museums – Cultivating Culture http://www.cultivatingculture.com Thinking and writing about culture around the world Tue, 14 Nov 2017 19:13:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 50009989 If You’re Going to San Francisco…Here’s What to See at the de Young Museum http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/04/21/de-young-museum-2017/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 15:00:34 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5291   Summer is coming, and the de Young Museum in San Francisco is celebrating with several exhibits. Brought to you by recurring donors like Thom Weisel, William Moore and Belva Davis, and the National Endowment for the Arts, you definitely won’t want to miss these. The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & […]

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A picture taken from the outside of the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

The de Young Museum in San Francisco.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Summer is coming, and the de Young Museum in San Francisco is celebrating with several exhibits. Brought to you by recurring donors like Thom Weisel, William Moore and Belva Davis, and the National Endowment for the Arts, you definitely won’t want to miss these.

The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, the hippie phenomenon that made a name for San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury neighborhood, The Summer of Love Experience is here to help visitors relive the emergence of counterculture in 1967. The exhibit includes more than 400 cultural artifacts from the period, including concert posters, photos, light shows, psychedelic music, and textiles. Many an aging hippie superstar turned up for the pre-exhibit-launch gala even though quite a few have since left the San Francisco area. Many of those guests donated memorabilia that will be available for viewing through August 20 on Tuesdays through Sundays from 9:30 AM to 5:15 PM. Admission is $10-$25.

A related exhibit, Beyond the Surface: Worldwide Embroidery Traditions, is presented as a complement to The Summer of Love and focuses on the intricate embroidery and design of the era.

Revelations: Art from the African American South

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco recently acquired a huge collection of contemporary art from African American artists of the Southern US, and this is their chance to show off these unique and historically impactful works. The exhibit showcases paintings, sculptures, drawings, and quilts by 22 artists, including Thornton Dial, Ralph Griffin, Bessie Harvey, and many more.

Revelations tells the complicated story of the African Diaspora, slavery, and the Jim Crow era. These works only really came to light after the beginning of the modern civil rights era; before then, they were hidden away in churches, cemeteries, and other safe places for protection. While this sort of art has been historically marginalized as “folk” or “native” art, Revelations gives it the important spotlight it deserves. The gallery includes photographs and carefully preserved contemporary art.

The series will be viewable between June 3, 2017 and April 1, 2018.

Stuart Davis: In Full Swing

For the first time in 20 years, American Modernist Stuart Davis will get his due. In this exhibit, 75 of Davis’s works, including his breakthrough series in the 1920s that focused on cigarette packaging and household items, will be on view. Known for blurring the lines between “high” and “low” art, Davis combined elements of abstraction, figuration, text, and imagery to explore the times in which he lived.

Aside from its sheer size, this exhibit stands apart in that it covers work spanning the artist’s entire life, so the visitor can see how his style both changed and remained the same over the years.

Stuart Davis: In Full Swing will be available between April 1 and August 6 of this year.

This is just a taste of what the de Young is able to offer this summer, thanks to generous donors and grants. If you’re in the San Francisco area, you’ll definitely want to stop by.

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de Young’s Tribal and Textile Art Show Kicks it Off with Gala and Focus on Indonesian Art http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/02/24/de-youngs-tribal-textile-art/ Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:50:48 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5175 San Francisco’s de Young Art Museum recently held an opening night gala for its Tribal and Textile Art Show. Collectors, designers, and well-wishers gathered to celebrate the collection and its focus for this year: art from Southeast Asia, the Oceanic Islands, the Middle East, Central and South America, Africa, Polynesia, and more. With organizers including […]

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Indonesian fabrics

Indonesian textiles such as these were part of the de Young Art Museum’s recent Tribal Art and Textiles Art Show.
Image: Manamana / Shutterstock.com

San Francisco’s de Young Art Museum recently held an opening night gala for its Tribal and Textile Art Show. Collectors, designers, and well-wishers gathered to celebrate the collection and its focus for this year: art from Southeast Asia, the Oceanic Islands, the Middle East, Central and South America, Africa, Polynesia, and more.

With organizers including Honorary Chair Ardi Hermawan, Consul General of Indonesia, and Benefit Chair Thom Weisel, Co-Chairman of Stifel Financial Company, the Tribal and Textile Art Show officially began its 31st year with the gala on February 8. Held at the Fort Mason Center in the Festival Pavilion, the gala included live music, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and plenty of opportunities for philanthropists, artists, and other community members to mingle. Proceeds from art purchases at the gala will go to support tribal art and textiles housed by the de Young Museum.

