September at SAAM

Photo courtesy of
‘Kogod Courtyard’
courtesy of ‘BrianMKA’

So now that the tourists are (mostly) gone, time to get out and hit our various museums and their great programs and exhibitions! There’s a lot going on this month at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) and we’re going to run down the list for you. Programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated; the SAAM is located in Penn Quarter at 8th and G Streets, NW. Note that some programs are at the Renwick Gallery at 17th and Pennsylvania and are noted accordingly.

Intersections/Intersecciones (Sept. 10, 6:30 p.m.)
Artists Kathy Vargas, María Martínez-Cañas, and Martina López discuss the intersection of Latino culture and gender identity in their work. Moderated by Muriel Hasbun, associate professor of fine art photography at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. No tickets required; seating available in McEvoy Auditorium on a first-come, first-served basis.

Art à la Cart (Sept. 12, Noon – 3 p.m.)
Travel throughout the galleries to find interactive carts where kids can handle brushes, palettes, bison hide, bottle caps, and quilt squares. Ages 7-12. Pick up your Art à la Cart map and passport at information desks located in the F Street and G Street lobbies.

Photo courtesy of
‘Steinway White House Piano 1903’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

Steinway Series (Sept. 12, 3 p.m.)
Violinist Matthew Reichert and Hanoi-born pianist Quynh Nguyen present a violin-piano concert of three masterworks by Beethoven, Brahms, and Franck. American Art’s Steinway Series features the museum’s model D Steinway concert grand piano, whose restoration was a gift from Shelby and Frederick Gans. In these concerts, outstanding musicians perform chamber works that range from the classic to the contemporary. No tickets required; seating available in McEvoy Auditorium on a first-come, first-served basis.

American Craft Masterpieces: Sam Maloof’s “Chair” (Sept. 15, Noon)
A new series of gallery talks highlights works from the permanent collection. Renwick Gallery Chief Robyn Kennedy discusses craft icon Sam Maloof’s “Chair.” This program takes place at the Renwick Gallery.

Clarice Smith Distinguished Lecture in American Art: Scholar Erica Hirshler (Sept. 15, 7 p.m.)
Erica Hirshler, senior curator of American Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. presents “Looking at John Singer Sargent.” The Clarice Smith Distinguished Lectures in American Art highlights excellence and innovation in American art through lectures by an outstanding artist, critic, and scholar. Reception follows each lecture. Free tickets required and available beginning at 6 p.m. in the museum’s G Street Lobby. This lecture will be webcast live at

Victory Gardens (Sept. 16, Noon)
Victory gardens and flower beds sprouted up in nearly every internment camp during World War II; internees grew the majority of the fresh produce available in the camps. Joe Brunetti, lead horticulturist for the Victory and Heirloom Gardens at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, discusses these gardens, their usefulness, and their rich history. This program takes place at the Renwick Gallery.

Photo courtesy of
‘SAAM – 2’
courtesy of ‘B Jones Jr’

Take 5! Airmen of Note (Sept. 16, 5 – 7 p.m.)
Kicking off three months of jazz from the Norman Rockwell era, the premier jazz ensemble of the U.S. Air Force returns to the Take 5! stage. The Airmen of Note was created in 1950 to carry on the style and tradition of the Glenn Miller Army–Air Force Dance Band. Seating available in Kogod Courtyard on a first-come, first-served basis.

Empire of the Sun (Sept. 16, 6:30 p.m.)
(152 minutes, 1987, rated PG, directed by Steven Spielberg) A British schoolboy living in Shanghai is separated from his parents when the Japanese invade China at the beginning of World War II. Seating available in McEvoy Auditorium on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 6 p.m.

PHEON Launch (Sept. 18, Noon – 6 p.m.)
Are you a Knave or a Stave? Do you have what it takes to win control of a secret world? Test your ingenuity through making, texting, finding, and performing in the exciting opening tournament for the museum’s new game, PHEON. Discover more of the story at

Autumn Glow (Sept. 18, 3 p.m.)
Duo Amaral, the husband-and-wife team of classical guitarists Jorge Amaral and Mia Pomerantz-Amaral, performs works from the Baroque repertoire including George Frederic Handel’s Chaconne, Joaquin Rodrigo’s Tonadilla, and sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti. No tickets required; seating available in the Grand Salon on a first-come, first-served basis. This program takes place at the Renwick Gallery.

Running Fence Project; photo courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum

Running Fence Project; photo courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum

Running Fence Gallery Talk (Sept. 21, 6 p.m.)
Deputy chief curator George Gurney leads a final tour through the exhibition on the 34th anniversary of the day the Running Fence was taken down in 1976. Please meet at the exhibition entrance on the third floor.

The Art of Gaman Gallery Talk (Sept. 22, Noon)
Join Renwick gallery chief Robyn Kennedy as she reveals some of the stories behind the objects on display. Please meet in the Renwick Gallery lobby. This program takes place at the Renwick Gallery.

Shop Talk (Sept. 24, Noon)
Collector Fleur Bresler has formed unique relationships with each of the artists in “A Revolution in Wood: The Bresler Collection.” Curator Nicholas Bell moderates a roundtable discussion with Bresler and wood artists Michelle Holzapfel, Mark Lindquist, and Norm Sartorius, who share their stories. Book signing follows. This program takes place at the Renwick Gallery.

Symposium—Norman Rockwell, American Art, & The Movies (Sept. 24, 3 p.m.)
Three distinguished scholars join senior curator Virginia Mecklenburg in an exploration of American art and the movies. Professors Katherine Manthorne, City University of New York, and Erika Doss, University of Notre Dame, and Smithsonian curator James Deutsch, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, discuss the influence between art and film from the days of silent movies to the epics of the 1940s. Free, but registration required at or (202) 633-8490.

Polleros; photo courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum

Polleros; photo courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum

Hispanic Heritage Month Family Day Celebration: Passport to Argentina (Sept. 25, 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
The whole family is invited to this kick-off of the Smithsonian’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The day includes Argentine-inspired storytelling, craft-making and art activities, and music and dance performances. This program is the fourth feature event in the Smithsonian Heritage Month 2010 family-day series “Tapestry of Cultural Rhythms,” and is also part of the “Argentina at the Smithsonian” program series.

Lathe Demonstration (Sept. 28, Noon – 1 p.m.)
Join members of the Capital Area Woodturners, Chesapeake Woodturners, and Montgomery County Woodturners as they demonstrate the process artists in “A Revolution in Wood” used to create their unique pieces. This program takes place at the Renwick Gallery.

American Graffiti (Sept. 30, 6:30 p.m.)
(112 minutes, 1974, rated PG, directed by George Lucas) In this classic coming-of-age tale, four California teenagers spend the last night of summer cruising their hometown strip before starting out on their new paths in life. Seating available in McEvoy Auditorium on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 6 p.m.

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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