Architecture Professor Bradford Grant has been named the first Instagram artist-in-residence at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The National Portrait Gallery “seeks to collaborate with artists both within and outside the Smithsonian to create dynamic public outreach, engage diverse national and international audiences, and explore the infinite richness and complexity of American history through the art of portraiture and biography to advance the Smithsonian’s fundamental mission to increase and diffuse knowledge”.
“It’s an honor to join the National Portrait Gallery through this residency and to help tell a piece of the American story through drawing,” Grant said in the National Portrait Gallery’s recent press release. “On-the-spot life drawings present an opportunity to both engage visitors in a new way and shed light on the often unseen stories unfolding right under our noses every day. I look forward to doing that at the Portrait Gallery and documenting the museum itself as a living entity.”
In the artist-in-residence role, Grant will provide engaging insight into the museum’s programs and its community through his sketch work and made-from-life drawings. His work premiered on the museum’s Instagram account @smithsoniannpg last week and will continue to be displayed throughout his residency. Grant will be on sabbatical leave for the Fall 2020 semester to dedicate his time to creating timeless art.
His recent work for the National Portrait Gallery, inspired by protests against police brutality in June, will be displayed in a socially distanced gallery exhibit once the museum has safely reopened. Grant’s work will also be used to enhance first year curriculum for architecture students at Howard University.
Grant is recognized as “a talented member of the D.C. community, with a gifted eye for finding and documenting stories,” National Portrait Gallery Director Kim Saget has said.
Grant served in a similar capacity during the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Shifting Landscape: Black Architects and Planners 1968-Now symposium in September 2018.
Read the full press release from the National Portrait Gallery.