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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Ingenuity and creativity are in the spotlight in this week's edition, in distinctive variations as practiced by a composer, inventor, poets, filmmakers, unlikely spies-and perhaps even you.

They're among the offerings designed to make sure you continue to enjoy what you,ve come to value from Smithsonian Associates: programs and experiences that are entertaining, informative, eclectic, and insightful.

An Artful Autumn

Does the thought of picking up a paintbrush, camera, quilting needle, pastel stick, or calligraphy pen instantly ignite your imagination? Get in touch with-or perhaps reconnect with-your creative side in the studio arts classes and workshops offered by Smithsonian Associates Streaming. There's plenty to tempt you in these expert-led classes: Learn the fundamentals of drawing and painting, photography, watercolor, collage, or hand-lettering. Explore creating a visual memoir in art, making your own holiday cards and ornaments, or finding some much-needed tranquility in your day by making art. Take a look at all the options in a special course catalog filled with opportunities to deepen your personal connection to the worlds of art and design.

Washington Browse the Studio Arts Catalog

A Prayer for Nature

The music of the Catholic liturgy has inspired composers for centuries, ranging from settings of the mass by Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert to Leonard Bernstein's theatricalized Mass and Duke Ellington's sacred jazz compositions. Brooklyn composer Sarah Kirkland Snider gives the form a timely revision in her Mass for the Endangered, a musical prayer for the planet's animals and their habitats. A variety of historical and contemporary liturgical models find echoes in Snider's work, which an NPR review describes as a "smart and resplendent exploration of age-old musical formulas... a blast from the past that resonates profoundly in the present."

Two upcoming Smithsonian Associates Streaming programs focus on the work of scientists with endangered species. On Thursday, November 19, get insights into one of the greatest American wildlife conservation and restoration achievements-the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park-from three of the wildlife biologists who have guided the project since 1995. Amid our own global pandemic, certain wildlife also face an unprecedented conservation crisis. On Thursday, December 3, join two Smithsonian scientists who are taking animal populations devastated by pandemics and epidemics into captivity in order to protect, study, breed, and reintroduce them into the wild.

Read NPR's Review

A Toast to Capital Poets

Washington, D.C., has always been home to prominent poets-including presidents and congressmen, lawyers and Supreme Court judges, foreign diplomats, poets laureate, professors, and inventors-as well as writers from across the country who came to the capital as correspondents. But there were many lesser-known creators at work in addition to celebrated D.C. poets like Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ambrose Bierce, Henry Adams, and James Weldon Johnson: women, writers of color, working-class writers, and poets who began their lives enslaved. By Broad Potomac's Shore: Great Poems from the Early Days of Our Nation's Capital, a new anthology edited by Kim Roberts, brings together the work of 132 well-known and overlooked poets working and living in Washington from the city's founding in 1800 to 1930. University of Virginia Press, the book's publisher, throws a virtual launch party on Thursday evening, October 9, hosted by Washington poet Regie Cabico and featuring Roberts and guest readers. The suggested at-home toast is another product of capital inspiration: D.C.'s official cocktail, the Gin Rickey. /p>

Virtual Launch

The Story of the Gin Rickey

The Cube That Conquered the World

There's no puzzle as to why people have been picking up a Rubik's Cube for more than half a century. In fact, there are more than 43 quintillion reasons: That's the astonishing number of variations possible among its twisted colored squares. After its humble beginning as a "3-dimensional logic toy" registered in the Hungarian Patent Office, Erno Rubik's discovery (as he terms it) has reached global sales of more than 350 million and has become an enduring cultural phenomenon. And of course, the Rubik's Cube has taken its place in the collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Its inventor has chronicled its evolution and impact in a new book, Cubed: The Puzzle of Us All, and a Smithsonian magazine report covers why the 76-year-old Rubik feels people still are fascinated with his colorful cube today.

Brief History of the Rubik's Cube

American History Museum's Object Entry

Creating A Call to Spy

Smithsonian Associates members are invited to go behind the scenes of the making of the new World War II espionage thriller, A Call to Spy. The film tells the stories of two women who were recruited and trained as spies by Britain's Special Operations Executive to undermine the Nazi regime in France: Virginia Hall, an ambitious American with a wooden leg, and Noor Inayat, a Muslim pacifist. In the free Friday, October 9 event, Smithsonian Sidedoor podcast host and producer Lizzie Peabody leads a conversation with Sarah Megan Thomas, who wrote and produced A Call to Spy and stars as Virginia Hall, and director Lydia Dean Pilcher about how they developed the project and the story's relevance today. If this cinematic tale of espionage leaves you wanting to learn more about its real-life inspirations, take a listen to "The Milkmaid Spy," a Sidedoor episode that traces Virginia Hall's exploits in occupied France, where she built Resistance networks, delivered critical intelligence, and sold cheese to the enemy. And be on the lookout for a January Smithsonian Associates Streaming program in which two career CIA officers share the stories of remarkable women who fought both the Nazis and gender stereotypes to help win the war and create the foundation for the modern CIA and U.S. military special forces.

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