New online exhibitions and programs from the National Portrait Gallery | December 2020

National Portrait Gallery


Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery Names Bradford Grant as Museum’s New Instagram Artist-in-Residence

Behind the Seams with Designer Michelle Smith

Tuesday, Dec. 15
5:00 p.m.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama is known for wearing and supporting American designers and clothing brands. This interest may be best represented in the now-iconic dress by Milly that she wears in the National Portrait Gallery’s 2018 painting of her by Amy Sherald. Join the dress’s designer, Michelle Smith, and the Portrait Gallery’s senior historian and acting chief curator, Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, as they discuss this remarkable garment, the “power of the needle” to change women’s lives, and the new clothing line that Smith is now in the process of launching. This program accompanies the exhibition “Every Eye Is Upon Me: First Ladies of the United States,” curated by Shaw. Zoom links will be emailed to registered participants via Eventbrite 24–48 hours in advance of the program.

Free—Registration required


Weekly Online Programs

National Portrait Gallery

Writing Hour

Tuesdays, 5:00 p.m.
Via Zoom

Join us weekly for a virtual writing hour. We've set up an online space where writers can create, connect, and draw inspiration from the Portrait Gallery's collection. 

Free—Registration required


National Portrait Gallery


Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m.
YouTube @smithsoniannpg

Introducing… a new kind of story time! Each week a Portrait Gallery educator will shine a light on some of this country’s lesser-known historymakers and their portraits. Children will learn more about art, hear the stories behind the portraits, and even learn some new vocabulary. Select story times will be in Spanish. For children ages 3 and up and their families.


National Portrait Gallery

Drawn to Figures

Thursdays, 11:00 a.m.
YouTube @smithsoniannpg

Discover your inner artist in this online workshop on sketching the human body. Artist Jill Galloway will highlight the techniques and challenges of figure drawing while providing guided instruction and helpful tips. Open to all skill levels, ages 13 and up.


National Portrait Gallery

Open Studio

Fridays, 11:00 a.m.
YouTube @smithsoniannpg

Enjoy weekly art workshops from the comfort of your own home. Each Friday, we will post a video with a new activity or technique. Grab a family member or your roommates, or make a virtual date with a friend, and get creative with artist Jill Galloway. Artists of all ages and skill levels will enjoy creating art inspired by the Portrait Gallery's collection.


Call for Entries

National Portrait Gallery

Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2022

Calling all artists 18 and over! Ready for #Outwin2022? Through January 29, you can submit a portrait to our sixth triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. The first-prize winner will receive $25,000 and a commission to portray a remarkable living American for our collection. For more details, visit


Online Exhibitions

National Portrait GalleryNational Portrait Gallery

We want to meet you where you! Enjoy several online adaptations of the National Portrait Gallery's exhibitions and collection highlights, including "Visualizing Democracy" and "Where There Is a Woman There Is Magic" through our collaboration with Google Arts & Culture

National Portrait Gallery

Don't worry if you missed it in person. Now you can explore "Every Eye Is Upon Me: First Ladies of the United States" through this exhibition website. Spanning almost 250 years, the websitefeatures more than 60 portraits of the First Ladies, alongside iconic dresses and related ephemera. Want more? We've also gathered additional resources for First Ladies fans. Discover the stories, personalities, challenges, and accomplishments of these fascinating women through portraiture, podcasts, and more!


Missed it in Person?

National Portrait Gallery

A month ago, we celebrated life, memory, identity, and culture with artists MasPaz, Guache, and Omar García during our anual Día de los Muertos program. At the event, Instagram artist-in-residence Brad Grant depicted visitors' contributions of their own memories – in the form of artwork, photos, or other items – to an altar on the museum's steps.



Audio Descriptions of America's Presidents

Encounter the Portrait Gallery's signature exhibition from a new perspective! Our detailed audio descriptions of select presidential portraits are geared toward those who are blind or have low vision, but anyone can enjoy them! Available on our website and on SmARTify. This free and easy-to-use app allows you to explore more than 1,000 artworks from the Portrait Gallery’s collection.


ASL Exhibition Tours

Check out past ASL tours on the museum's YouTube channel including one of "The Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today," which is now on tour. Preview an online adaptation on the exhibition's website.



The National Portrait Gallery is excited to host virtual student and teacher programs during the 2020–21 academic year. Our virtual student programs will run from October 1, 2020, through May 28, 2021. Teachers, choose the length of your student program (30, 45, or 60 minutes). For a complete list of Portrait Gallery student programs offered this school year, and to register, please visit our Student Program Page. Professional development workshop topics include political cartoons, women in science, portraiture as writing prompts, and a series of workshops for teachers in specific content areas. Keep checking our website as we’ll continue to add workshops throughout the year. Zoom links will be emailed to registered participants 24–48 hours in advance of the program. 
Free—Registration required


First Lady Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald, oil on linen, 2018. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Gift of Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg; Judith Kern and Kent Whealy; Tommie L. Pegues and Donald A. Capoccia; Clarence, DeLoise, and Brenda Gaines; Jonathan and Nancy Lee Kemper; The Stoneridge Fund of Amy and Marc Meadows; Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker; Catherine and Michael Podell; Mark and Cindy Aron; Lyndon J. Barrois and Janine Sherman Barrois; The Honorable John and Louise Bryson; Paul and Rose Carter; Bob and Jane Clark; Lisa R. Davis; Shirley Ross Davis and Family; Alan and Lois Fern; Conrad and Constance Hipkins; Sharon and John Hoffman; Audrey M. Irmas; John Legend and Chrissy Teigen; Eileen Harris Norton; Helen Hilton Raiser; Philip and Elizabeth Ryan; Roselyne Chroman Swig; Josef Vascovitz and Lisa Goodman; Eileen Baird; Dennis and Joyce Black Family Charitable Foundation; Shelley Brazier; Aryn Drake-Lee; Andy and Teri Goodman; Randi Charno Levine and Jeffrey E. Levine; Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation; Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago; Arthur Lewis and Hau Nguyen; Sara and John Schram; Alyssa Taubman and Robert Rothman. Young Portrait Explorers (detail) by Tony Powell, 2019. Writing Hour (detail) by Tony Powell, 2019. Introducing..(detail) by Tony Powell, 2019. Drawn to Figures (detail) by Tony Powell, 2019. Open Studios (detail) by Tony Powell, 2019.  Abraham Lincoln (detail) by Alexander Gardner, 1865. Sheryl Swoopes (detail) by Rick Chapman, 2002. Gift of the artist and ESPN. © 2002 Rick Chapman. National Portrait Gallery's website dedicated to the First Ladies of the United States, 2020. Sketch of the altar from Día de los Muertos by Brad Grant, 2020. © Brad Grant.

All images belong to the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, unless otherwise noted.



Download The Tretyakov Gallery Magazine in App StoreDownload The Tretyakov Gallery Magazine in Google play