Working with artists, activists and organizations in the Washington area, Mayer will facilitate another of her important Clothesline Project participatory works in September. The installation at the museum in November will document the results of the project, using content created through community outreach. Presented in partnership with community organizations serving women, including La Clinica del Pueblo.
Cultural Capital Sessions
With outreach to new audiences, NMWA’s Cultural Capital partnerships increase the museum’s visibility in the region. Admission and reservation requirements for Cultural Capital sessions vary.
Women of Film/Mujeres de Cine
Monday, Oct. 2, 2017
Screening of Director Nely Reguera’s feature debut Maria (y los demas),part of Mujeres de Cine: Traveling Spanish Film Showcase Made by Women, an initiative from SPAIN arts & culture presenting and celebrating Spanish films and short films made by women.
Now Be Here #4, DMV
Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, 6:30 p.m.
In partnership with Los Angeles-based artist Kim Schoenstadt, the Now Be Here project comes to D.C. for its fourth and final U.S. iteration, gathering female and female-identifying visual artists in the vibrant local contemporary art community for a group photograph and night of conversation and connection. Co-organized by D.C.-based artist Linn Meyers, Now Be Here #4, DMV includes a cocktail hour, featuring an artist resource fair with representatives from local arts organizations and nonprofit galleries.
Creative Mornings DC
Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, 8–10 a.m.
Presented in partnership with Creative Mornings DC, a free, monthly breakfast lecture series for the creative community.
Arena Stage–Power Plays, Women’s Voices
Presented in partnership with Arena Stage featuring their Power Plays initiative that shines a spotlight on women playwrights writing about our country’s political life. Current commissioned playwrights include Sarah Ruhl, Eve Ensler and Mary Kathryn Nagle writing about Native American sovereignty.
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Presented in partnership with the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, the world’s premier showcase of environmentally themed films.
March on Washington Film Festival
Presented in partnership with the March on Washington Film Festival, which strives to increase awareness of the events and heroes of the Civil Rights Era and inspire renewed passion for activism.
The Women, Arts and Social Change public program initiative is made possible through leadership gifts from Denise Littlefield Sobel, the MLDauray Arts Initiative, The Reva and David Logan Foundation, and the Swartz Foundation. Additional support is provided by Deborah G. Carstens, the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, and the Bernstein Family Foundation.
American Airlines is the official airline of the museum’s 30th Anniversary.
Women, Arts and Social Change
Women, Arts and Social Change (WASC) is an acclaimed platform at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., composed of programs highlighting the power of women and the arts as catalysts for change. Debuting in 2015, these programs convene women from a range of disciplines whose socially conscious ideas are reshaping lives and economies, engaging communities and empowering women. WASC is a unique forum for innovators and thought leaders to engage audiences in creative conversations on art, design, gender, equity, the environment, identity, education, health, social and economic opportunity, and more. #FreshTalk4Change
The National Museum of Women in the Arts
The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is the world’s only major museum solely dedicated to celebrating the creative contributions of women. The museum champions women through the arts by collecting, exhibiting, researching and creating programs that advocate for equity and shine a light on excellence. NMWA highlights remarkable women artists of the past while also promoting the best women artists working today. The museum’s collection includes over 4,700 works by more than 1,000 women artists from the 16th century to the present, including Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, Alma Thomas, Lee Krasner, Louise Bourgeois, Chakaia Booker and Nan Goldin.
NMWA is located at 1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., in a landmark building near the White House. It is open Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday, noon–5 p.m. For information, call 202-783-5000 or visit nmwa.org. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for visitors 65 and over and students, and free for NMWA members and youths 18 and under. Free Community Days take place on the first Sunday of each month. For more information about NMWA, visit nmwa.org, Broad Strokes Blog, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.