Festival: June 15-23
By The People, Washington, DC’s largest international arts and civic dialogue festival, returns for its second year June 15-23 with nine days of free events for all ages in every quadrant; interactive art installations; dialogues that address how the District is positioning itself to be a city of the future and an example to the world; art in unexpected places; a sale of work by DMV artists; a floating art installation that will travel DC’s waterways; and, together with the Smithsonian, a June 22 “Solstice Saturday” celebration with free programs and performances at Smithsonian museums, which will be open until midnight.
Described as “Art Basel with a conscience” and “the next SXSW,” the entirely free festival focuses on our country’s founding principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – “all with the goal of connecting people from diverse backgrounds, building bridges across the cultural divide and promoting open and civil discourse,” said Kate Goodall, CEO of festival organizer Halcyon – a nonprofit that supports civic-minded artists and social entrepreneurs. Registration is encouraged. Visit bythepeople.org.
A full-on arts takeover of Washington, By The People includes:
- Installations and programs at official hubs – the Smithsonian’s Arts + Industries Building (900 Jefferson Drive SW), Union Market (1309 5th Street NE), and a floating art installation based in the DC waterways – and at other locations including Eaton DC. This year’s curator is Jessica Stafford Davis, founder of The Agora Culture and Martha Vineyard’s Art on the Vine. Festival satellite locations include Agora Dance, Anacostia Arts Center, Congress Heights Arts & Culture Center, Culture House DC, DC Arts Center, Gallery 102, Greater Reston Arts Center, IA&A at Hillyer, Prince George’s African American Museum & Cultural Center, Spain Arts & Culture, The Kreeger Museum, VisArts and Washington Studio School.
- New this year: A barge that will move up and down DC’s Potomac and Anacostia rivers featuring a floating art installation titled “They Are Us, Us Is Them,” by For Freedoms co-founder Hank Willis Thomas. Over the course of the festival, the barge will visit Georgetown Waterfront, Capitol Riverfront and Anacostia Park. On the shore, participants of all ages will be invited to create signs bearing messages about the freedoms they value most. Other activities inspired by the barge will include spoken word and music performances.
- At the Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building: site-specific installations by Jonathan Rosen, Victor Ekpuk, Martha Jackson Jarvis, Rania Hassan and Stevie Famulari. Best known for interactive works that examine selfie culture, Rosen’s “Walking on Clouds”reminds visitors of their forgotten dreams. Participants will walk through a dense fog as they make their way to interactive mirrors, where they will be invited to take photos of their reflections while words flash across the surface. For instance, one mirror will feature the phrase “I could be…” followed by a thousand randomized responses (such as “I could be king,” “I could be loved,” “I could be seen,” “I could be powerful.”) Much like the experience of shaking a Magic 8-Ball, participants won’t learn the answer until after they snap a photo on their smart phones. Ekpuk, a Nigerian-American artist who lives in Washington, DC, is known for his glyph-like paintings and drawings that are inspired by the aesthetic concepts of indigenous African writing systems and graphic symbols from diverse cultures. His”Eye See You” comments on the age of surveillance in which we are constantly watching others or being watched. Jarvis’ sculpture, “Adaptation,” focuses on our country’s past, present and future history as well as its connection to the natural world and is inspired by the history and architecture of the Arts + Industries’ Building. DC-based Rania Hassan, who was selected for the festival through Halcyon’s open call for artists, combines knitting and painting to weave sculptural stories about our connections to time, place and circumstance. Stevie Famulari,also selected through the open call, focuses on greening designs to create healthy spaces for living and working. She will lead visitors in creating a “living” artwork.
- At Union Market’s brand new AutoShop space: Kahlil Joseph’s conceptual piece “BLKNWS” will have its East Coast debut, direct from the Venice Biennale. BLKNWS is a two-channelvideo broadcast that blurs the lines between art, journalism, entrepreneurship and cultural critique, using existing footage, filmed news desk segments, still images and music. Much like an actual news broadcast, it is constantly being updated. In keeping with Joseph’s concept that the piece be installed in places where it appears to be real news, BLKNWS will also be displayed at Mason’s Barbershop on H Street NE, and in Eaton DC.An L.A.-based artist and filmmaker best known for his large-scale video installations, Joseph collaborated with Beyoncé (on “Lemonade”), as well as with Kendrick Lamar and the late Noah Davis.
- Art installations by Halcyon Arts Lab fellows (Kelli Rae Adams, Kokayi, Jessica Mehta, Tariq O’Meally, João Pina, Ada Pinkston, Mengxi “Althea” Rao and Naoko Wowsugi) that touch on such timely themes as student debt, female empowerment and Confederate monuments.
- On June 20 from 2 to 8:30 p.m., a series of dialogues at Eaton DC (1201 K St. NW), produced in partnership with the Washington DC Economic Partnership. The By The People x WeDC House dialogues will focus on “Access, Justice and the Environment: The Future of Food” (withAhmad Ashkar of the Hult Prize Foundation and Falafel Inc.;Lauren Biel of DC Greens; Eric Kessler of the James Beard Foundation and Arabella Advisers; and Laura Hayes of Washington City Paper); ” From Here to There: The Future of Transportation” (with Ryan Kelly of Hyperloop; Steven Taylor of Lyft; and Karen Finney of CNN); and “Games & Gigs: The Future of Sports & Entertainment” (with Mark Ein of the Washington Kastles, Washington Esports Ventures and Venturhouse Group; Zach Leonsis of Monumental Sports Network and Axiomatic; Erik Moses of DC XFL; and Reese Waters of Get Up DC!, WUSA9). The dialogues will be followed by a Future World Happy Hour and Future Dance Party, with music provided by local artists, on Eaton DC’s rooftop.Due to limited capacity, registration is requiredfor the free event.
