Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful
This series has already started.
Please call us at 202-633-3030 for ticket availability.
Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

4-Session Daytime Course

Tuesday, September 8 to 29, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET
Quick Tix Code: 1K0022
Text Size
- +


  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
  • For multiple registrations, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses.


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 a series of four online workshops that explore the essential elements of writing through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative writing.

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 is limited to 30 participants to maximize interaction among the instructor and students.

Sept. 8  Character: Uncovering Complexity

Meet 17th-century Dutch artist Judith Leyster through her self-portrait as you probe how details help create rich, compelling characters. 

Sept. 15  Setting: The Power of Place

Step inside 20th-century African American artist Hale Woodruff’s Georgia Landscape as you explore the literal and metaphorical role of setting in writing.

Sept. 22  Dialogue: Spoken and Unspoken

Give voice to the characters in late 19th-century American artist Mary Cassatt’s The Boating Party as you experiment with crafting effective dialogue.

Sept. 29  Story: Arcs of Action

Dive into 20th-century African American artist Hughie Lee-Smith’s Confrontation as you imagine multiple narratives from a single source.

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

4 sessions

Photo Credit: Self-Portrait, ca. 1630, by Judith Leyster (National Gallery of Art)


  • 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 Streaming Programs on Zoom.
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.