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Misty Copeland discusses Bunheads

Most know Misty Copeland as the first Black ballerina to be promoted to principal dancer at American Ballet Theater in its 75-year history. However, she’s also an accomplished author who’s published children’s books and a memoir. In 2014, she published her children’s debut Firebird, about a young girl struggling to embody the titular character of Stravinsky’s eponymous ballet. This year, she’s following it up with Bunheads, a picture book based on Copeland’s own experiences discovering the art form at age 13. In the book, a young Misty discovers dance through Arthur Saint-Léon and Leo DelibesCoppélia and vies for the part of Swanilda, the ballet’s heroine. On Sept. 29, she’ll discuss the book at a MahoganyBooks virtual talk with its co-owner and co-founder Ramunda Young. The talk begins at 7 p.m. on Sept. 29. Registration is available at crowdcast.io. Free. —Kaila Philo

Virtual Happy Hour: Alma Woodsey Thomas

The year she turned 16, Alma Woodsey Thomas family moved from Georgia to Washington, D.C. Howard University’s first fine arts graduate, she taught art at Shaw Junior High School from 1924 to 1960, incorporating African American history into her lessons. Thomas painted part-time until she retired, when her work transformed from realistic to abstract. Her first show of abstract work debuted at Howard in 1966, when she was 75; she died in 1978. Thomas’s contemporaries were the Washington Color School painters. When the Obamas put the glowing rainbow-hued sun of her 1966 painting “Resurrection” in the White House’s family dining room, she became the first African American woman artist in the White House’s collection. The National Museum of Women in the Arts is home to two Thomas paintings: 1969’s “Iris, Tulips, Jonquils, and Crocuses(on display) and 1973’s “Orion” (not on display). The vibrant colors of “Iris” in downward-moving lines make me feel the mixed joy of raindrops causing flowers to bloom. “Orion,” part of her Space series inspired by NASA’s space program, is flecked with stitches of white, like stars, set in an earthy red. With a virtual happy hour on Sept. 22, staff of the National Museum of Women in the Arts will celebrate Thomas’s birthday with special guests Andra “AJ” Johnson and Gwendolyn H. Everett. Johnson, a cofounder of DMV Black Restaurant Week and the author of a forthcoming book, White Plates, Black Faces, will teach you how to make a specialty cocktail or mocktail inspired by “Orion.” Everett, an associate professor of art history at Howard and the former director at the university’s Gallery of Art, will speak about Thomas’s legacy there. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 22. Registration is available at nmwa.org. Free. —Diana Michele Yap