National Portrait Gallery Highlights Women’s History Month With “Creativity Is Magic: Maya Lin Festival” and New Exhibitions

Highlights Include “Women of a Certain Age” on Google Arts & Culture
February 28, 2023
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Three separate images of women: one scrouches and laughs, one places her hands beneath her chin, one poses elegantly in dress

Credit: (Left) “Maya Lin working on Civil Rights Memorial” by Adam Stoltman, 1989. Photograph. Courtesy of Adam Stoltman. (Center) “Dr. Marta Moreno Vega” by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, 2011. Inkjet print. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Catherine and Ingrid Pino Duran. copyright 2011 Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. (Right) “Althea Gibson” by Brian Lanker, 1988. Gelatin silver print. Partial gift of Lynda Lanker and a museum purchase made possible with generous support from Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker, Agnes Gund, Kate Kelly and George Schweitzer, Lyndon J. Barrois Sr. and Janine Sherman Barrois, and Mark and CindyAron. Copyright Brian Lanker Archive

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery will commemorate Women’s History Month with several exhibitions and an all-ages festival celebrating the life and work of Maya Lin. As an architect, sculptor, environmentalist and designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lin creates work that meets at the intersection of art and environmentalism. Visitors to “Creativity Is Magic: Maya Lin Festival” will be invited to tour the museum’s “One Life: Maya Lin” exhibition, participate in Lin’s multi-site memorial “What Is Missing?,” engage in workshops and create art inspired by her designs. The festival is presented by the Portrait Gallery in collaboration with Smithsonian Gardens and the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum and will take place in the museum’s Kogod Courtyard Saturday, March 11, from noon to 3 p.m. Admission is free. 

The Portrait Gallery will also launch the new digital exhibition “Women of a Certain Age” for International Women’s Day March 8. It is one of the museum’s 11 digital exhibitions dedicated to the history of women in the United States that are accessible on Google Arts & Culture’s Women in Culture hub. Featuring portraits of 10 women leaders in different fields, it explores the careers of Leah Chase, Diane von Fürstenberg, Laura Gilpin, Katharine Graham, Gertrude Hadley Jeannette, Grandma Moses, Nampeyo, Alice Neel, Marta Moreno Vega and Hisaye Yamamoto. The digital exhibition complements “One Life: Maya Lin,” on view at the museum through April 16, and “I Dream a World: Selections from Brian Lanker’s Portrait of Remarkable Women” (Part II), which presents a suite of black-and-white photographs by the late photojournalist, on view at the museum through Aug. 27. 

Also on display are three recently commissioned works and one newly acquired photograph of the women who received the museum’s 2022 Portrait of a Nation Award: Ava DuVernay, Marian Wright Edelman, Serena Williams and Venus Williams. As part of the museum’s “Portrait of a Nation: 2022 Honorees” exhibition, the portraits will remain on view through Oct. 22.

Other digital exhibitions accessible on the Portrait Gallery’s Google Arts & Culture page, which has received more than 2.2 million views, include: 

  • “Hung Liu: Portraits of Promised Lands” (August 2021–May 2022), an online adaptation of the first major exhibition of the artist's work on the East Coast. 
  • “First Ladies” (November 2020–May 2021), an online adaptation of the first major exhibition to explore the historical significance of the prominent position through the mode of portraiture. 
  • “Where There Is a Woman There Is Magic” (online-only exhibition) highlights women in the National Portrait Gallery collection who have contributed in the fields of business, science, education, the arts, sports, politics and beyond over the past 150 years.
  • “Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence” (March 2019–January 2020), an online adaptation of the first exhibition to outline the more than 80-year movement for women to obtain the right to vote as part of the larger struggle for equality that continued through the 1965 Civil Rights Act and arguably lingers today. 
  • “A Deep Dive into the Portrait of Ocean Conservationist Julie Packard” (online-only exhibition) features the leading scientist who works to save the oceans and discover some of the marine life she helps protect.
  • “Immortalized in Medicine and on Canvas” (online only exhibition) highlights the controversial, lifesaving legacy of Henrietta Lacks, known as “the Mother of modern medicine.”
  • “One Life: Dolores Huerta” (July 2015–May 2016) focuses on Huerta’s significant role as a leader in the California farm workers’ movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The online exhibition reflects the Portrait Gallery’s first “One Life” series exhibition devoted to a Latina.
  • “Maxine Singer: Picturing a Life in Science” (online-only exhibition) highlights the career of renowned molecular biologist Maxine Singer by closely examining two portraits in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection.
  • “Phenomenal Physicist: A Portrait of Chien-Shiung Wu” (online-only exhibition) highlights the life and career of one of the most accomplished nuclear physicists of the 20th century.
  • “Who Is Pocahontas?” (online-only exhibition) where visitors can discover portraiture by comparing and contrasting two portraits.

National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of the United States through the individuals who have shaped American culture. Spanning the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the nation’s story.

The National Portrait Gallery is located at Eighth and G streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Connect with the museum at and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Google Arts & Culture 

Google Arts & Culture puts the treasures, stories and knowledge of over 3,000 cultural institutions from 80 countries at people’s fingertips. If Google’s mission is to make the world’s information more accessible, then Arts & Culture’s mission is to make the world’s culture accessible to anyone, anywhere. It is people’s doorway to explore art, history and wonders of the world. Discover stories about cultural heritage ranging from Van Gogh’s bedroom paintings, Puerto Rico’s heritage, Sports in Australia or the women’s right movement to ancient Maya temples, Japanese Food and Indian Railways.

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Gabrielle Obusek


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