Upcoming Programs

All events are held virtually during the National Portrait Gallery’s temporary closure due to COVID-19.

Coming in August:

woman in blue standing in a blue stairway
Still from “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker,” a Netflix original. Photo (detail) by David Lee / Netflix.


PORTRAITS with Writers Janine Sherman Barrois and Elle Johnson of Netflix’s “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker”
Available Tuesday, Aug. 4

npg.si.edu/podcasts and various platforms

Tune in on Tuesday, Aug. 4, for a new episode of the PORTRAITS podcast with writers Janine Sherman Barrois and Elle Johnson of Netflix’s new limited series “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker.” Together with host and director of the National Portrait Gallery Kim Sajet, these writers go behind the scenes of one of Netflix’s latest productions to share how they created a cinematic portrait of the struggles and triumphs of Madam CJ Walker, the trailblazing African American entrepreneur who was America’s first female self-made millionaire. All episodes from PORTRAITS seasons one and two are available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, PRX, Radio Public, Spotify and Stitcher.

protesters with face masks on sticks.
Protest on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery, December 2010. Courtesy the Washington Post, photo: Bill O'Leary


Queer Art and Controversy at the Smithsonian: A Conversation with Lonnie G. Bunch III and John W. McCarter Jr.
Tuesday, Aug. 4, 5:00 p.m. EST
Online via Zoom

Join Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III and former Smithsonian Regent John W. McCarter Jr. for a discussion on the censorship of a video by David Wojnarowicz in the National Portrait Gallery’s 2010 exhibition “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.” This program is sponsored by the Tommie L. Pegues and Donald A. Capoccia Conversation Series on LGBTQ+ portraiture and is organized by PORTAL, the National Portrait Gallery’s Scholarly Center.

Free–Registration required

brown-toned portrait of a Black woman and a rose
Love Letter (detail) by Charles W. White, 1971. © 1971, The Charles White Archives. 

Love Letter, 2020: A Celebration of Black Women in Portraiture 
Thursday, Aug. 13, 3:30–5:00 p.m. EST
Online via Zoom

Join the National Portrait Gallery for an exploration of identity and biography through the lens of Black women in portraiture. Participants will discuss how visual culture lends itself to understanding the contributions of Black women in the history of art and in fields such as science, education, and politics. We will use elements of portrayal—visual clues found in portraits—to discover deeper meaning in a selection of works and to share joy through the celebration of Black women in art.

Free—Register at npg.eventbrite.com

book cover and photograph of a young Black man on the street
Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall | Malcolm X (detail) by Gordon Parks / 1963
Gelatin silver print / Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery


Art AfterWords: A Book Discussion
Tuesday, Aug. 18, 5:30–7:00 p.m. EST
Online via Zoom

Join the National Portrait Gallery and the DC Public Library for a virtual conversation about visual culture, activism, and prose. Join us as we reflect on Gordon Parks’s portrait of Malcolm X from the Portrait Gallery’s collection and discuss the related book, “Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot” by Mikki Kendall. Participants are encouraged to explore “Talking About Race,” the new resource from the National Museum of African American History and Culture before the event. DCPL cardholders can access “Hood Feminism” here.

Free—Register at npg.eventbrite.com.

performance artist in costume and woman in the woods in a long dress
Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz photo courtesy of Dominic DiPaolo / “Trailblazer (A Dream Deferred)” (detail) by Genevieve Gaignard, 2017. Inkjet print. Collection of the artist, courtesy of Vielmetter Los Angeles.


Genevieve Gaignard and Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz in Conversation with Taína Caragol
Tuesday, Aug. 18, 5:00 p.m. EST
Online via Zoom

Join Portrait Gallery curator Taína Caragol as she engages artists Genevieve Gaignard and Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz in a discussion of their individual photographic and performance practices. Gaignard’s work is featured in “The Outwin 2019” exhibition of contemporary portraiture, while Raimundi-Ortiz has participated in the Portrait Gallery’s IDENTIFY performance art series. This program is part of the Greenberg Steinhauser Forum in American Portraiture Conversation Series and is organized by PORTAL, the National Portrait Gallery's Scholarly Center.

Free–Registration required

sketch of a woman pointing and speaking forcefully
Leonora O'Reilly (detail) by Wallace Morgan, 1912


Instagram Live: A Discussion on Women's Suffrage with Kate Clarke Lemay and Lara Vapnek
Tuesday, Aug. 18
Instagram @smithsoniannpg

Experience the museum's first Instagram Live! Portrait Gallery historian Kate Clarke Lemay and Professor Lara Vapnek, who teaches history at St. John’s University, will delve into the long history of suffrage activism. On Aug. 18, 1920, the movement for women's voting rights culminated in Tennessee's vote to ratify the 19th amendment, which provided the two-thirds majority of states needed for the amendment to become law. The conversation will highlight Leonora O'Reilly, a "working girl" from New York City who became a leading suffrage advocate, and whose portrait is in the museum's collection. 

Weekly Virtual Programs for July and August:

Young Portrait Explorers
Tuesdays, 11:00 a.m. EST
Instagram @smithsoniannpg

Explore portraits of astronauts and activists, scientists and star athletes—and discover the stories behind them. Join the Portrait Gallery every Tuesday on Instagram Stories for a close look at a featured portrait. Then we’ll dig deeper with some discussion questions and get moving with fun activities on the day’s topic. Download PDF activity guides from the “Visit from Home” page of the Portrait Gallery’s website at npg.si.edu. For children ages 3 and up and their families.

Writing Hour
Tuesdays, 5:00 p.m. EST
Online via Zoom

Join us on Zoom for a virtual creative writing hour. We’ve set up an online space where writers can create, connect, and draw inspiration from the Portrait Gallery’s exhibitions on Google Arts & Culture. Free—Register at npg.eventbrite.com

Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. EST
Facebook @smithsoniannpg

Introducing… a new kind of story time! Each week we shine a light on some of this country's lesser-known history makers and their portraits. Join us on Facebook Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m. for Introducing… with a Portrait Gallery educator. Children will learn more about art, hear the stories behind the portraits, and even learn some new vocabulary. Select story times will be in Spanish. For children ages 3 and up and their families.

Drawn to Figures
Thursdays, 11:00 a.m. EST
YouTube @smithsoniannpg

Discover your inner artist in this online workshop on sketching the human body. On Thursdays at 11:00 a.m., artist Jill Galloway 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. Now available on YouTube.

Open Studios
Fridays, 11:00 a.m. EST
YouTube @smithsoniannpg

The Portrait Gallery is bringing its weekly art workshops to your home via YouTube! Every Friday at 11:00 a.m. on YouTube, we will post a video with a new activity or technique. Grab a family member or a roommate or make a virtual date with a friend to get creative with artist Jill Galloway. Artists of all ages and skill levels will enjoy creating art inspired by the Portrait Gallery's collection. Now available on YouTube.