Hirshhorn Plaza

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

“Art and Writing,” a free, two-day program of readings and a workshop led by participating writers of the State Department’s International Visitor Program, will take place on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15 and 16, at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue at Seventh Street S.W.

The program opens on Friday with “Readings in the Collection: Part I,” from noon to 1 p.m. Ten distinguished writers from Bulgaria, Colombia, the Philippines, Poland, the United Kingdom, the West Bank and Zimbabwe will read their independent works in the Lerner Room, where several paintings and sculptures are exhibited. The readers range from fiction writers, poets and playwrights to journalists, editors and professors.

On Saturday the program resumes when the public is invited to participate in “Writer’s Workshop: Using Art to Inspire Writing,” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (registration required, call [202] 357-3235 ext. 115). In a tour of the permanent collection, participants will discover subjects and approaches on which to base their original written works and then develop them with the guidance of workshop leaders.

Christopher Merrill, director of the International Writer’s Program at the University of Iowa and a well-known author, poet, editor and radio commentator, will conduct the workshop with the help of Edward Carey, a British playwright and novelist; Sukrita Paul Kumar, an Indian professor, author and poet; and Hugo Chaparro Velderrama, a Colombian poet, fiction writer and critic. From 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the galleries, a program called “Readings” will offer selected workshop participants an opportunity to present their new works to the public.

“Readings in the Collection: Part II” will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Lerner Room. A group of 10 additional writers–from Argentina, Brazil, Burma, Chile, Uganda and Zambia–will present works on subjects ranging from 18th-century Burma to Madrigal singers in the Philippines.

“Art and Writing,” coordinated by Teresia Bush, senior educator in the Hirshhorn’s Education Department, is a collaborative project with the International Visitor Program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (http://exhanges.state.gov/education/ivp), which brings participants–current or potential leaders in government, politics, the media, education and other fields–to the United States from all over the world each year to meet and confer with their professional counterparts and to experience the United States first hand. The Institute of International Education provides additional organizational support.

“Art and Writing” is free and open to the public, with registration required only for the workshop. The Hirshhorn is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., seven days a week (closed Dec. 25). The nearest Metrorail stop is L’Enfant Plaza, Maryland Avenue exit. Admission to the museum is free. For more information, call (202) 357-2700.

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