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 three 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 individual purchase.
MAY 11 Place: Layers Unveiled
Take inspiration from Japanese-American artist Kenjiro Nomura’s The Farm to explore setting as a told and untold story.
MAY 18 Time: Flashbacks, Fast-Forwards, and Foreshadows
Discover new ways to approach time in your writing, inspired by Antonio Martorell’s La Playa Negra I (Tar Beach I).
MAY 25 View: From Above
Experiment with diverse poetic forms and reflections in response to 20th-century African American artist Alma Thomas’ colorful compositions, including Light Blue Nursery.
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 faculty member at Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom.
Photo caption (upper right): Clockwise: Instructor Mary Hall at the National Gallery of Art; "The Farm" by Kenjiro Nomura, 1934; "Light Blue Nursery" by Alma Thomas, 1968; "La Playa Negra I" (Tar Beach I) by Antonio Martorell, 2010 (Images courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum)
- 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.
- Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
- Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org.
- 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.