Face it: practically since birth, we're drawn to faces.

"There's always a connection because we're looking at another human being," says Dorothy Moss. "And portraiture gives us an opportunity to look a little closer and to think a little harder about what it is that concerns us."

A confident woman framed by the words "I Love Your Hair." An American mother and child, both recent converts to Islam. A giant cube, part of a mixed-media portrait of a dignified Puerto Rican man.

The "Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today" exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum, on tour from the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian, offers something or someone to whom you will feel a connection.

This collection is the result of a nationwide portrait competition held every three years. There are forty-three portraits in all-- and quite by accident-- it has become a celebration of America's diversity.

More than 2,500 artists entered the national competition. A Baltimore artist inspired by Alice in Wonderland won the $25,000 grand prize.

The Northwest is represented by "Florence and Daniel," a portrait of two transgender teens photographer Evan Baden met in Portland.

There are so many portraits reflecting the American experience, in all of its diversity and its complexity.

"It's an exciting exhibition because it really reflects the current moment in time," says Dorothy.

The exhibition is on view at the Tacoma Art Museum through May 14.

Tacoma Art Museum
1701 Pacific Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 272-4258