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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Studio Arts: What's New

Hand Sewing for Mindful Reflection

Live Streaming

There’s something centering and calming in immersing yourself in a hand-sewing project. Create a textile panel featuring a spiral design that inspires reflection.

Date of event
Monday, June 1, 2020 - 11:00 a.m.

Mastering Exposure

Take your skills beyond auto mode as you explore a myriad of your digital camera’s exposure options and features in this workshop designed for intermediate photographers.

Date of event
Monday, July 6 to August 3, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Approaches to Abstraction

Investigate how major artists applied a range of approaches to abstraction to their work in the visual arts and find valuable new perspectives to bring to your own chosen media from painting to embroidery, mosaics to quilting.

Date of event
Monday, July 6 to August 10, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The Flash Class

Lighting can make or break your work as a digital photographer. Learn the tech tips that will make your flash one of your most effective creative tools.

Date of event
Monday, July 6 to August 10, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Beginning Drawing

This introductory course teaches the basic skills needed for drawing. Working with a variety of materials and techniques, including charcoal and pencils, students explore the rendering of geometric forms, volume, and perspective, with an emphasis on personal gesture marks.

Date of event
Monday, July 6 to August 17, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (no class Aug. 3)

Tapestry Weaving

Develop skills in a range of weaving techniques as you design and create a one-of-a kind miniature tapestry on a small-frame loom.

Date of event
Tuesday, July 7 to August 11, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Beautiful Landscapes in Watercolor and Ink

Develop your technical skills in painting landscapes that vividly capture the atmosphere and elements of a scene.

Date of event
Tuesday, July 7 to August 11, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Introduction to Black-and-White Film Photography and the Darkroom

This course provides a thorough introduction to the 35mm camera and the basics of photo darkroom techniques. Students learn how to use the camera, compose a photograph, develop film, and make a print.

Date of event
Tuesday, July 7 to August 11, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The Joy of Photography

This non-darkroom course is designed for beginners who want to learn how to use their digital SLR camera as a creative tool. The goal is to gain skill in technical aspects of photography so that they can concentrate on composing beautiful images.

Date of event
Tuesday, July 7 to August 11, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Beginning Sculpture

Students work in clay to create portraits from plaster casts and a live model as they develop a basic understanding of the principles and techniques of sculpture.

Date of event
Tuesday, July 7 to August 11, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Collage and Mixed-Media

Students are introduced to the materials, tools, and technologies used in collage and assemblage. They find inspiration in artists who worked in collage including Joseph Cornell, Romare Bearden, and Gertrude Green.

Date of event
Wednesday, July 8 to 29, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Painting Is for Everyone

If you’ve ever wanted to paint, here’s a class that offers the perfect introduction to the art—and will have you ready to pick up your brush with confidence.

Date of event
Wednesday, July 8 to 29, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Photographic Creativity, Design, and Composition

This intermediate-level photography course offers a better understanding of compositional elements and practices—such as simplicity, balance, and natural lighting—that promote taking better and more unique photographs.

Date of event
Wednesday, July 8 to August 5, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Beginning Drawing

This introductory course teaches the basic skills needed for drawing. Working with a variety of materials and techniques, including charcoal and pencils, students explore the rendering of geometric forms, volume, and perspective, with an emphasis on personal gesture marks.

Date of event
Wednesday, July 8 to August 12, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Introduction to Photography

Whether you want work in digital or film, this course offers a solid foundation for new photographers ready to learn the basics. Two on-location shoots offer chances to put your new skills into practice.

Date of event
Wednesday, July 8 to August 12, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Oil Pastels

Both beginners and seasoned artists can learn to take advantage of the creative possibilities of this rich pigmented, vibrant, and versatile medium.

Date of event
Thursday, July 9 to 30, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Relief Printing: Linocut and Woodblock

Woodblock printing and linocut printing are ideal for creating bold images made up of patterns and textures. This course is an introduction to the relief print, from techniques of design and transfer through cutting and printing the block. Students design and produce their own editions, using nontoxic materials and employing both one-color and two-color techniques.

