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The DC Public Library celebrates art and exhibits as a source of learning, discovery, growth, and connection. The Art and Exhibits Program at DC Public Library is a portal to the library’s resources and a laboratory for engagement with Washington, D.C.’s past, present and future. The Art and Exhibits program is guided by the criteria outlined in the Library’s Art and Exhibits Policy, in support of the Library’s goal of making arts and culture inclusive for all residents of the District of Columbia.

Download an excerpt of the Library's Art and Exhibits Plan to learn more about the Library's priorities throughout the system. 

Public Art

Public art installations can be found at libraries throughout the system, including permanent works and rotating displays of artwork from District government and private collections. 

Download a self-guided tour of works on loan from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Art Bank collection at the MLK Library.


Exhibits at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library are key to expanding visitors' knowledge of the District’s rich past and are a portal to engagement in the District’s present and future. Exhibits may also be featured at neighborhood libraries.

Exhibits may be curated by the DC Public Library, co-sponsored by a partner organization, or selected through an annual open application process. The next round of exhibition applications will be announced in summer 2023 and reviewed in the fall. Visit this page for updates. 

Explore the links below to learn about current and recent exhibits at the Library. 

Current Exhibits

Up From the People
MLK Library, Floor 4



We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist D.C.
MLK Library, Floor 1 (West)
Through September 2024

Logo, We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist D.C. exhibit


Alma Thomas: Life is Color
MLK Library, Floor 2

Detail of a colorful striped watercolor by Alma Thomas



Past Exhibits

Pass the Story On: Shakespeare's First Folio at 400
MLK Library, Floors 4 & 5
April 1-30, 2023

FSL Pass The Story On logo


Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley: Let the World See
MLK Library, Great Hall
Jan. 26 – March 12, 2023

Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley Let the World See logo


The DC Public Library Art and Exhibits Program highlights the history and culture of the District of Columbia through arts and humanities exhibits displayed in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. The MLK Library hosts temporary exhibits throughout the building, and limited slots are available. Proposals will be considered through an application process each spring and fall. The next round of applications will be reviewed in Fall 2023.

Exhibit Proposal applications can be submitted anytime via the online form linked below. Applications will be reviewed once a year by the library’s Exhibits Committee. It is highly recommended that you review the Guide for Exhibit Applicants before preparing your application.

Exhibitions that will be considered include: art exhibitions featuring multiple artists as well as themed exhibitions exploring a topic in local history and culture. Please note that we are not accepting proposals for solo exhibitions by living artists at this time.

Please check this website for updates about the deadline and application process.

Access the application form.

View a recorded infosession about this opportunity.

Questions? Please contact

Audiences: All Ages
Type: Arts
Large scale mobile of various round shapes and colors hanging from a purple ceiling

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MLK Library Exhibits