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The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery Announces a New Digital Comic Series

The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery has announced a new digital comic series, Drawn to Art: Ten Tales of Inspiring Women Artists.

The series looks at visionaries and rule breakers: Alma Thomas, Berenice Abbott, Carmen Herrera, Kay Sekimachi, Mickalene Thomas, Corita Kent, Maria Oakey Dewing, Anni Albers, Edmonia Lewis, and Romaine Brooks.

The digital comics will focus on the lives of these important women with the hopes of inspiring a new generation. Each comic will be drawn by a student-illustrator at the Ringling College of Art and Design.

Read the comics now and check out the each below.

BENEATH THE HOLLY TREE: A COMIC ABOUT ALMA THOMAS

Illustrated by Lauren Lamb

Alma Thomas became the first woman to graduate from the art department at Howard University, as well as one of the first Black women to receive a degree in art. Her exuberant, colorful paintings explore the natural world around us, from garden to galaxy.

BENEATH THE HOLLY TREE: A COMIC ABOUT ALMA THOMAS

THREADS OF HISTORY: A COMIC ABOUT ANNI ALBERS

Illustrated by Emily Fromhage

Anni Albers studied art at the innovative Bauhaus, where she discovered weaving. She fled Nazi Germany and became an influential teacher at the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina.

THREADS OF HISTORY: A COMIC ABOUT ANNI ALBERS

PICTURING A CITY: A COMIC ABOUT BERENICE ABBOTT

Illustrated by Madeline Kneubheul

Born in 1898, Berenice Abbott discovered her gift for photography in Paris. When she returned home, she created iconic portraits of buildings and people in New York City, images that still move us to this day.

PICTURING A CITY: A COMIC ABOUT BERENICE ABBOTT

IN AWE OF THE STRAIGHT LINE: A COMIC ABOUT CARMEN HERRERA

Illustrated by Ezra Gaeta

Carmen Herrera was born in Havana, Cuba, then lived in Paris before moving to New York City in 1952. She faced discrimination in the art world for being an immigrant and a woman and only found success late in life for her minimal, beautiful works.

IN AWE OF THE STRAIGHT LINE: A COMIC ABOUT CARMEN HERRERA

A LIFE IN COLOR: A COMIC ABOUT CORITA KENT

Illustrated by Mica Borovinsky

Corita Kent joined a religious order after high school and became fascinated with screen printing. She would go on to be described as “the pop art nun who combined the sensibility of Andy Warhol with social justice,” and helped to bring a little more color to the world.

A LIFE IN COLOR: A COMIC ABOUT CORITA KENT

BREAKING THE MARBLE CEILING: A COMIC ABOUT EDMONIA LEWIS

Illustrated by Rachel Bivens

The daughter of a Haitian father and an Ojibwe mother Lewis overcame many obstacles before finding success as a sculptor in Rome, where her fame brought countless visitors to her studio.

BREAKING THE MARBLE CEILING: A COMIC ABOUT EDMONIA LEWIS

THE WEAVER’S WEAVER: A COMIC ABOUT KAY SEKIMACHI

Illustrated by Emily Ehlen

Kay Sekimachi and her family were forced into a Japanese incarceration camp during WWII. There, she spent her time making art. After the war, she discovered weaving and her innovative practices and mastery of techniques earned her the sobriquet “the Weaver’s Weaver.”

THE WEAVER'S WEAVER: A COMIC ABOUT KAY SEKIMACHI

A GARDEN-THIRSTY SOUL: A COMIC ABOUT MARIA OAKEY DEWING

Illustrated by Kippy Sage

Born in 1845, the American painter known for her depiction of flowers described herself as a “Garden-Thirsty Soul.” Her promising career was overshadowed by her marriage to a more famous artist. Her artworks remain unsurpassed in celebrating the beauty of the natural world.