Date of event
Tuesday, July 9 to August 13, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Traditional Oil Painting Techniques: Lessons from Museum Masterpieces

Explore the techniques of artists and schools from the early Renaissance to today as you practice the skills of the masters, using their exact colors, canvas types, and paint applications. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Thursday, July 9 to August 13, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Open Darkroom Plus

This darkroom-focused class is geared for photographers with basic darkroom skills and beyond, who are interested in taking their work to the next level. Students benefit from small-group lectures, individual instruction, and independent work to gain confidence in a specific area.

Date of event
Thursday, July 9 to August 13, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Image Transfers and Photo Alteration

Bring extra impact to your mixed-media work by discovering a variety of methods for making and using image transfers and expanding your creative horizons with photo alteration.

Date of event
Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12, 2020 – 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Sur la Plage: Painting the Beach

The light, movement, and colors of the beach have long been an inspiration for artists. In this workshop, explore the techniques of masters of seaside painting as preparation for creating your own beach memory.

Date of event
Saturday, July 11 to 25, 2020 – 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Open Darkroom Plus

This darkroom-focused class is geared for photographers with basic darkroom skills and beyond, who are interested in taking their work to the next level. Students benefit from small-group lectures, individual instruction, and independent work to gain confidence in a specific area.

Date of event
Saturday, July 11 to August 15, 2020 – 10:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Introduction to Mosaics in Glass

Develop a strong technical foundation in working with glass mosaic as you design and create a striking 8-inch-square home décor piece.

Date of event
Saturday, July 11, 2020 – 10:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and Sunday, July 12, 2020 – 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Quilting for Beginners: A Small Handmade Quilt

Learn the basics of hand-stitched quilt-making—including piecing, applique, and finishing techniques—as you work on a small-scale piece that can be used as a doll quilt or a wall hanging.

Date of event
Saturday, July 11 and 18, 2020 – 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Open Darkroom Plus

This darkroom-focused class is geared for photographers with basic darkroom skills and beyond, who are interested in taking their work to the next level. Students benefit from small-group lectures, individual instruction, and independent work to gain confidence in a specific area.

Date of event
Saturday, July 11 to August 15, 2020 – 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Understanding Your Digital Mirrorless or SLR Camera

Get the most out of your digital mirrorless or SLR camera by taking part in this one-day class, which includes a shooting session on the Mall; and an in-the-field discussion of technical elements along with composition, light, and other aesthetic considerations.

Date of event
Sunday, July 12, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Beginning Drawing

This introductory course teaches the basic skills needed for drawing. Working with a variety of materials and techniques, including charcoal and pencils, students explore the rendering of geometric forms, volume, and perspective, with an emphasis on personal gesture marks.

Date of event
Sunday, July 12 to August 16, 2020 – 10:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

The Joy of Photography

This non-darkroom course is designed for beginners who want to learn how to use their digital SLR camera as a creative tool. The goal is to gain skill in technical aspects of photography so that they can concentrate on composing beautiful images.

Date of event
Sunday, July 12 to August 16, 2020 – 10:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Introduction to Watercolor

Beginning students as well as experienced painters explore watercolor techniques and learn new approaches to painting through classroom demonstration, discussion, and experimentation.

Date of event
Sunday, July 12 to August 16, 2020 – 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

On-Location Photography

Great shoots start with great locations—and Washington offers plenty of unbeatable visual inspiration. Learn to capture this vibrant city and sharpen your way of thinking about shooting outdoors as you deploy a minimal amount of equipment and a lot of fresh perspective.

Date of event
Sunday, July 12 to August 16, 2020 – 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Where's My Muse? Flexing Your Creative Muscle

Delve deeply into the sources of inspiration as you learn learn to harness ideas and starting points for making art that expresses your individual creative point of view.

