New American Art Series Sparks “Contemporary Conversations”

Sewing circle, Greg Kucera Gallery, 2014

U.S. Embassy Ottawa and the Department of State’s Art in Embassies, in partnership with the National Gallery of Canada (NGC), will debut a series of discussions throughout 2015, featuring contemporary U.S. artists. Each of the artists will participate in public lectures at the National Gallery of Canada, stimulating conversation around issues that transcend borders, and topics that inspire and teach us and create connections.

The Contemporary Conversations series (#artconvoAIE) will feature four internationally-recognized American artists, who will visit Canada to participate in artist’s lectures and community outreach events. As a foundation for the lecture series at the NGC, the participating artist’s work will be displayed in a curated exhibition at Lornado, the official residence of U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce A. Heyman, and his wife, Vicki Heyman. The series represents a cornerstone of Mrs. Heyman’s cultural diplomacy outreach in Canada.

“Through art, we examine history, identity, and culture,” explains Vicki Heyman. “Conversations sparked by art and the artist’s voice play a critical role in connecting people and shaping society. I believe Contemporary Conversations will encourage cross-cultural discussions about issues that are important on both sides of the border and lead to dialogue that builds bridges, breaks down walls, and sparks change, endeavoring to create the future in which we all want to live.”

“The National Gallery of Canada is pleased to collaborate with the U.S Embassy in Canada through its Art in Embassies program,” says Marc Mayer, Director and CEO, National Gallery of Canada. “The Gallery is an ideal place to hear the voices of renowned American artists in an environment rich with Canadian and international art. We think this program will inspire stimulating cross-cultural contemporary conversations with our community and help illuminate a vast common ground.”

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. The event is free and open to the public. In addition, Marie Watt will host a sewing circle on Saturday, February 28, 2015 in the Gallery’s Great Hall from 12 to 3 p.m.Please note: Space is limited for both events. RSVP information is available here: 

The Contemporary Conversations series will feature four of the eight American artists whose work will be on exhibition at Lornado as part of the Art in Embassies program. The four artists participating in the public lecture series are Marie Watt (2/26/15), Nick Cave (5/28/15), Eric Fischl (9/10/15) and Stephen Wilkes (11/19/15). The additional artists whose work will be on display at Lornado are Chuck Close, Theaster Gates, Alex Katz, and Hung Liu.

Marie Watt: Sewing Circle
Saturday, 28 February 2015 from 12 to 3 pm

Participate in a community sewing circle where your stitches will help form Marie Watts’s contribution to Unsuspected Possibilities, an exhibition that will be displayed at SITE Santa Fe this summer, featuring Watt, Leonardo Drew, and Sarah Oppenheimer. In exchange for your stitches, Marie Watt will reward you with a small original print. Open to all ages, no previous sewing experience required. In the Great Hall. Free Admission. Please note: Space is limited. RSVP information is available here:

Media Contacts

Jennifer Young
Senior Media Specialist
U.S. Embassy Ottawa
Tel: 613-688-5315

Josée-Britanie Mallet
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada
Tel: 613-990-6835

About Marie Watt

Born in 1967, and currently based in Portland, Oregon, Marie Watt is a multidisciplinary artist of Seneca and Scottish-German heritage whose work draws upon indigenous design principles, oral tradition, personal experience, and Western art history. Well known for using reclaimed woven blankets as both material and metaphor, her artistic practice also often relies upon key elements of social interaction and community engagement. Her work has earned numerous awards including the 2009 Bonnie Bronson Fellowship Award, the 2007 Anonymous Was A Woman Award, the 2006 Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship, and the 2005 Eiteljorg Museum Artist Fellowship. Her work was also featured in 2013 as part of Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art, the NGC’s first large exhibition celebrating Indigenous Art in Canada and around the world.

About the National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada (NGC) is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The NGC also maintains Canada’s premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. For more information, visit

About Art in Embassies

Art in Embassies was established by the Museum of Modern Art in 1953, and formalized as part of the Department of State by the Kennedy Administration in 1963. It is one of the United States’ premier public-private partnership arts organizations, with over 20,000 individual and institutional participants, and a presence in some 200 venues in 189 countries worldwide. AIE furthers U.S. diplomacy through the power of the visual arts by expansive, international cultural exchange initiatives.

 Contemporary Conversations: Art in Embassies