A GARDEN-THIRSTY SOUL: A COMIC ABOUT MARIA OAKEY DEWING

PORTRAIT: A COMIC ABOUT MICKALENE THOMAS

Illustrated by Shayna Cohen

When contemporary artist Mickalene Thomas was in art school, she couldn’t afford traditional materials and gravitated towards craft stores and the glitter and rhinestones within. Her paintings speak to female empowerment and of women of color owning and defining their own spaces.

PORTRAIT: A COMIC ABOUT MICKALENE THOMAS

DO YOU THINK I’M HIDING? A COMIC ABOUT ROMAINE BROOKS

Illustrated by Abigail Rajunov

Romaine Brooks suffered an abusive childhood but triumphed as an adult, embracing gender fluidity and her queer identity. Her fierce independence is inspiring to people today.

DO YOU THINK I'M HIDING? A COMIC ABOUT ROMAINE BROOKS

Preview: Birds: Smithsonian Coloring Book

Birds: Smithsonian Coloring Book

(W) Rachel Curtis
In Shops: May 26, 2021
SRP: $16.99

Experience a fascinating look at birds and the environments they inhabit! The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and IDW Publishing present a fascinating new coloring book that provides a beautiful and informative tour through the vibrant avian world.

With this exquisitely designed coloring book, avian lovers of all ages can explore the wonder of these feathered animals, guided by experts from The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and the artistic wizardry of Rachel Curtis (Dinosaurs: A Smithsonian Coloring Book). These lush pen and ink illustrations invite you to step into captivating scenes featuring the Cape May warbler, American avocet, Roseate spoonbill, Indigo bunting, and many more. Fans of birds, coloring books, and aviary migration will find an enchanting realm to unlock with their own creativity.

Each page of Birds: A Smithsonian Coloring Book not only stands alone as a work of art, but is also accompanied by brief and fascinating insights from the museum’s Avian experts about each bird and its world, ensuring that time spent coloring is also time spent learning.

This book’s deluxe ivory paper allows for a variety of artistic media like pen, pencil, or even watercolor, to ensure your creative vision comes to life just the way you want–and lasts for years to come.

Birds: Smithsonian Coloring Book

Preview: Smithsonian Dinosaurs Coloring Book

Smithsonian Dinosaurs Coloring Book

(W) Rachel Curtis
In Shops: Nov 25, 2020
SRP: $16.99

Dinosaurs come to life-with your help! The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and IDW Publishing present a fascinating new coloring book that provides a beautiful and informative tour through the prehistoric world of dinosaurs.

With this exquisitely designed coloring book, dinosaur lovers of all ages can explore millions of years of animal wonders, guided by experts from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the artistic wizardry of Rachel Curtis (The Princess Bride: A Storybook to Color). These lush pen and ink illustrations invite you to step into captivating scenes featuring the herbivorous Stegosaurus, the sea-dwelling Hesperornis, the giant sauropod Camarasaurus, the mighty Tyrannosaurus, and many more. Fans of dinosaurs, coloring books, and natural history will find an enchanting world to unlock with their own creativity.

Each page of Dinosaurs: A Smithsonian Coloring Book not only stands alone as a work of art, but is also accompanied by brief and fascinating insights from the museum’s Paleontology experts about each dinosaur and its world, ensuring that time spent coloring is also time spent learning.

This book’s deluxe ivory paper allows for a variety of artistic media like pen, pencil, or even watercolor, to ensure your creative vision comes to life just the way you want lasts for years to come.

Officially licensed by the Smithsonian and developed in collaboration with experts from the National Museum of Natural History.

Smithsonian Dinosaurs Coloring Book

Airplanes Soar and Dinosaurs Roar in The Smithsonian Institution and IDW Publishing’s Enlightening New Line of Coloring Books

Time spent coloring can also be time spent learning, thanks to two beautiful and informative coloring books presented by IDW Publishing and the Smithsonian Institution. This October, aviation and paleontology fans of all ages can look forward to a creative exploration of their favorite topics, as they color their way through Airplanes: A Smithsonian Coloring Book and Dinosaurs: A Smithsonian Coloring Book.