The de Young’s collection of textiles and arts from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas have been highly valued by the community for years. Originally created by Caskey Lees, the San Francisco Tribal & Textile Art Show showcases over 80 national and international galleries. The annual opening night gala lets collectors get an early view of what the new year’s collection will look like.

Of course, any good gala needs some entertainment. For the Tribal and Textile Art Show, this meant a variety of unusual performances and edibles, including live performances by Gamelan Sekar Jaya, a California-based sixty-member Balinese dance troupe; Indonesian cuisine provided by Lime Tree; demonstrations of traditional Indonesian fabric dyeing techniques; and of course the art pieces themselves, some on loan from the Jakarta Textile Museum and others part of a curated collection called “Indonesian Textile Treasures, A Living Legacy.”

Several other curated collections were on view as well. “Artful Weavings,” presented by Peter Pap (an expert on antique rugs and tribal weavings), showcased a collection of rare Antique Nomadic and Village Rugs from a variety of private collections. Nearly 100 pieces from the prestigious John Corwin Collection were on display. On the more contemporary side, the “Spirit Talkers” collection featured new work from James Havard, known for his Abstract Illusionism.

The gala may have passed, but the fun is just beginning! There will be several more opportunities to see art and textiles from these collections at the de Young Museum.

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Museums Are Archiving Signs from the Women’s March http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/01/23/museums-womens-march/ Mon, 23 Jan 2017 18:09:08 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5101 In the event that you missed it, Saturday’s Women’s March made history, or should we say, herstory. According to PoliticusUSA, it was the largest protest in American history. The Cut reports that an estimated $3.2 million people participated in this year’s march. As a result, museums around the world are now collecting Women’s March signs […]

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A photo of an enormous crowd of people taken from the Women's March on Washington.

Photo courtesy of Garen M. at Flickr Creative Commons.

In the event that you missed it, Saturday’s Women’s March made history, or should we say, herstory. According to PoliticusUSA, it was the largest protest in American history. The Cut reports that an estimated $3.2 million people participated in this year’s march. As a result, museums around the world are now collecting Women’s March signs as historical artifacts.

The National Museum of American History was one of many museums collecting signs on Saturday. As a subsidiary of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of American History will be archiving the signs so that they are available for future use.

The Newberry Library in Chicago is also accumulating signs. It’s worth noting that the crowd in Chicago grew so large that the official march was cancelled. Organizers originally anticipated a crowd of about 50,000, but the march ended up attracting a crowd of about 250,000.

But it’s not just American museums that are stockpiling the signs. The Bishopsgate Institute in London is also amassing a collection. An estimated 100,000 people gathered in London on Saturday. The sheer amount of people who participated was unprecedented.

Canadians also came out of the woodwork to support the movement. As a result, the Royal Alberta Museum located in Edmonton, Canada is collecting signs and pins from the march. Chatelaine reports that while official numbers are still being counted, it’s safe to say that nearly 100,000 Canadians took part in the march.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, said that the march left him feeling “inspired.” On Sunday, he took to Twitter to voice his support for the movement.

“Congratulations to the women and men across Canada who came out yesterday to support women’s rights. You keep your government inspired,” Trudeau wrote.

It was definitely a momentous time in human history, one that is certainly worthy of being remembered. In all honesty, every history museum should be documenting this march, because never before has there been this big of a demonstration in the name of women’s rights.

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The Clayton Outlaw Art Museum http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2016/12/26/clayton-outlaw-art-museum/ Mon, 26 Dec 2016 17:40:33 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5052 For the last decade, a closed storefront on Essex Street has sported a vividly rainbow painting of a skull on its front door and a sign declaring itself to be the Clayton Outlaw Art Museum (COAM). But there are no lights and no visitors. While artist Clayton Patterson has lived above his defunct gallery all […]

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A drawing of a biker with his middle finger up.

Image credit: Shutterstock

For the last decade, a closed storefront on Essex Street has sported a vividly rainbow painting of a skull on its front door and a sign declaring itself to be the Clayton Outlaw Art Museum (COAM). But there are no lights and no visitors. While artist Clayton Patterson has lived above his defunct gallery all this time, the space has been closed.

In the late ’80s and early ’90s, the COAM hosted exhibitions and work by fringe New York City artists like Spider Webb, Jim Power, and Dash Snow. Patterson and his wife Elsa Rensaa padded out its content with a collection of photos, videos, and memorabilia about punk culture, spanning topics from tattoos to riots.

