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The Smithsonian American Art Museum is collaborating for the eighth year in a row with the National Cherry Blossom Festival for a series of virtual cherry blossom-themed public programs from March 20 to April 11. The museum’s virtual suite of cherry blossom family activities and celebrations is part of its popular online Family Zone series, designed to spark learning, creativity and appreciation for the arts.
Saturday, March 20, at 10 a.m. ET, the Smithsonian American Art Museum will present a free Virtual Cherry Blossom Celebration for children and families. A Japanese taiko performance by the drumming group Nen Daiko kicks off the celebration along with a demonstration and explanation on how the group plans their performances and designs their own instruments. A virtual presentation of artworks in the museum’s collection by docents will encourage families to explore art, nature and color. Additional activities will be available on the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Family Zone webpage, including seasonal crafts, coloring pages inspired by artworks from the museum’s permanent collection, videos and more. Information about the event and a link to register for the Virtual Cherry Blossom Celebration is available online at americanart.si.edu/events
On the following Saturday, March 27, at 10 a.m. ET, the Art & Me Preservation Family Workshop will celebrate cherry blossom season and the start of spring. This virtual hands-on, artmaking workshop is designed for children ages 3 to 8 and their caretakers. Families will discover how Smithsonian conservators preserve an array of artworks, from paintings to Japanese tea bowls, then they will be guided on how to make their own cherry blossom-inspired creations. This program is presented in partnership with the National Cherry Blossom Festival and is part of a yearlong series cohosted by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery—the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. This program is free; registration is required via Eventbrite.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum will present two cherry blossom-themed virtual workshops as part of its popular series “Beyond the Studio” workshops. The founders of Rock Paper Plant, Alicia Mazzara and Cielo Contreras will teach participants the basics of needle felting and how to create their own 3D cherry blossom out of wool Sunday, March 28, at 1 p.m. ET. Artist and educator Emily Paluska of Revery Paper Flora will instruct participants on the details of paper botanical design and how to create a one-of-a-kind floral piece without dirt and upkeep Sunday, April 11, at 1 p.m. ET. Both events are sold out.
“Art in Bloom” With the National Cherry Blossom Festival
Nora Atkinson, the Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge for the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, served as member of the selection committee for the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s inaugural “Art in Bloom” event. Atkins and five other members of the committee selected 25 local and national artists to design giant cherry blossom sculptures for the 2021 festival. Beginning March 20, area visitors and residents can go on a scavenger hunt to find these giant cherry blossom sculptures in outdoor locations throughout Washington, D.C., and neighboring areas. The new “Art in Bloom” event is a unique festival project committed to making public art accessible, with city-wide engagement, enhancing artist and viewer experiences.
“Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020” Featured Exhibition
The latest exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery (currently closed to the public temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic), celebrates the wonders of the natural world. “Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020” features artists Lauren Fensterstock, Timothy Horn, Debora Moore and Rowland Ricketts. Each invited artist looks to nature as source of inspiration and to reexamine what it means to be human in a world increasingly chaotic and divorced from the physical landscape. Representing a range of craft media from fiber and mosaic to glass and metals, these artists approach the long history of art’s engagement with the natural world through unconventional and highly personal perspectives.
Moore is best known for capturing the expressive nature of flora and fauna through her detailed glass sculptures. In “Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020,” she presents a life-size cherry blossom tree made almost entirely of glass as part of her tour de force series “Aboria” (2018). Ricketts highlights traditional Japanese farming and dying methods for cultivating indigo in his hand-woven and hand-dyed large-scale installation “Ai no Keshiki—Indigo Views.” “Forces of Nature” marks the American debut of “Ai no Keshiki—Indigo Views,” a work developed in 2018 in rural Japan, where Ricketts apprenticed with indigo farmers and dyers to learn his craft. Ricketts has collaborated extensively with the municipal cultural affairs division in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan, on local engagement and support with his creative process and work. Both Moore and Rickets present work that showcases not only the power and wonder of the natural world, but also artwork that has ties to the partnerships and splendor that the cherry blossoms in Washington represent. “Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020” is the ninth installment of the Renwick Invitational. Established in 2000, this biennial showcase highlights midcareer and emerging makers who are deserving of wider national recognition. For more information and digital content relating to “Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020,” visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s website at americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/invitational-2020
About the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. The museum’s main building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station. Its Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft and decorative arts, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. Both locations are closed temporarily as a public health precaution to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and all public programs are online only, on-site public tours and events are currently suspended. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Website: americanart.si.edu.
About the National Cherry Blossom Festival
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is the nation’s greatest springtime celebration. The 2021 festival, March 20 through April 11, includes three weeks of events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty and community spirit. The 2021 festival is designed to incorporate both virtual and in person experiences in an innovative format that honors the tradition of the festival, while prioritizing the health and safety of participants amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org or call (877) 44-BLOOM for more information, or check out Facebook (CherryBlossomFestival), Twitter (@CherryBlossFest) and Instagram (@CherryBlossFest).
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