Date of event
Monday, July 13 to 27, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Authentic, Revival, or Reproduction? A Day with a Curator at Dumbarton House

Whether you collect, live with antiques, or simply appreciate the beauty of fine craftsmanship, this special day at one of Georgetown’s most significant historic homes offers an expert-led opportunity to expand your knowledge of the history and construction of American and British furniture and its influences from 1790 to 1840.

Date of event
Friday, July 17, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.

Introduction to Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is now the most useful (and user friendly) software for organizing and editing images, usable for both RAW and JPEG image files. This two-session workshop offers users an overview of the program, with a focus on working with the essential Library and Develop modules for organizing and editing your files.

Date of event
Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, 2020 – 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Introduction to Pointed-Pen Calligraphy

The elegant script commonly known as Copperplate is unmatched in its usefulness for social stationery. Beginning with basic tools and mechanics, students discover how to develop their skills and to recognize the small details that make this style of writing so appealing.

Date of event
Saturday, July 18 to August 22, 2020 – 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Henna Workshop

Henna tattoos reflect an ancient and beautiful practice of body art. Explore the form’s history as you learn to apply simple traditional Indian henna designs.

Date of event
Saturday, July 18, 2020 - 2:00 p.m.

Exploring Encaustic and Mixed-Media Intensive

Spend a day discovering the creative possibilities of the centuries-old encaustic method, which offers rich and luminous color and great compatibility with collage materials.

Date of event
Sunday, July 19, 2020 - 10:30 a.m.

Collage and Mixed-Media Intensive

Explore the materials, tools, and techniques used in collage and assemblage as you create an artwork that’s uniquely yours. The workshop, ideal for both nonartists and those with experience, is a great way to spark your creativity in two forms that offer wide possibilities for inventive expression.

Date of event
Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26, 2020 – 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Hand Embroidery for Today

Add the touch of your own hands to clothing as you apply basic hand-embroidery stitches to create modern designs to enhance knits, felted wools, and ready-made garments, including infant onesies.

Date of event
Saturday, July 25, 2020 - 12:00 p.m.

Introduction to Afghan Manuscript Illumination

The beautiful decorations of religious and secular manuscripts are centuries-old Islamic traditions. Guided by a graduate of the Turquoise Mountain Institute, explore the elements of gold-leaf manuscript illumination in the Afghan tradition.

Date of event
Saturday, July 25 to August 29, 2020 – 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Mixed-Media Mash Up

Experiment with new techniques as you have fun creating supplies for use in collage and other art projects, including using gels and texturing materials; stamping and embossing; and the use of air-dry clay and other dimensional materials.

Date of event
Monday, August 3 and 10, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Oil Painting Boot Camp

Whether you have never picked up a brush or haven’t painted in years, this 2-day workshop provides a solid foundation in the basics of working in oil. By the end of the weekend, you’ll be on your way to painting like a pro.

Date of event
Saturday, August 8 and 15, 2020– 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Monoprints Without a Press

Love mixed media? This workshop offers the perfect way to expand your repertoire by creating an array of one-off prints using acrylic paints and other materials.

Date of event
Saturday, August 8 and Sunday, August 9, 2020 – 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Understanding Your Digital Mirrorless or SLR Camera

Get the most out of your digital mirrorless or SLR camera by taking part in this one-day class, which includes a shooting session on the Mall; and an in-the-field discussion of technical elements along with composition, light, and other aesthetic considerations.

Date of event
Sunday, August 16, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Introduction to Pastels: Cezanne-Inspired Landscapes

Working in Smithsonian gardens, use chalk or oil pastel to capture vibrant colors in nature and their interaction with light--in the style of impressionist Paul Cezanne. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Sunday, August 16 to 30, 2020 – 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Decorative Lettering

Get an introduction to stylized lettering, including altered block letters, botanical borders, and illuminated initials with vines and flourishes.

Date of event
Tuesday, September 8 to 29, 2020 – 10:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Botanicals in Watercolor

In this workshop open to all levels, students discover the versatility and fluidity of working in watercolors while exploring the functional and aesthetic elements of color and design found in plants.