Patterson has spent more than a decade documenting the changes and evolutions of his beloved neighborhood through art and photographs.

Now, the Clayton Outlaw Art Museum is at last reopening its doors, with a re-inaugural exhibition featuring art and curios from their ever-growing collection. A book of Patterson’s photos shows the 15-year growth of Essex Street, and a collection of Patterson’s artistic Clayton Caps.

The reopening isn’t Patterson’s only work. He collaborated with local rock band DAMEHT. At the center of all of their priorities is the creative lifestyle of the Lower East Side, and preserving that against the forces of either poverty or gentrification.

Another priority for Patterson is using the space of his art museum as a dialogue box to foment conversation with locals and continue to learn more and more about the microcosm in which he lives and works. He never wants to close his museum again.

Those interested will find the Clayton Outlaw Art Museum at 161 Essex Street. It’s not hard to find, just look for the door with the rainbow skull with the sunflower in its eye. Patterson will probably be sitting at the front table; you’ll recognize him by the belt-length beard.

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New Berggruen Gallery to Open in January http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2016/12/22/new-berggruen-gallery/ Thu, 22 Dec 2016 15:00:21 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5057 The Berggruen Gallery will open the doors of its new location on January 13, 2017, across the street from the recently renovated SFMOMA. Though San Francisco was originally thought to be pretty backward when it comes to art galleries and collectors, the Berggruens have actually curated and sold art for many top names in the […]

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A photo of San Francisco's art museum area.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The Berggruen Gallery will open the doors of its new location on January 13, 2017, across the street from the recently renovated SFMOMA. Though San Francisco was originally thought to be pretty backward when it comes to art galleries and collectors, the Berggruens have actually curated and sold art for many top names in the burgeoning San Francisco art scene, including investment banker Thomas Weisel, biotech innovator Anne Wojcicki, and Francisco Partners co-founder Sanford Robertson.

When John Berggruen first entertained the idea of starting his own gallery in San Francisco, his father, celebrated German art dealer Heinz Berggruen, told him he was out of his mind. “What he really meant was…San Francisco was the end of the world in terms of a collector base,” Berggruen recalled in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Nevertheless, Berggruen went on to build his small walk-up space selling prints on Grant Avenue to a completely renovated, three-story, 10,000-square-foot space on Hawthorne Street, just across the way from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

These days, that area has become a burgeoning hot spot for art in San Francisco. The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Contemporary Jewish Museum are both located nearby, and big name American art dealer Larry Gagosian opened a gallery right next door to Berggruens’ new location.

Over the course of their career, Berggruen and his wife Gretchen have put on more than 760 shows. Though they are both in their mid-70s, neither are looking to retire any time soon.

Their first show in the new location is called “The Human Form.” It will feature work starting from the early 20th century and moving through to contemporary times with artists including Henri Matisse, Lucian Freud, and George Condo. It will run through March 4.

The Berggruens plan to reserve two floors of the new space for exhibitions and one for projects and events.

“The opening of our new gallery represents the next phase in our role of being a catalyst within the Bay Area and the California arts ecology,” said Berggruen. “Our gallery will offer artists a larger and more fluid space in which to exhibit their work, enhancing our role in bringing innovative exhibitions and introducing new artists to San Francisco. Being at the center of the arts district and adjacent to SFMOMA will enable us to foster meaningful interplay between the art we and our neighbors present.”

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Austin Museum of Digital Art (AMODA) http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2016/11/29/austin-museum-digital-art-amoda/ Tue, 29 Nov 2016 15:00:23 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5016 For whatever reason, there’s always a resistance to modernity in the art world. We continually praise da Vinci, van Gogh, Shakespeare, and Mozart as if time itself was an indicator of how good a piece of artwork is. Just because something is “new” doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of artistic merit. One needn’t look further […]

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A digital art piece depicting trippy graphics.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

For whatever reason, there’s always a resistance to modernity in the art world. We continually praise da Vinci, van Gogh, Shakespeare, and Mozart as if time itself was an indicator of how good a piece of artwork is. Just because something is “new” doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of artistic merit. One needn’t look further than the Austin Museum of Digital Art (AMODA) to see the incredible fine art that’s being created today.

Digital technology hasn’t been around for very long, so it’s no surprise that there aren’t many well-known artists in this sphere yet. As a society, we usually wait about 50 years after someone’s death to appreciate their work. But why not change that norm?

