6 Interactive Art Exhibits in Washington, D.C.

by | 17 December 2019 | Art, Conferences

photo by Andreas Psaltis © 2019 ACM SIGGRAPH

Washington, D.C. is home to some of the world’s most stunning art. From 19 museums, galleries, gardens, and a zoo in the Smithsonian Institution to community arts organizations like Dupont Underground, D.C. and its surrounding areas of Maryland and Virginia are filled with thought-provoking art that spans centuries.

Even the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, SIGGRAPH 2020’s venue, is home to $4 million worth of art — right in the heart of Washington, D.C.! And, when SIGGRAPH comes to town, the Art Gallery will present an interactive exhibit that examines today’s shifting political, social, and ecological climates.

As you prepare to share your innovative content for the Art Gallery, find inspiration in some of the current interactive exhibitions around Washington, D.C.

International Spy Museum

Undercover Mission

Become a spy for a day at the International Spy Museum. Go undercover and explore the permanent exhibitions at the museum’s new location in L’Enfant Plaza. Start in the Briefing Center and get equipped with an undercover identity. Then, learn about the inventions spies, scientists, and engineers of the past created to steal secrets. Next, crack codes, put on an analyst’s cap, and use intelligence to make decisions in “Making Sense of Secrets.” Finally, complete your mission in the debriefing center and see how your spy skills stack up to the pros.

National Geographic Museum

Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall

You already make a positive impact with your art. Now, through 1 August 2020, find inspiration in the National Geographic Museum’s exhibit “Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall.” This “hands-on, transportive multimedia exhibition” celebrates Goodall’s contributions to research, the environment, and the world. Embark on a 3D exploration of Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park, explore Goodall’s research tent, and learn about her current leadership in conservation and youth empowerment.

National Museum of Women in the Arts

New York Ave Sculpture Project

At the intersection of New York Avenue, H Street, and 13th Street stands the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ “New York Avenue Sculpture Project.” The project embodies the museum’s commitment to the artistic adornment of New York Avenue. On display now through 20 September 2020 are four sculptures by Betsabeé Romero. Romero constructed, carved, and painted tires as totemic structures, and the use of interior lighting illuminates her pieces in an “otherworldly glow,” a first for the Sculpture Project. Interact with these structures that emphasize the themes of human migration and the environment, right in the middle of New York Avenue.

Renwick Gallery

Connections: Contemporary Craft at the Renwick Gallery

Just steps away from the White House, the Renwick Gallery is home to a variety of art including “Connections,” the gallery’s dynamic ongoing permanent collection. The 80 objects on display celebrate craft “as a discipline and an approach to living differently in the modern world.” The installation focuses on the interconnectivity of objects and the shared stories they tell, and it is loosely curated to resemble an analog version of the internet. Find your own path and create your own story while winding through this ongoing installation.


Mark Bradford: Pickett’s Charge

The Hirshhorn, a leading voice for contemporary art and culture in Washington, D.C., is home to artist Mark Bradford’s “Pickett’s Charge” through 2021. Finding inspiration in a turning point of the Civil War, Bradford used reproductions of Gettysburg battle imagery to create eight abstract paintings, all of which ask viewers to “reconsider how narratives about American history are shaped and contested.” Visit this exhibition to contemplate how artists respond to the political and cultural climates of their time.

Holiday Bonus: ARTECHOUSE

AURORA: The Spirit of the Northern Lights

If you happen to be in Washington, D.C. over the next few weeks, stop by ARTECHOUSE to experience its holiday installation “AURORA: The Spirit of Northern Lights.” This immersive installation is inspired by nature, taking visitors to the aurora borealis and giving winter powers to those who desire them. The experience includes an ice cavern, frosted forests, and dancing skies that will ignite imaginations. Not planning to be in D.C. until SIGGRAPH 2020? Keep an eye on the seasonal immersive experiences ARTECHOUSE offers.

Like what you see or have a work of art worthy of display? Submit your innovative, interactive art to the SIGGRAPH 2020 Art Gallery by 21 January 2020, and keep an eye out for what these museums will feature this summer in Washington, D.C.

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