Spring 2019 Calendar of Events at NMWA

View of the museum from outside showing the Neoclassical building from one corner. The building is a tan-colored stone with an arched doorway, long vertical windows, and detailed molding around the roof.

WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is pleased to present a wide range of exhibitions and programs, including workshops, films and gallery talks related to the exhibition Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling; a new version of the much raved about and in demand “Fierce Women” tour; and two Fresh Talk programs exploring gender equity in writing and jewelry design. Additional Women’s History Month highlights include the #5WomenArtists social media campaign and a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon.

The first Sunday of every month is a Community Day with free admission to the public. The information below is current as of January 2019.


Daily in March on Social Media
Can you name five women artists? Many people cannot. Join us in our award-winning social media campaign to increase gender equity in the arts by using #5WomenArtists to share important contributions by women artists on social media. Share your #5WomenArtists answers on Instagram and Twitter and tag @WomenInTheArts. Free. No reservations required.

Fresh Talks

Fresh Talk: Writing the Balance
Wednesday, April 24, 7–8:30 p.m.; followed by Catalyst, a cocktail hour with a topic and a twist, 8:30–9:30 p.m.
Women across disciplines are fighting for gender equality by revising history’s dominant narratives. Join us for a conversation that explores how this rewriting extends beyond the page and into our society. Amy Padnani, creator of the New York Times “Overlooked” series, joins Hilary Sample, architect, principal and cofounder of MOS Architects, to discuss the necessities and challenges of shedding light on buried histories. How does shifting the narrative advance gender equity? $25 general; $20 members, seniors, students. Price includes museum admission and Catalyst cocktail hour.

Fresh Talk: Accessory to Action—Adorning Wakanda
Sunday, June 30,4:30–6 p.m.; followed by Catalyst, a cocktail hour with a topic and a twist, 6–8 p.m.
As Marvel Comics’ first licensed jewelry designer, Douriean Fletcher created the power-packed accessories for Black Panther—the top-grossing superhero film ever in the U.S. The Afro-futurist-inspired design propelled audiences into a world where power and gender roles were based on expertise and ability. With the jewelry in a starring role, Fletcher created a look that reflected gender equity in Wakandan society. Join us for a conversation that explores how we can achieve it in our own. $25 general; $20 members, seniors, students. Price includes museum admission and Catalyst cocktail hour.

In the Galleries

Free Community Day
Sundays, March 3, April 7, May 5 and June 2, 12–5 p.m.
The first Sunday of every month is Community Day at NMWA, with free admission to the public. Take this opportunity to explore current exhibitions as well as the museum’s newly reinstalled collection. Free. No reservations required.

Drop-In Tour: Fierce Women 2.0
Sundays, March 3, April 7, May 5 and June 2, 1–2 p.m.
Discover a diverse cast of fierce women artists who refused to let men define their place; pushed back on the limited roles society accorded them; and blazed trails as artists, activists and innovators. If you’ve participated in our “Fierce Women” tour and want more, this is your chance to meet a new squad of pioneering artists. Inspired by Museum Hack, this unconventional, fast-paced tour is fun, fearless and free. Free. No reservations required, but space is limited. First come, first served—sign up at the Information Desk upon arrival. Tour departs from the Great Hall.

Conversation Pieces
Most days, 2 p.m.

Join us for 30-minute “conversation pieces” most days at 2 p.m. These brief and informative experiences with museum staff spotlight two works on view. Check in at the Information Desk to learn more. Free with admission. No reservations required.

Lunchtime Gallery Talks
Most Wednesdays, March 6–June 26, 12–12:30 p.m.
Express lunchtime talks—30 minutes or fewer—are offered most Wednesdays. Facilitated by museum staff members, these conversational thematic talks highlight three to six works on view. Free. No reservations required.

Slow Art Day
Saturday, April 6, 12–2 p.m.
Join a movement! Slow Art Day is an international event encouraging people of all ages to visit museums and to look at art slowly. Participants will examine at least five works of art for 10 minutes each and then meet together over lunch to talk about their experiences. Simple by design, the goal is to focus on the artwork and the art of seeing. Museum staff will be present to provide you with artwork suggestions and questions to consider. Free with museum admission. Reservation required.

Artists in Conversation: Ambreen Butt
Tuesday, April 9, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Pakistani-American artist Ambreen Butt (b. 1969) shares her story and discusses the artwork featured in Ambreen Butt—Mark My Words during this in-gallery program. Trained in traditional Indian and Persian miniature painting, an art form used in illustrated manuscripts, Butt reimagines the genre to feature contemporary female protagonists and political subject matter.

Following the in-gallery talk, guests will have time to explore the galleries, speak with the artist and enjoy food and beverages. Reservations required. $25 general; $15 members, seniors, students. 