Founded in 1997, AMODA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to, “engage the public and artists in the creation, understanding, and appreciation of digital art.” AMODA defines digital art as any work that is created using digital technology in one of three ways: as part of the creative process, as the finished piece, or as the subject of a piece.

Artistic works aren’t solely limited to visual pieces either; the museum showcases a variety of art forms, including music. The museum even has a performance series where live shows are performed at venues throughout Austin, TX such as concert halls, auditoriums, and theaters.

There is also a digital showcase for visual artists. Much like the performance series, this showcase travels to multiple venues throughout Austin. Locations are ultra-hip, high-traffic locales such as nightclubs, bars, and art galleries.

The best part about AMODA is that anyone can submit their digital art, regardless of whether or not they reside in Texas. The organization is always looking for volunteers as well.

At Cultivating Culture, we predict that new-art is going to become an international movement. What better way to get in on the action than to get involved with AMODA?

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The Nordic Heritage Museum http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2016/11/28/nordic-heritage-museum/ Mon, 28 Nov 2016 18:18:59 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5013 Located in Seattle, the Nordic Heritage Museum honors the cultural traditions brought over from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. It is the only museum of its kind in the U.S. Of special note is The Dream of America exhibition. Visitors are given the opportunity to experience what it was like for the first Nordic […]

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A photo of a Norse woman standing in front of a Viking ship.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Located in Seattle, the Nordic Heritage Museum honors the cultural traditions brought over from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. It is the only museum of its kind in the U.S.

Of special note is The Dream of America exhibition. Visitors are given the opportunity to experience what it was like for the first Nordic people to migrate to America. Dioramas simulate the full voyage, beginning with boarding the ship and crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors then “land” at Ellis Island and begin their trek to the Northwest from there.

It’s fun, it’s intriguing, and it’s highly educational. And for those who live far away, don’t worry; the exhibition is on permanent display. That leaves plenty of time to plan a trip.

Other highlights include the National Identity Galleries: The Nordic Countries. This exhibition has a separate gallery for each of the five countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden). Visitors are able to see the similarities and differences between the counties. This exhibition is also on permanent display.

Then there’s The Promise of the Northwest exhibition. This exhibition honors the impact that the Nordic people have had on the Pacific Northwest. Many Nordic immigrants were highly skilled in logging and fishing, which remain some of the biggest industries in the region to this day.

In addition to their permanent and traveling exhibitions, the museum also sponsors events, concerts, classes, and festivals throughout the year. Of special note is the annual Yulefest, which is the Nordic version of Christmas. It is a family-friendly event fully equipped with food, music, games, and more! At the Nordic Heritage Museum, history is never boring!

It’s an impressive museum to say the least, with more than 77,000 cultural items on display, including clothing, furniture, artwork, and archival materials. To learn more about the Nordic Heritage Museum, click here.

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The Underwater Museum (MUSA) http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2016/11/17/underwater-museum/ Thu, 17 Nov 2016 14:29:30 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=4998 You’d never know just looking at it, but there is a drove of treasure beneath the waters of the Yucatán Peninsula. It’s extraordinary, it’s exquisite, and it’s one of the most magnificent sights a person could ever behold. It’s called the MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) and it consists of dozens of sculptures, some of […]

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A photo of underwater statues.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

You’d never know just looking at it, but there is a drove of treasure beneath the waters of the Yucatán Peninsula. It’s extraordinary, it’s exquisite, and it’s one of the most magnificent sights a person could ever behold. It’s called the MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) and it consists of dozens of sculptures, some of which are only accessible via scuba diving.

In all honesty, it’s kind of creepy. Dozens of human-like statues stand on the sea floor, as if they were alive at one point. One can hardly look it without being reminded of the mythical city of Atlantis. But there are no fables here; just a really unique museum that doubles as a conservation effort.

According to the MUSA, the Cancun-Isla Mujeres Park gets over 750,000 visitors each year, making it one of the most frequented stretches of water in the world. While this level of tourism is great in an economic sense, it’s not so great in an environmental sense. In fact, it takes a tremendous toll on natural resources.

And that’s why three leading figures teamed up to create MUSA: Jaime González Cano, Director of the National Marine Park, Roberto Díaz Abraham, former President of the Cancun Nautical Association, and world-renowned sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. These three individuals founded the museum back in 2009 as way to draw attention away from Cancun-Isla Mujeres Park. It’s worked wonderfully so far, and Cancun-Isla Mujeres Park is already beginning to recover some of its natural reefs.

