June Happenings at SAAM

Photo courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum

Looking for some great things to do over the summer while the tourists flood in? There are several great programs (free!) being hosted by the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) in Penn Quarter this month. Take some time to check them out!

Opening Night of the IV BrazilDocs Documentary Film Week: Santiago
June 9, 7 p.m.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery host the opening-night film, “Santiago,” of the IV BrazilDocs Documentary Film Week, sponsored by the Cultural Section of the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, DC. In 1992, João Moreira Salles, one of Brazil’s foremost documentary filmmakers, began shooting a film about Santiago, the butler in his childhood home, who had lived a rich and vivid life. Through the film’s personal narrative, Salles addresses the elements of memory and identity that are crucial to the documentary genre.

The House I Live In
June 11, 4 p.m.
A theatrical presentation by Catherine Ladnier chronicles life in America from New Year’s Eve in 1939 through the end of World War II. Music underscores dramatic readings of letters written by servicemen and their loved ones, which recount the lingering effects of the Great Depression, America’s involvement in World War II, life on the home front, the bravery of soldiers, and gratitude for peace. In conjunction with “To Make a World: George Ault and 1940s America.”

Reynolds Center Hallway with Statue of Liberty; photo courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum

Art + Coffee with Artist Judy Byron
June 12, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
A discussion with local visual artist Judy Byron about some of the portrait miniatures on display in the Luce Foundation Center. Byron will consider the miniature’s distinct narrative qualities in relation to her own portrait work and in the context of exploring identity. Complimentary coffee and tea available during talk. (Presented in collaboration with Flashpoint Gallery.)

Marilyn Moore and Carlos César Rodriguez
June 12, 3 p.m.
Soprano Marilyn Moore and pianist Carlos César Rodriquez perform the music of Franz Liszt, to celebrate the bi-centennial of his birth, along with works by George Frideric Händel, Johannes Brahms, and John Carter. Free tickets required and available in the G Street Lobby at 2:30 p.m.

American Craft Masterpieces
June 15, Noon
Renwick Curator Nicholas Bell discusses Ubaldo Vitali’s “Tureen.” This ongoing series of gallery talks explores craft masterpieces, one artwork at a time. (This event is at the Renwick Gallery.)

Kogod Courtyard; photo courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum

Take 5! with Urban Funk
June 16, 5 – 8 p.m.
A funk fusion performance local DC group Urban Funk, which blends jazz, R&B, and Latin sounds into an energized synergy underlined by strong percussion, hot guitar, and vibrant keys. Free performance; food and beverage available for purchase. Optional: ArtJamz will offer a temporary studio during the concert in which registered participants may paint ($40 fee). To register visit artjamzdc.com.

Art + Coffee with Artist Matthew Mann
June 19, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Local artist Matthew Mann leads a discussion about “Acupuncture Pitchfork Style” by “Uncle Jack” Dey. Mann will address Dey’s surreal painting and other Folk Art pieces, connecting them to his own work, in which he often includes ambiguous narratives and humor. Complimentary coffee and tea available during talk. (Presented in collaboration with Flashpoint Gallery.)

Conversation with Cliff and Holly Lee
June 19, 2 p.m.
Ceramicist Cliff Lee and jeweler Holly Lee discuss their work and lives as artists and as husband and wife. Cliff addresses his work on view in “History in the Making: Renwick Craft Invitational 2011,” while Holly explores her fascination with metal. (This event is at the Renwick Gallery.)

Film: Mildred Pierce
Thursday, June 23, 6:30 p.m.
After divorcing her cheating husband, Mildred Pierce proves herself to be an independent and successful restaurateur, but that is not enough to win the affection of her spoiled daughter. Academy Award-winner Joan Crawford stars. Directed by Michael Curtiz.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is located at the corner of 8th and F Streets, NW, in Penn Quarter and near the Chinatown/Gallery Place Metro Station, servicing the Red, Yellow, and Green lines. The Renwick Gallery is located at 1661 Pennsylvania Avenue NW at 17th Street.

Having lived in the DC area for ten years, Ben still loves to wander the city with his wife, shooting lots of photos and exploring all the latest exhibits and galleries. A certified hockey fanatic, he spends some time debating the Washington Capitals club with friends – but everyone knows of his three decade love affair with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A professional writer, gamer, photographer, and Lego enthusiast, Ben remains captivated by DC and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

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