At a time when the arts are frequently shelved in American schools in favor of drilling students in math, science and technology, it’s good to know that some schools still value creativity.
American University was one of the first colleges in the U.S. to offer fine arts degrees, and today the school boasts a three-story, 44,000-square-foot museum that holds more than 6,000 objets d’art.
Current exhibitions at The American University Museum include:
- Hung Liu: Daughter of China, Resident Alien — Liu, a Chinese immigrant who is now an American citizen, depicts themes of refugees and heroines.
- It Takes a Nation: Art for Social Justice — A variety of artists illustrate Black Panther Party ideals from the ’60s and ’70s as well as modern views of the same time period.
- Silos — Drawings, paintings and sculptures portray society’s deprecation of racial and cultural differences.
- Portal Screens: DC to Milwaukee’s Amani Neighborhood — This interactive exhibit connects visitors in D.C. to visitors to Moody Park in Milwaukee, via live video. Amani is a poverty-stricken, crime-ridden area rife with racial tensions.
- Updraft America — This timely installation by Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg turns pages of Congressional proceedings transcripts into paper airplanes. Half are colored red and the other half are colored blue, and with the updraft, they combine to make purple in this metaphor for politics and (lack of) progress in the U.S.
- Todas las Manos — This new 10-foot-by-40-foot mural recently installed in the museum’s sculpture garden depicts Orlando Letelier, former Chilean ambassador to the U.S., who was assassinated here in D.C. in 1976. An article about the event and the artist — Letelier’s son — ran earlier this month in Washington Post.
Put this university museum on your list (and the one at George Washington University, too), to visit next time you’re downtown, and take your kids to one of their special programs for children. The only STEM they’ll encounter there is a flower stem!
The American University Museum, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, 202-885-1300, firstname.lastname@example.org. Hours: Tuesdays – Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; free.