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Writing Salon

Writing Salon, National Gallery of Art

Download the 2018–2019 schedule here (PDF 138KB)

Creative Writing Workshops

Come find creative inspiration in the Gallery’s permanent collection and special exhibitions. Led by local writers, this series of workshops uses art as a starting point for writing original pieces. Through conversation and writing exercises, participants explore the elements of writing and experience works of art through a different lens.

The workshops are designed for all skill levels; beginning through advanced-level participants are welcome. 

How Registration Works

This program is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required due to limited space.

Registration opens at noon on the dates listed below each workshop topic. At that time, a registration button will be added below the description of the workshop. If the button does not appear at noon, try refreshing your browser.

These workshops are repeated. Please register for one date per topic. Please bring your own writing materials. Ages 18 and over.

Past Workshops

Poetry: Movement and Meaning
Taught by Tara Campbell

Explore the colorful, energetic work of contemporary artist Oliver Lee Jackson, subject of a special exhibition on view through September 2019, as inspiration for writing free verse and formal poetry.

Perspective: Inside Out
Taught by Mary Hall Surface

Probe how writers and visual artists strive to convey the complexity of what we see and experience, as inspired by the work of Paul Cézanne and Virginia Woolf.

Setting: Capturing Place
Taught by Anamaría Anderson

Discover parallels between descriptive writing and the art of 19th-century landscape artists who painted en plein air—outdoors in front of their motif.

Character: The Power of Detail
Taught by Tara Campbell

Explore how "divine details" can fuel the backstories, relationships, and motivations of your characters by looking closely at the work of Gordon Parks. The special exhibition Gordon Parks: The New Tide, 1940–1950 will be on view through February 2019.

Memoir: Spaces of Memory
Taught by Mary Hall Surface

Consider how memory shapes the work of sculptor Rachel Whiteread and can inform your own reflective writing. Rachel Whiteread, a special exhibition, will be on view through January 2019.

Story: The Narrative Arc
Taught by Karen Keating

Dive into John Singleton Copley’s Watson and the Shark, 1778, as the starting point for shaping the arc of a story from beginning to end.

Join the Conversation!

Connect with us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Tag photos and tweets with #NGAWritingSalon.

Images from past Writing Salon workshops


Questions about this program should be directed to [email protected].


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Permanent Collection

View all works of the permanent collection that are on display.