Color-Full Fun for Young Learners
Saturday, June 15, 10–11 a.m.
Young Learner Tours, exclusively for children ages 3–6 and their guardians, are designed to get little bodies moving, minds thinking, hands making, and mouths talking about works of art. Participants go on an adventure through the galleries and look closely at works in the collection.

They learn about NMWA, practice museum manners and discover art concepts through developmentally appropriate discussions, a themed story and hands-on activities. During this color-focused tour, participants will become “Color Detectives,” looking closely at artworks to discover the colors of the rainbow; discover the ways in which artists use color to represent the natural world and express emotion; learn the difference between primary and secondary colors, and between warm and cool shades; and Explore art materials and practice color mixing to create their own artwork. Note: One adult chaperone per three young learners is required. Reservations required. Free. Reserve online.

Special Events

Cultural Capital: PEN/Faulkner Foundation presents “Fantastic Women”
Sunday, March 10, 7–9 p.m.

Part of PEN/Faulkner’s Literary Conversations series, “Fantastic Women” celebrates the work of Lesley Nneka Arimah, Kelly Link and Carmen Maria Machado, women writers who use elements of the fantastic in their fiction to explore crucial themes including power, sexuality, identity and loss without the constraints imposed by strict realism. These authors play with the boundaries of time and space through short stories and novels, and use their writing to push back against the traditional boundaries of women’s fiction. This event will be an unforgettable night of engaging conversation. Reservations required. $25 general; $20 members, seniors, students. 

Exhibition Opening Party: Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling
Thursday, March 21, 7:30–9:30 p.m.

Join us to celebrate the opening of our newest exhibition, Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling. Guests will enjoy early access to the exhibition, an open bar featuring Ketel One vodka and Johnnie Walker Black cocktails, and a fun pierogi bar as a tongue-in-cheek nod to the artist’s Polish heritage. $35 general; $25 members. Reservations required.

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon 2019: Women Artists as Changemakers
Saturday, March 23, 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
In honor of Women’s History Month, NMWA will host its 6th annual Art+Feminism edit-a-thon focused on improving Wikipedia entries related to notable women artists and art world figures. We will work to improve the representation of all women artists, with an emphasis on those who have used their art to effect social change. This event is part of a global initiative to help improve Wikipedia’s gender imbalance. In 2018, more than 4,000 Art+Feminism participants created or improved 22,000 Wikipedia pages. Keep the movement alive in 2019! No experience necessary—just bring a laptop, motivation to combat gender bias and a belief in equal access to quality information resources. People of all gender identities and expressions are invited to participate. Free. Reservations required.

2019 Spring Gala
Friday, April 12, 6:30 p.m.

Join co-chairs Marcy Cohen, Kristen Lund and Sara O’Keefe for a special night at the museum’s largest annual fundraising event. The evening features dinner, dancing and a silent auction. Proceeds benefit exhibitions and programming, allowing us to champion women artists of the past, present and future. Please contact Fiona Murray at fmurray@nmwa.org for ticket pricing, sponsorship opportunities and more information.


Cultural Capital: Environmental Film Festival
Saturday, March 23, 1–3 p.m.
The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital (DCEFF) is the world’s premier showcase of environmentally themed films. Each March, DCEFF presents more than 100 films to audiences of more than 20,000. A proud partner since 2013, NMWA will host a film highlighting women and the environment. Title to be announced. Reservations required. Free. Reservations will be available on the festival’s website in mid-February.

Contemporary Women Artists from Art21 
Sundays, April 7, May 5 and June 2, 2:15–3:15 p.m. 
In this three-part film series, learn about 13 contemporary women artists whose work is on view at NMWA. This series features artist segments from Art21’s productions Artist to ArtistExtended Play and the Peabody Award-winning PBS television series Art in the Twenty-First Century. Free. No reservations required. First come, first served seating. Performance Hall opens for seating at 2 p.m. 

  • Part 1 | April 7: Marina Abramović, Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois and Graciela Iturbide
  • Part 2 | May 5: Kimsooja, Barbara Kruger, Sally Mann and Zanele Muholi
  • Part 3 | June 2: Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, Kiki Smith, Valeska Soares and Ursula von Rydingsvard

Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own
Wednesday, May 1, 6:30–9 p.m.
Join us for a special preview of Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own (2019), a feature documentary by Daniel Traub and Ken Kobland. A portrait of the prolific artist, the film tells the story of von Rydingsvard’s early life and her profound drive to become an artist. It also documents the entire process—from construction to installation—of a recent, monumental sculpture for Princeton University, which turns out to be the most complex and difficult commission of her career. Told mostly through her own voice and writings, the film also includes interviews with colleagues, family members and close friends. Screening followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers, the artist and a reception. Reservations required. $15 general; $10 members, seniors, students. Presented in collaboration with the DCEFF.


