Best underrated art exhibit: National Museum of Women in the Arts

Media Credit: Donna Armstrong | Hatchet Photographer

The National Museum of Women in the Arts is underrated in the community, but features several rotating exhibits each year that showcase female artists.

Location: 1250 New York Ave. NW
Readers’ pick: National Museum of Women in the Arts

Located just a few blocks from the White House, the National Museum of Women in the Arts features art made by women from the last five centuries.

It is the only museum that hosts artwork created by local and international female artists, including many canonical artists like Frida Kahlo and Judith Leyster. The museum has more than 4,500 works of art on display since 1987, but they currently host two exhibits that rotate throughout the year. The museum was set up to give a historically underrepresented artists their time in the spotlight.

Current visiting exhibits include the seven-wing Women’s House, along with “Hung Liu In Print,” a retrospective on a Chinese-immigrant artist who recreates subjects of laborers during the regime of Mao Zedong.

Outside the exhibitions, the museum is home to a bevy of Baroque and Renaissance pieces of art, and its extensive collection will keep you captivated for hours on end. If contemporary art is more your fancy, catch vibrant oil portraits from Amy Sherald, who was chosen to create former first lady Michelle Obama’s portrait.

Given the fact that the museum is hosted in a former Masonic Temple built in 1903 for the Free Masons, the Renaissance Revival-style building is registered on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The museum hosts various events, like workshops, concerts, lectures and films. Events are open to the public for an admission fee, but free admission is available for all attendees on the first Sunday of each month. Gallery talks, featuring certified museum educators, occur sporadically throughout the month.

Upcoming exhibits that will be featured later in the year include Heavy Metal, a showcase of woman artists in the metalworking art medium, along with a retrospective showcase on the two sisters who run the fashion label Rodarte.

The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Since this spot is less traveled to than your typical Smithsonian museum, you’ll be able to traverse most exhibits without the congestion of spectators.

Unlike the majority of the museums in D.C., this one isn’t free. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students and visitors 65 and older and it is free for museum members, who pay a $50 yearly fee, or those 18 or under.

This collection of artwork made to celebrate woman artists is worth spending a little extra time and money to enjoy.

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