These books are designed to provide fascinating coloring experiences for readers. The pages stand alone as works of art and the books also contain insights from the National Air and Space Museum’s aeronautics experts and the paleontology experts from the National Museum of Natural History.  

Airplanes: A Smithsonian Coloring Book allows readers to soar through the skies with some of the most recognized and revered airplanes from the collection at the National Air and Space Museum. The thrilling artistry of John Pirtel vivifies the very first powered aircrafts of the 1900s, revolutionary bombers and jet fighters of the 20th century, supersonic passenger airliner, and many more.

Dinosaurs: A Smithsonian Coloring Book invites readers to explore millions of years of animal wonders, guided by experts from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The artistic wizardry of Rachel Curtis (The Princess Bride: A Storybook to Color) captures scenes featuring the herbivorous Stegosaurus, the sea-dwelling Hesperornis, the giant sauropod Camarasaurus, the mighty Tyrannosaurus, and many more.

Future Con Returns to Awesome Con Highlighting the Science in Science Fiction

The Smithsonian magazine Future Con returns as part of the region’s premier comic and pop culture convention, Awesome ConFriday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Scientists and entertainers will come together at the themed pavilion and on stage to connect science and technology with science fiction and fantasy. Future Conpresents three days of special programming that will include tech demos, meet-and-greet opportunities with prolific thought leaders and the opportunity to dive into the stimulating and fantastical overlaps between real-world science and the science of the future. Attendees of all ages will be able to engage at panel Q&As and discussions as well as hands-on tech demos and workshops, all focused on fostering awareness and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Awesome Con, now in its seventh year, is thrilled to welcome a range of leaders and experts from organizations that represent scientific advancement and education across numerous industries. Representatives from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, NASA Goddard Space and Flight Center, APS Physics, Nova Labs, Central Intelligence Agency, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science will lead programs and workshops throughout the weekend.

Among highlights of this year’s Future Con programming, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will join commercial space leaders for a discussion of exciting new developments at NASA and in the growing space industry.

Image Credit: NASA

Guests can explore space with Dr. Erin Macdonald, who will guide a panel dubbed Astronomy 101, blazing through the science of planets, the solar system and stars. Looking to dive a little deeper? Dr. Macdonald will explore the science of gravitational waves, the collision of black holes and a neutron star merger with fun stories and a conversation about what these discoveries mean as we move forward.

Image Credit: Dr. Erin Macdonald

The Central Intelligence Agency will demystify the Agency in several sessions that showcase intelligence work. Guests will work through actual operations officer tests, hear about the U-2 and A-12 spy planes and Area 51, the testing site that made them famous, and will learn how eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes contributed to one of the most audacious CIA missions of the Cold War. And, in the grand tradition of Madam Pince in Harry Potter, Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Dr. Barbara Gordon in Batman, the curious can learn what it is like to be a librarian working in espionage and why some heroes wear cardigans.

Image Credit: Central Intelligence Agency
Image Credit: Central Intelligence Agency

As true crime gains a mainstream following in the US, Future Con will explore technological advancements in criminal investigation, and the fight against the same technology being used in sinister ways. U.S. intelligence experts focused on digital and physical 3D modeling will demonstrate tools used on national security missions, including imagery and geospatial information used to visualize human activities that occur on the surface of the Earth.

Future Con will also explore the possible realities that exist in popular comics as well. Two panels will highlight the science of Voltron: Legendary Defender, and Aquaman. Attendees will learn about wormholes, crystals, the future of flight, life in the extremes of the deep ocean, and bio-inspired technologies that could one day allow humans to take on superhero abilities.

Future Con takes place Friday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28 inside this year’s Awesome Con, and no separate ticket is needed to attend Future Con events—admission to Awesome Con includes access to Future Con’s speakers, exhibits, and events.

Almost American