Firsthand Experience Workshop: Collage
Saturday, April 13, 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
In this collage workshop, participants will work with Washington, D.C.-based artist and educator Dafna Steinberg to learn how to repurpose sourced images, photographs, magazine pages, vintage materials, fabrics and fibers to create imaginative new works of art. Drawing on the special exhibition Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling for inspiration, participants will encounter examples of collage and assemblage that will fuel their creativity. Materials provided. Ages 13 and older. $25 general; $15 members, seniors, students. Reservations required.

Firsthand Experience Workshop: Papermaking  
Saturday, May 25, 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Paper is ubiquitous. Almost daily you engage with and use paper—turning book pages made of it, writing on it, receiving and sending it as mail, recycling it. But when was the last time you produced paper? Join local artist, educator and arts administrator Gretchen Schermerhorn for an opportunity to dive into the papermaking process. A portion of the workshop will be spent in the special exhibition Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling, which contains inspirational examples of handmade paper. Materials provided. Ages 13 and older. $25 general; $15 members, seniors, students. Reservations required.

Scout Program: Cadette Girl Scouts’ Book Artist Badge Program
Saturday, June 22, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Designed for Cadette Girl Scouts, though open to all interested students in grades 6–8, this interactive program introduces participants to bookmaking. Through an introduction of the museum’s collection of artists’ books, an exploration of the anatomy of a book and an opportunity to use the tools and techniques of book artists, participants will walk away with a well-rounded understanding of the art. This program satisfies all five steps of the Cadette Book Artist Badge and provides a badge to each Girl Scout participant who successfully completes these requirements. $15. Reservations required.


Shenson Chamber Music Concert: Aletheia Piano Trio
Wednesday, April 10, 7:30–9 p.m.

Artistic Director Gilan Tocco Corn welcomes the Aletheia Piano Trio. Comprising violinist Francesca dePasquale, cellist Juliette Herlin and pianist Fei-Fei Dong, the trio is rising to acclaim for their impassioned energy, musical integrity and formidable ensemble. Formed in 2013 at the Juilliard School, the trio has performed at the Rose Studio and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York and the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Free. Reservations required.

Shenson Chamber Music Concert: Amaranth Quartet
Wednesday, May 8, 7:30–9 p.m.
Artistic Director Gilan Tocco Corn welcomes the Amaranth Quartet for their Washington, D.C. debut. Comprising violinists Emily Botel and Abigail Shiman, violist Julie Michael and cellist Helen Newby, the group will present the world premieres of two new commissions by composers Sahba Aminikia and Alyssa Weinberg. Founded in 2014, Amaranth performs frequently at concert series, festivals and tours throughout North America. The group has worked with a number of established and emerging composers. Free. Reservations required.

Education programming is made possible by Mrs. Marjorie Rachlin, the Leo Rosner Foundation, SunTrust, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Wells Fargo, the Harriet E. McNamee Youth Education Fund, William and Christine Leahy, and the Junior League of Washington.

The Women, Arts, and Social Change public programs initiative is made possible through leadership gifts from Denise Littlefield Sobel, the Dauray/Davis Family Fund, and the Susan and Jim Swartz Public Programs Fund. Additional funding is provided by the Bernstein Family Foundation, The Reva and David Logan Foundation, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The 2018–2019 Shenson Chamber Music Concert Series is made possible by support from Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation in memory of Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson, and The Honorable Mary V. Mochary.

Exhibitions on View

More is More: Multiples
May 3–September 15, 2019
Multiples—three-dimensional art objects produced in series of identical editions—find their way from the shelves of retail stores into museum collections and the homes of consumers worldwide. This focus exhibition featuring approximately 25 multiples highlights the medium’s sense of whimsy. Textiles, ceramics, clothing, decorative objects and toys by women artists frequently offer tongue-in-cheek social and cultural commentary. A number of works in More is More were created to benefit charitable initiatives within the arts. Eye-catching multiples by Cindy Sherman, Mickalene Thomas, Barbara Kruger, Helen Marten, Jiha Moon and others invite inquiry into the temptation of retail and the allure of fine art.

Power in My Hand: Women Poets, Women Artists, and Social Change
April 1–August 30, 2019, in the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center
Open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.
A shared yearning for free expression has animated an enduring solidarity between women poets and artists. Using words and images, brimming with passion and determination, they communicate with and inspire one another across geographic boundaries and historic eras. Such devotion is evident in Muriel Rukeyser’s honor poem for the German artist Käthe Kollwitz and in Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party homage to Emily Dickinson. The critic Lucy Lippard has argued that “making poetry out of politics, making art from lives lived outside of power, and making politics out of that art and poetry—these are the three solid dimensions, the third power of the women’s liberation movement.” This collection of printed poems, artists’ books and art objects celebrates these creative and social bonds.

Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling
March 22–July 28, 2019

Monumental wood sculptures by Ursula von Rydingsvard (b. 1942, Deensen, Germany) evoke the grandeur and power of nature. They simultaneously bear evidence of the artist’s meticulous process of cutting, shaping and assembling her works from thousands of cedar blocks. The Contour of Feeling focuses on von Rydingsvard’s work since 2000 and her continued commitment to experimentation. The presentation includes many sculptures not previously exhibited in the United States. Made from wood or other organic materials, including leather, silk and hair, these works present a window into the distinctive synthesis of emotional fragility and imposing scale that defines von Rydingsvard’s art. The exhibition is organized by the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia and guest curator Mark Rosenthal.

Ambreen Butt—Mark My Words
December 7, 2018–April 14, 2019

Pakistani-American artist Ambreen Butt (b. 1969, Lahore, Pakistan) combines her training in traditional, labor-intensive miniature painting, an art form used in Indian and Persian illustrated manuscripts, with contemporary political subject matter. This focus exhibition of works on paper explores her exceptional range of mark-making techniques, including drawing, stitching, staining, etching and gluing. Butt’s imagery—both figurative and semi-abstract—evokes organic and free-flowing movement, while her subject matter grapples with persistent tensions: between religious ideologies and political oppression, beauty and violence, and past and present. The artist’s embrace of varied mark-making processes enriches her work and speaks to broader ideas of women making their marks on society.

New York Avenue Sculpture Project: Betsabeé Romero
September 28, 2018–September 20, 2020

The dynamic works of Mexico City-based artist Betsabeé Romero (b. 1963) form the next chapter in NMWA’s public art program, the New York Avenue Sculpture Project, established in 2010. Signals of a Long Road Together comprises four sculptures developed expressly for this installation. Using a process similar to tattooing, Romero carves figures and intricate patterns into the sidewalls and treads of tires, and then fills in the motifs with gleaming metallic paint. She will assemble her carved and painted tires into totemic structures that speak to themes of human migration and the natural environment. Romero’s sculptures are the first in the New York Avenue Sculpture Project to incorporate interior lighting, which gives each piece an otherworldly glow after dark.

Full Bleed: A Decade of Photobooks and Photo Zines by Women
July 30, 2018–March 29, 2019, in the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center
Open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.
Although contemporary life is awash in digital images, the photobook remains a meaningful and thriving form. A deliberate, ordered and sometimes narrative arrangement of photographic images bound in a book with little or no text, the photobook is an intimate presentation from photographer to viewer, one on one. Photo zines are a common offshoot of traditional zines, self-published at a relatively low cost and occasionally serialized. Many photo zines take images from networked image platforms like Instagram; they translate fleeting digital imagery into a static and permanent form. This selection of photobooks and photo zines, created by an international group of women in the last ten years, embodies essential truths told through eclectic visual vocabularies.

More is More: Multiples, presented in the Teresa Lozano Long Gallery of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, is organized by the museum and generously supported by the members of NMWA.

Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling is organized by The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, and guest curator Mark Rosenthal. Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feelingis supported by the National Endowment for the Arts; Heidi and Tom McWilliams; Agnes Gund; Harvey S. Shipley Miller, the Shipley Miller Foundation; the Arcadia Foundation; Barbara B. and Theodore R. Aronson; the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation; Katie Adams Schaeffer and Tony Schaeffer; Maja Paumgarten and John Parker; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; ForGood Fund; Henry S. McNeil; Constance H. Williams; Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz; Tony and Lynn Hitschler; and Anonymous Donors. Presentation of the exhibition at NMWA is made possible by RBC Wealth Management and City National Bank, Share Fund, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Ambreen Butt—Mark My Words, presented in the Teresa Lozano Long Gallery of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, is organized by the museum and made possible through the generous support of the Belinda de Gaudemar Curatorial Fund. Additional funding is provided by the members of NMWA.

New York Avenue Sculpture Project: Betsabeé Romero is made possible with funding provided by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Public Art Building Communities Program, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, with support provided by the Sue J. Henry and Carter G. Phillips Exhibition Fund. The exhibition is organized by the museum in partnership with the DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) and with assistance from the Embassy of Mexico’s Cultural Institute.

Visitor Information

HOURS: Museum hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon–5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day         

LOCATION: 1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005, two blocks north of Metro Center

ADMISSION: 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.

WEBSITE: nmwa.org

PHONE: 202-783-5000

SOCIAL MEDIA: Broad Strokes Blog, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.