Stay Connected and Informed —
Join Northwest Neighbors Village’s Virtual Speaker Series

Northwest DC is home to numerous dynamic, informed individuals.  Several have offered to share their expertise and insights in a series of talks. Plan to join us for one or all of these discussions, which are designed to engage and inform you. NNV's Speaker Series is being offered free of charge to the community.

Scroll down to see our upcoming speakers.

Be sure to check out our extensive archive of previous speakers here.

Composing Color: Paintings by Alma Thomas

June 11, 2024 11:00 AM
Melissa Ho

Alma Thomas is a singular figure in the story of twentieth-century American art. She developed her exuberant form of abstract painting late in life, after retiring from a long career as a schoolteacher. Blossoming in the mid-1960s, her vibrant, rhythmic art transcended established genres, incorporating elements of gestural abstraction and color field painting. Thomas’s abiding sources of inspiration were nature, the cosmos, and music. She created a style distinctly her own, characterized by the dazzling interplay of pattern and hue.

Join curator Melissa Ho for an introduction to the exhibition Composing Color: Paintings by Alma Thomas at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Melissa Ho is the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s curator of 20th-century art; she joined the museum’s staff in September 2016. Ho is responsible for research, acquisitions and exhibitions related to the museum’s collections focusing on art since 1945. She currently is leading an initiative to expand and enrich the representation of Asian American experiences, perspectives and artistic accomplishment in the museum’s collection and public displays.  

Recent projects include “American Voices and Visions: Modern and Contemporary Art” (2023), the first phase of a multiyear renewal and reinstallation of the museum’s permanent collection galleries, and “Composing Color: The Paintings of Alma Thomas” (2023), which will travel to several venues in the United States. Ho organized the critically acclaimed exhibition “Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975” (2019) and “Artist to Artist” (2021).  

The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden's White House and the Struggle for America's Future

June 25, 2024 11:00 AM
Franklin Foer

On January 20, 2021, standing where only two weeks earlier police officers had battled with right-wing paramilitaries, Joe Biden took his oath of office. The American people were still sick with COVID-19, his economists were already warning him of an imminent financial crisis, and his party, the Democrats, had the barest of majorities in the Senate. Yet, faced with an unprecedented set of crises, Joe Biden decided he would not play defense. Instead, he set out to transform the nation. He proposed the most ambitious domestic spending bills since the 1960s and vowed to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan, ending the nation’s longest war and reorienting it toward a looming competition with China.

With unparalleled access to the tight inner circle of advisers who have surrounded Biden for decades, Franklin Foer dramatizes in forensic detail the first two years of the Biden presidency, concluding with the historic midterm elections. The result is a gripping and high-definition portrait of a major president at a time when democracy itself seems imperiled. With his back to the wall, Biden resorted to old-fashioned politics: deal-making and compromise. It was a gamble that seemed at first disastrously anachronistic, as he struggled to rally even the support of his own party. Yet, as the midterms drew near, via a series of bills with banal names, Biden somehow found a way to invest trillions of dollars in clean energy, the domestic semiconductor industry, and new infrastructure. Had he done the impossible - breaking decisively with the old Washington consensus to achieve progressive goals?

The Last Politician is a landmark work of political reporting—which includes thrilling, blow-by-blow insider reports of the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan and the White House’s swift response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine—that is destined to shape history’s view of a president in the eye of the storm.

Franklin Foer is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of World Without Mind and How Soccer Explains the World. For seven years, he edited The New Republic.

Some past presenters from our Virtual Speaker Series have allowed us to record their presentations.
Those recordings are available to the public

If you or someone you know would like to be a speaker in the future, please email