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Inspiring Creative Writing Through Art with Mary Hall Surface

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Today I’m delighted to be talking to playwright, theatre director, teaching artist and museum educator Mary Hall Surface about her work. We’re talking all things creative and reflective writing through art.

As a museum educator, she uses both theatre and creative writing to expand perspective, uncover complexity, and deepen understanding. 

She is the founding instructor of National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon in Washington DC, and a six-summer faculty member of Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom.  Her plays have been produced at major professional theatres, museums, and festivals throughout the US, Europe, Japan, Taiwan, and Canada, including 4 art-inspired productions at the National Gallery of Art.

During the pandemic, she has developed an online presence too – facilitating creative and reflective writing workshops and classes, all inspired by art for museums, schools, and arts centres throughout the US. 

Mary Hall and I have a lot in common and in today’s chat we talk about our love of close looking, thinking routines and how you can use artworks to inspire writing. 

We talk about a variety of projects that Mary Hall has been involved in at the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the different types of online workshops that she teaches.

Mary Hall shares 4 wonderful tips for how you can improve your writing through art – so make sure you don’t miss those. 

We really could’ve talked for hours and I loved our chat. So, here it is – enjoy!



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Masterclass with Mary Hall Surface 26 April: Inspire Your Memoir Writing through Visual Art

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Link to Open Window, Collioure, 1905, Matisse

Link to Edward Hopper, People in the Sun, 1960, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.,

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Upcoming Smithsonian Associates workshop: Mothering: A Reflective Writing Workshop

Upcoming Van Gogh/Mary Oliver Workshop: Springs’ Awakening: A Reflective Writing Workshop

Writers’ Studio on the Amalfi Coast