CNN Travel gave the museum rave reviews, writing that, “The museum comprises more than 400 original sculptures, which also serve as artificial reefs. Many are of human figures, making the ocean floor resemble some beautifully spooky lost world, its inhabitants frozen in space and time.” And even if you can’t scuba dive, never fear: the museum is accessible via snorkeling and glass bottom boat as well.

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Deserving Recognition: Black Artists in America http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2016/11/14/black-artists-america/ Mon, 14 Nov 2016 17:33:01 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=4988 “I think it’s going to take about 30 years, maybe 40, before people stop caring whether I’m black and just pay attention to the work,” said painter Norman Lewis in 1979. At the time, he was talking to his daughter while dying of cancer. And he was right. His paintings are finally attracting the attention […]

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A painting of a young, African American girl.

Image credit: Shutterstock

“I think it’s going to take about 30 years, maybe 40, before people stop caring whether I’m black and just pay attention to the work,” said painter Norman Lewis in 1979. At the time, he was talking to his daughter while dying of cancer. And he was right.

His paintings are finally attracting the attention of museums from all over the U.S., from New York to Boston to Philadelphia He has also been credited with being a key player in the Abstract Expressionist Movement, without having been previously recognized. He was also one of the first black artists to verbalize the institutional neglect that black artists everywhere are feeling.

Better late than never? Many American art museums are reexamining 20th century art to give black artists the credit and recognition that they deserve. The New York Times said it best:

“After decades of spotty acquisitions, undernourished scholarship and token exhibitions, American museums are rewriting the history of 20th-century art to include black artists in a more visible and meaningful way than ever before, playing historical catch-up at full tilt, followed by collectors who are rushing to find the most significant works before they are out of reach.”

It’s important to recognize and support black artists for a variety of reasons. First of all, they deserve just as much credit and acclaim as any other artist does. But secondly, museums ought to serve the needs of the general public. It is unacceptable to walk into a museum and not get a diverse range of artwork. Inclusiveness is important for the next generation of artists and the general public.

Aspiring black artists should have easy access to role models and inspiration. Museums need to move away from a male Euro-centric focus and support minorities in all areas.

Curators need to realize that by ignoring the impact and importance of minority artists, they are leaving their collections simple and one-dimensional. After all, how can one examine or display a part of American history while ignoring the contributions of minorities?

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The American Poetry Museum http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2016/11/01/american-poetry-museum/ Tue, 01 Nov 2016 18:32:03 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=4965 The American Poetry Museum, founded in 2004, was one of the nation’s first museums dedicated to collecting, preserving, and interpreting American verse. What’s more is that the American Poetry Museum couldn’t have come at a more troubling time in our nation’s history. According to the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, in 1992, just […]

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A pencil that is disintegrating into letters. Some of the letters have arranged to form the word, "poetry."

Image credit: Shutterstock

The American Poetry Museum, founded in 2004, was one of the nation’s first museums dedicated to collecting, preserving, and interpreting American verse. What’s more is that the American Poetry Museum couldn’t have come at a more troubling time in our nation’s history.

According to the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, in 1992, just 17% of Americans had read a poem at least once in the past year. As if that number wasn’t low enough already, the percentage of Americans who read poetry continues to decline. In 2012, only 6.7% of Americans had read a poem at least once in the past year.

Why does that matter? Because poetry challenges us to think critically about the world we live in. Some studies even suggest that reading poetry increases our sense of empathy. Poetry, through its use of concrete imagery, allows us to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

Although the museum is located in Washington D.C., most of their exhibits are available online. Take Girl for Sale for example. This exhibit uses the power of words and images to explore the issue of sex trafficking. All poems, paintings, and drawings can be viewed online here.

Then there’s the Beats to the Rhyme exhibit, which explores the relationship between spoken word poetry and hip-hop. The Beats to the Rhyme website features pictures, videos, and audio pieces that visitors can check out. There’s even a song called “Coded Language” that critically acclaimed poet Saul Williams collaborated on.

Aside from exhibits, the American Poetry Museum also hosts several events and educational programs throughout the year. The museum is currently hosting a “Youth Writing and Dialogue Workshop” for grades 2-12. Students will read, write, and perform their own poetry.

The American Poetry Museum is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11am-5pm. Their physical location, called the Center for Poetic Thought, can be found at:

716 Monroe Street NE, Studio 25
Washington, D.C. 20017

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