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Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

5-Session Morning Course

Tuesday, January 10 to February 7, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET
Code: 1K0323
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Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts.

The sessions spotlight a diverse range of visual art chosen to inspire writers of all experience levels to deepen their process and practice. Each workshop has a limited enrollment to maximize interaction among the instructor and students.

Please Note: Individual sessions are available for purchase.

January 10  Place: Unveil Layers

Take inspiration from Japanese American artist Kenjiro Nomura’s The Farm to explore setting as a told and untold story.

January 17  Time: Flashback and Forward

Experiment with the timeline of your narrative writing, inspired by contemporary Puerto Rican artist Antonio Martorell’s La Playa Negra I (Tar Beach I).

January 24  Character: Discover Dimensions 

Take inspiration from the self-portrait of 19th-century French artist Suzanne Valadon to imagine and write multi-dimensional characters.

January 31  Story: Imagine Possibilities

Dive into 20th-century American artist Edward Hopper’s People in the Sun to construct multiple narratives from a single source.

February 7  Poetry: View from Above

Experiment with diverse poetic forms and reflections in response to 20th-century African American artist Alma Thomas’ colorful compositions, including Pansies in Washington.

Surface is a teaching artist, playwright, theatre director and museum educator. She presents workshops nationwide in creative writing and drama as a Kennedy Center teaching artist and was a faculty member at Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom. 

5 sessions

Photo caption (upper right): Mary Hall Surface

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of each session. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of each session, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our online programs presented on Zoom.