Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jamaica Kincaid in American Pictures Event at the Smithsonian

Chestertown, MD — Internationally acclaimed novelist Jamaica Kincaid will appear on Saturday, April 11, as the second speaker in this spring's American Pictures Distinguished Lecture Series, a joint program of Washington College, the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The American Pictures series offers a highly original approach to art, pairing great works with leading figures of American culture. This spring's all-star line-up includes Kincaid, iconic filmmaker John Waters (who appeared March 21), presidential historian Harold Holzer (April 18) and New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast (April 26). Each speaker chooses a single powerful image and investigates its meanings, revealing how artworks reflect American identity and inspire creativity in many different fields. The series director is historian and essayist Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the college's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

Born in Antigua, Kincaid has made a lasting mark on the literary history of both the Caribbean and her adopted country, the United States. She was a staff writer at The New Yorker from 1976 until 1995, and in 2004 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her many works of fiction and nonfiction include Annie John (1985), A Small Place (1988), The Autobiography of My Mother (1996), and, most recently, Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalayas (2005). As her subject for the American Pictures talk, Kincaid has chosen "Kept In," Edward Lamson Henry's poignant 1889 painting of an African-American schoolgirl.

Her April 11 lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 4:30 p.m. at the Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, 8th and F Sts., N.W., Washington, D.C., in the National Portrait Gallery's and Smithsonian American Art Museum's McEvoy Auditorium. Tickets are available in the G Street lobby of the Reynolds Center, beginning at 3:30 p.m. No reservations are necessary for the general public.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Washington College may reserve tickets to this and the other American Pictures events on a first-come, first-served basis. The Starr Center is also running free buses from Chestertown to Washington for each talk. For details, please call 410-810-7165 or email For more information on the American Pictures series, visit

About the Sponsors

Founded in 1782 under the personal patronage of its namesake, Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, upholds a tradition of excellence and innovation in the liberal arts. The American Pictures lecture series is a project of the college's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and its Department of Art and Art History. Support for the American Pictures Distinguished Lecture Series comes from the Starr Foundation, the Hodson Trust, the Hedgelawn Foundation, and other benefactors.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the nation's first collection of American art, is an unparalleled record of the American experience. The collection captures the aspirations, character and imagination of the American people from the colonial period to today.

The National Portrait Gallery tells the stories of America through the individuals—poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists—who have built our national culture. It is where the arts keep us in the company of remarkable Americans.

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