Art in Embassies and U.S. Embassy Ottawa Partner With National Gallery of Canada on Contemporary Conversations Series

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
February 9, 2015

The Department of State’s Office of Art in Embassies (AIE) and U.S. Embassy Ottawa are pleased to announce the launch of the Contemporary Conversations series. This new partnership with the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) will feature a series of artist lectures and community outreach events, in conjunction with the newly opened art exhibition at the Residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, the Honorable Bruce A. Heyman. The exhibition features eight noted artists: Nick Cave, Chuck Close, Hung Liu, Eric Fischl, Theaster Gates, Alex Katz, Marie Watt, and Stephen Wilkes. The events and lectures will enrich and expand the exhibition, exploring a variety of important themes common to the United States and Canada.

The Contemporary Conversations series will launch on Thursday February 26, 2015 at 6 p.m. at the National Gallery of Canada with a lecture by internationally renowned U.S. artist Marie Watt in conversation with the Gallery’s Audain Curator of Indigenous Art, Greg Hill. Watt will also host a sewing circle on Saturday, February 28 from 12:00 - 3:00 p.m. Both events will be held in the NGC’s Watercourt Foyer, and are free and open to the public. Advance registration is necessary as space is limited. Please send RSVPs to or call 613-991-6516.

A multidisciplinary artist of Seneca and Scottish-German heritage currently based in Oregon, Marie Watt draws upon indigenous design principles, oral tradition, personal experience, and Western art history. Her numerous awards include the 2009 Bonnie Bronson Fellowship Award, the 2007 Anonymous Was A Woman Award and the 2006 Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship.

Art in Embassies, a premier public-private partnership within the U.S. Department of State, furthers U.S. diplomacy efforts through the power of the visual arts by expansive, international cross-cultural exchange around the world.

The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. Since 1880 it has played a key cultural role, working to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians.

The next lecture in the series features Nick Cave (May 28, 2015), followed by Eric Fischl (September 10, 2015) and Stephen Wilkes (November 19, 2015).

For more information about this series or Art in Embassies, please contact Welmoed Laanstra at or 703-875-4381, and visit For more information about U.S. Embassy Ottawa’s participation in this and other arts programs, contact Senior Media Specialist Jennifer Young at or 613-688-5315 or 613-797-7832. For more information about the NGC/ Musée des beaux-arts du Canada contact Josée-Britanie Mallet, Senior Media and Public Relations Officer National Gallery of Canada, 613-990-6835 and visit