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Writing Salon

As a precautionary measure in light of COVID-19, the Gallery has canceled all Writing Salon programs scheduled until further notice. We hope to welcome you to the Gallery soon and thank you for your support.

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.


Upcoming Workshops

Jan Steen, The Dancing Couple

Dialogue: Talking At, Past, and With

Taught by Karen Keating

Enrich the sense of drama between your characters by experimenting with various dialogue techniques, using The Dancing Couple by Jan Steen and other lively Dutch portraits for inspiration.

Friday, March 13, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Saturdays, March 14, 21, 1:00–3:00 p.m.
Sundays, March 15, 22, 1:00–3:00 p.m.

 Archibald John Motley Jr., Portrait of My Grandmother

Flash Fiction: The Art of Change

Taught by Tara Campbell

Explore the theme of change in connection to an early painting by Archibald John Motley Jr. and translate your reflections into flash fiction: a complete, satisfying story in 1,000 words or less.

Friday, April 3, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Saturdays, April 4, 25, 1:00–3:00 p.m.
Sundays, April 5, 26, 1:00–3:00 p.m.

Register beginning at noon on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.


 Sir Anthony van Dyck, Marchesa Balbi

Classic Horror: Elements of Fear & Suspense

Taught by Karen Keating

Explore the art of crafting tales that creep under our skin and quicken our pulse by finding inspiration in the portraits of Sir Anthony van Dyck.

Friday, May 1, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Saturdays, May 2, 16, 1:00–3:00 p.m.
Sundays, May 3, 17, 1:00–3:00 p.m.

Register beginning at noon on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.


Past Workshops

Georgia O'Keeffe, Jack-in-the-Pulpit No. IV

Poetry: Breaking Free

Taught by Mary Hall Surface

Experiment with techniques for writing poetry inspired by the modernist works of Georgia O’Keeffe and more.

Friday, January 17, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Saturdays, January 18, 25, 1:00–3:00 p.m.
Sundays, January 19, 26, 1:00–3:00 p.m.


Joan Mitchell - Salut Tom

Setting: Imagining Place

Taught by Mary Hall Surface

Discover how the abstract paintings of artist Joan Mitchell can become an imaginative landscape for writing.

Friday, November 8, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Saturdays, November 9, 16, 1:00–3:00 p.m.
Sundays, November 10, 17, 1:00–3:00 p.m.

Lee Bontecou - Untitled

Worldbuilding: Into the Unknown

Taught by Tara Campbell

Slip into another world with Lee Bontecou’s enigmatic untitled multimedia work from 1962. Through a series of writing exercises, we’ll explore the many possibilities of her three-dimensional piece, reimagining it as object, landscape, creature, structure, and more.

Friday, October 18, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Saturdays, October 19, 26, 1:00–3:00 p.m.
Sundays, October 20, 27, 1:00–3:00 p.m.


Join the Conversation!

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Images from past Writing Salon workshops


Georgia O'Keeffe, Jack-in-the-Pulpit No. IV, 1930, oil on canvas, Alfred Stieglitz Collection, Bequest of Georgia O'Keeffe, 1987.58.3; Jan Steen, The Dancing Couple, 1663, oil on canvas, Widener Collection, 1942.9.81; Archibald John Motley Jr., Portrait of My Grandmother, 1922, oil on canvas, Patrons' Permanent Fund, Avalon Fund, and Motley Fund, 2018.2.1; Sir Anthony van Dyck, Marchesa Balbic, 1623, oil on canvas, Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937.1.49; Joan Mitchell, Salut Tom, 1979, oil on canvas, Corcoran Collection (Gift of the Women's Committee of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and Museum Purchase with the aid of funds from the National Endowment for the Arts), 2014.136.135; Lee Bontecou, Untitled, 1962, welded iron, canvas, wire, and black paint, Gift of the Collectors Committee, 2004.44.1

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

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