Date of event
Tuesday, September 8 to 29, 2020 – 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Composition

This class examines fundamental concepts of composition and their practical application in studio-art practice, offering participants tools to enrich their own work as well to analyze and appreciate visual art in general. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Wednesday, September 9 to 30, 2020 – 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Collage and Mixed-Media Intensive

Explore the materials, tools, and techniques used in collage and assemblage as you create an artwork that’s uniquely yours. The workshop, ideal for both nonartists and those with experience, is a great way to spark your creativity in two forms that offer wide possibilities for inventive expression.

Date of event
Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13, 2020 – 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Gyotaku: The Japanese Art of Printing with Fish

Using direct printing and water-based printing inks, create realistic looking schools of fish or a single artistic print simply by inking a whole fish and pressing it to paper.

Date of event
Sunday, September 13, 2020 - 10:30 a.m.

Colored Pencils

Get a hands-on overview of how versatile colored pencils can bring illustration or fine art alive with rich, vibrant color and a range of effects.

Date of event
Sunday, September 13 and 20, 2020 – 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Exploring the Visual Foundations and Traditions of Art

Through lectures and drawing exercises, learn how Renaissance artists used the Golden Ratio, the Rule of Thirds, three-point perspective, and the Fibonacci spiral—as well as how these elements can provide dynamic visual interest to your own compositions, no matter the medium. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Monday, September 14 and 21, 2020 – 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Women of the Arts and Crafts Movement

Textile historian Elizabeth Lay examines a trio of 19th-century British women whose exceptional skills elevated embroidery to fine-art status. Afterward, fabric artist Lauren Kingsland leads a studio project in which participants create their own Arts and Crafts–inspired embroidered needle case.

Date of event
Friday, September 18, 2020 - 1:00 p.m.

Crepe Paper Flower Making

This spring, bring to life a tulip bouquet that requires no water, won’t be eaten by deer, and will last months or even years. Learn the skills and techniques to create realistic crepe-paper flowers petal by petal.

Date of event
Sunday, September 20, 2020 - 10:30 a.m.

Build a Tiny House

It takes a village! In a 2-day workshop, students construct their own tiny houses, which they personalize working in paper-mache, acrylics, and mixed-media.

Date of event
Sunday, September 20 and 27, 2020 – 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Introduction to Beading

In this three-night workshop, learn to create your own hand-crafted jewelry. This experience is perfect for the student new to jewelry making, or those with experience who want to refresh their skills.

Date of event
Monday, September 21 to Wednesday, September 23, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Introduction to Beading Intensive

In this one-day workshop, learn to create your own hand-crafted jewelry. This experience is perfect for the student new to jewelry making, or those with experience who want to refresh their skills.

Date of event
Saturday, September 26, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.

Indigo and Shibori

Japan and India have a long history of using brilliant blue indigo dye to apply dramatic patterns to fabric. Learn to work with this timeless natural color as you create one-of-a-kind silk scarves using the classic Japanese shibori resist-dyeing technique.

Date of event
Saturday, September 26, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.

Children’s Book Illustration

Creating illustrations for a children’s manuscript is loads of fun once you get to know the basics. Learn the foundations of bringing a story to life through pictures.

Date of event
Saturday, September 26, 2020 - 12:00 p.m.

Nuno-Felted Scarf

Nuno, the Japanese word for fabric, lends itself to the name of one of the newest textile trends. Create a one-of-a-kind nuno-felted scarf and explore variations on this unique and versatile technique used to create accessories, jewelry, wall hangings, curtains, and other projects.

Date of event
Sunday, September 27, 2020 - 10:15 a.m.

Painting and Printing: Leaves Two Ways

Transform contour drawings of leaf shapes into transparent watercolor paintings. Then, use a walking press to make leaf prints on a variety of papers using water-based ink.

Date of event
Sunday, September 27, 2020 - 10:30 a.m.