Feb. 2, 2021

Hirshhorn’s ARTLAB Continues Free Virtual Arts Education for Teens and Educators
Bi-Weekly Series “Respect Her Crank!: Sounds of Blackness” Celebrates Black Women in Music, Feb. 2-June 24

ARTLAB, the inclusive digital studio for teens at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, will meet the increasing demand for distance learning for both teens and educators through their new workshop, “Respect Her Crank!: Sounds of Blackness.” Feb. 2–June 24, ARTLAB will host free virtual workshops each week, tailored for educators (but open to all) on Tuesdays and teens ages 13–19 on Thursdays. The workshops will explore the role of Black women in American music history through music production, songwriting, graphic design and workshops from community partners.

COVID-19 has forced educational institutions like the Hirshhorn to reimagine distance learning for the arts. ARTLAB’s educators have designed workshops that acknowledge challenges for teens and educators: the accessibility and cost of supplies, technology and software subscriptions, as well as address racial and gender inequities. “Respect Her Crank!: Sounds of Blackness” offers programs inspired by trailblazing Black women in American music using accessible online software. From the sounds of blues singer Gertrude “Ma” Rainey to the producer duo Nova Wav, “Respect Her Crank!: Sounds of Blackness” provides innovative ways to celebrate Black women’s contribution to music while building marketable creative skills from songwriting to music production and graphic design.

The “Respect Her Crank!” public program series originally launched summer 2020 to commemorate women’s contributions in go-go, the musical sound of Washington, D.C., through a youth internship and public programs. Capturing the attention of over 350 program registrants, “Respect Her Crank!: A Go-Go Herstory” gained more than 10,000 combined views across online platforms. “The past five weeks, getting to make music and learn from women of color has been one of the best experiences of my life,” said Mia, age 19, who participated in the summer program. “I feel that everything I’ve learned about music production—it’s been ‘mansplained’ to me by straight white men.”

The series’ full calendar is available at hirshhorn.si.edu/events. All workshops will be facilitated via Zoom, and registration is available for a workshop—or more—that is of interest.

Respect Her Crank!: Producing Sounds of Blackness
First Tuesdays (tailored for educators) and Thursdays (tailored for teens) of the month, 4–5:30 p.m. ET

Respect Her Crank!: Writing Sounds of Blackness
Second Tuesdays (tailored for educators) and Thursdays (tailored for teens) of the month, 4–5:30 p.m. ET

Respect Her Crank!: Designing Sounds of Blackness
Third Tuesdays (tailored for educators) and Thursdays (tailored for teens) of the month, 4–5:30 p.m. ET

Respect Her Crank!: Creating Sounds of Blackness
Fourth Tuesdays (tailored for educators) and Thursdays (tailored for teens) of the month, 4–5:30 p.m. ET

This workshop series was made possible with the support of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.


ARTLAB is a radically inclusive digital art studio for teens ages 13 to 19 years old. It opened in 2011 at the Hirshhorn to provide local youth free access to the latest technology, a wide range of art materials and one-on-one mentorship from professional artists to support their creative learning. With a variety of special programs and resources, ARTLAB cultivates community and fosters the next generation of innovators. For more information, visit hirshhorn.si.edu/explore/about-artlab. Find them on social media @ARTLABplus.

About the Hirshhorn

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the national museum of modern and contemporary art and a leading voice for 21st-century art and culture. Part of the Smithsonian, the Hirshhorn is located prominently on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Its holdings encompass one of the most important collections of postwar American and European art in the world. The Hirshhorn presents diverse exhibitions and offers an array of public programs on the art of our time—free to all. The Hirshhorn Museum’s outdoor sculpture garden is open daily 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. The museum and plaza are currently closed due to COVID-19. For more information, visit hirshhorn.si.edu. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. 

Image: Photo courtesy of Candice Taylor


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