What's On this Nov: National Portrait Gallery Celebrates Dia de los Muertos, First Ladies, and More

National Portrait Gallery


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

Every Eye Is Upon Me: First Ladies of the United States

Nov. 13, 2020 – May 23, 2021

“Every Eye Is Upon Me: First Ladies of the United States” will be the first major exhibition to explore the historical significance of this prominent position through the mode of portraiture. The exhibition, organized in collaboration with the White House and the National First Ladies’ Library, will span nearly 250 years, from Martha Washington to Melania Trump. Featuring more than 60 portraits of the first ladies and those who undertook the role of White House hostess, it will also present related ephemera, including iconic dresses.

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Spotlight Program

National Portrait Gallery

Día de los Muertos

Monday, Nov. 2
Altar programs: 2:00–8:00 p.m.
Live projection performance: 6:30–8:30 p.m.
National Portrait Gallery's steps
9th and G Streets NW


Join us for an outdoor celebration of life, memory, identity, and culture with artists MasPaz, Guache, and Omar García. During the event, visitors will be encouraged to remember loved ones and the victims of COVID-19. A contemporary altar by MasPaz will stand outside the museum’s G Street entrance, while a traditional altar, presented in collaboration with the Mexican Cultural Institute, will be located at the museum’s 9th Street steps. At dusk, there will be a two-hour live digital painting, video, and sound projection, featuring photographs by Omar García. This program is made possible by support from the Smithsonian Latino Center. Media and visitors of all ages are required to wear face coverings and socially distance while in the program area.


Art AfterWords

National Portrait Gallery

Art AfterWords: A Book Discussion

Tuesday, Nov. 10
5:30–7:00 p.m.
Via Zoom


Along with the DC Public Library, we invite you to a virtual conversation about immigrant families and identity. Join us as we analyze a portrait of Jhumpa Lahiri from the exhibition “Her Story: A Century of Women Writers,” and discuss the related book “Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations”by Mira Jacob. Participants are encouraged to explore the online exhibition before the event. DCPL cardholders can access "Good Talk" online

Free—Registration required


The Edgar P. Richardson Lecture Series

National Portrait Gallery

Combating Racism: Betsy Graves Reyneau, Laura Wheeler Waring, and Representation of Black Achievement

Steven Nelson, Dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA),
National Gallery of Art

Tuesday, Nov. 10
5:00 p.m.
Via Zoom

In 1943, the Harmon Foundation commissioned artists Betsy Graves Reyneau and Laura Wheeler Waring to make forty-two portraits of eminent Black Americans, which were first exhibited at the Smithsonian in 1944. This complex exhibition marked the intersection of gender, philanthropy, Black history, and African American art during and just after World War II. It may also be understood within the broader context of Americanness during the early 1940s. The Zoom link will be emailed to participants upon registration.

Free–Registration required

This presentation is part of the Edgar P. Richardson Lecture Series, which is hosted by PORTAL, the Portrait Gallery's Scholarly Center. The Edgar P. Richardson Lecture Series takes place biennially and is made possible by the generous support of the Edgar P. Richardson Fund.


Additional Weekly Online Programs

National Portrait Gallery

Young Portrait Explorers

Biweekly on Tuesdays, 11:00 a.m.
Instagram @smithsoniannpg

Explore portraits from our collection – and discover the stories behind them. We’ll dig deep with some discussion questions and get moving with fun activities on the day’s topic. Download PDF activity guides from the “Visit at Home” page of the Portrait Gallery’s website. For children ages 3 and up and their families.


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 portraitcompetition.si.edu.



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