Mary Hall Surface in front of Edward Hopper’s 1939 painting Cape Cod Evening at the National Gallery of Art
Charles Lang Freer believed that a direct, immediate response to art was the highest form of aesthetic pleasure, noting that “The pure emotion of the observer should be his first sensation, unencumbered by…the views of others.” Participants in this interactive workshop put Freer's vision into practice by using thoughtful, detailed observation in the galleries as a starting point for capturing their responses to the museum’s collection.
Led by teaching artist Mary Hall Surface, founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, participants discover connections and commonalities within the diverse collection and frame their personal reactions through descriptive writing and free-verse poetry. The workshop offers an ideal opportunity to slow down and savor the experience of looking at art.
Participants meet in Gallery 9 of the Freer Gallery of Art
One 2-hour session
About the Instructor
Mary Hall Surface is a teaching artist, playwright, and theatre director and producer. She is on the faculty of Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom and presents workshops nationwide in creative writing and drama as a Kennedy Center teaching artist. Her plays have been produced at theatres, museums, and festivals throughout the U.S., Europe, Japan, Taiwan and Canada, including 17 productions at the Kennedy Center. She has been nominated for nine Helen Hayes Awards, receiving the 2002 award for Outstanding Director of a Musical. She has published a dozen plays, two collections of scenes and monologues, an anthology of her plays, and numerous articles, and her work is represented on several original cast recordings. She was the founding artistic director of D.C.’s Atlas Intersections Festival and was a member of Arena Stage’s 2017 Playwrights’ Arena.