- By The People x Monochrome Art Fair, a sale of art by 51 DMV artists curated by Nina O’Neil of Monochrome Collective. By The People’s first Art Fair, which kicks off June 8 and runs through June 23, features work by Dina Anchin, Nicanor Aquino, Alexandra Arata, Tara Barr, Curtis Bergesen, Reggie Black, Madison Bolls, Michael Booker, Emma Childs, Julia Chon, Marion Colomer, Nancy Daly, Mary Early, Dominique Fierro, Katherine Fleming, Anna Fine Foer, Taylor Fox, Tejuan Friend, Pamela Gwaltney, Lynne Hanson, Elyse Harrison, Scott Hutchison, David Ibata, Peter Ibenana, Monroe Isenberg, Charles Jean-Pierre, Freddy Katana, Allison Keilman, Micheline Klagsbrun, Gary Kret, Barbara Liotta, Kim Llerena, Nora Maccoby, Aaron Maier, Nate Mann, Matthew McLaughlin, Lisa Noble, Nara Park, Kristina Penhoet, Katie Pumphrey, Christine Ruksenas-Burton, Hannah Sarfraz, Sarah Black Sadler, Azadeh Sahraeian, Anna Sellheim, Joseph Shetler, Maureen Smith, Dafna Steinberg, Madeline Stratton, Martin Swift and Brittney Washington.
- Talks by featured artists Hank Willis Thomas (in conversation with Rep. Eleanor Holmes Nortonand Terrie Rouse-Rosario of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities), Jonathan Rosen, Kahlil Joseph (in conversation with artist Sheldon Scott), Martha Jackson Jarvis, Rania Hassan, Stevie Famulari and Victor Ekpuk.
- Augmented reality art installations in partnership with ARTECHOUSE.
- Pop-up performances throughout the city by Halcyon Arts Lab fellow Tariq O’Meally, Agora Dance, Congressional Chorus, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, Tiffany Linn, Charlie Maybee, Sitar Arts Center and others.
- A courtesy shuttle that will transport festival attendees between festival hubs on the weekends.
Venice Biennale meet H Street Barbershop
As you know, Kahlil Joseph Joseph (who collaborated with Beyoncé on “Lemonade”) is coming directly from the Venice Biennale with his conceptual-art interpretation of meaningful news titled “BLK NWS.” Part of Kahlil’s concept is that the piece be installed in places where it looks like real news. So, in addition to being displayed at Union Market, “BLK NWS” will be shown at Mason’s Barbershop on H Street, NE and on TV monitors in the Eaton Hotel, with minimal signage.
River Barge Floating Installation`
There’s tremendous interest in the By The People barge, which will travel up and down the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers, carrying a large-scale artwork by For Freedoms co-founder Hank Willis Thomas titled “THEY ARE US, US IS THEM.” The barge will stop in Georgetown’s Washington Harbour, Capitol Riverfront and Anacostia – where related art activations are planned and festival attendees will have a chance to engage with art designed to make them think, discuss and feel inspired to act.
Forgotten Dreams Selfie-art
Jonathan Rosen’s “Walking on Clouds” reminds visitors to the Smithsonian’s Arts + Industries Building of their forgotten dreams. Participants will walk through a dense fog as they make their way to Rosen’s interactive mirrors, where they will be invited to take photos of their reflections while random words flash across the surface. Much like the experience of shaking a Magic 8-Ball, participants won’t learn the answer until after they snap a photo on their smart phones.
By The People x Monochrome Inaugural Art Fair
Halcyon’s commitment to showcasing DMV artists along with international superstars includes By The People’s first Art Fair, featuring the work of 31 DC area artists. The fair will take place in the former Jonathan Adler store in Georgetown and kicks off a week before the festival (on June 8). Featured artists are Dina Anchin, Nicanor Aquino, Alexandra Arata, Tara Barr, Curtis Bergesen, Reggie Black, Madison Bolls, Michael Booker, Mattia Cavanna, Emma Childs, Julia Chon, Marion Colomer, Nancy Daly, Mary Early, Dominique Fierro, Katherine Fleming, Anna Fine Foer, Taylor Fox, Tejuan Friend, Pamela Gwaltney, Lynne Hanson, Elyse Harrison, Scott Hutchison, David Ibata, Peter Ibenana, Monroe Isenberg, Freddy Katana, Allison Keilman, Micheline Klagsbrun, Gary Kret, Barbara Liotta, Kim Llerena, Nora Maccoby, Aaron Maier, Nate Mann, Matthew McLaughlin, Lisa Noble, Nara Park, Kristina Penhoet, Katie Pumphrey, Christine Ruksenas-Burton, Hannah Sarfraz, Sarah Black Sadler, Azadeh Sahraeian, Anna Sellheim, Joseph Shetler, Maureen Smith, Dafna Steinberg, Madeline Stratton, Martin Swift, Brittney Washington
Dialogues of the Future
A day of dialogue set in the year 2039 (produced in partnership with WeDC House) will make people wish they went to more discussions! More details to come. In addition, artist talks with featured artists are free and open to the public.
Halcyon is a new kind of nonprofit organization that lifts up innovators and creators, giving them the tools and opportunities they need to bring their ideas to life. Signature programs include three residential fellowships: Halcyon Incubator, Incubator Intensives and Halcyon Arts Lab; By The People arts and dialogue festival; and Halcyon Awards, which recognize extraordinary accomplishment in such areas as art, social enterprise and policy. Since its founding, Halcyon has built programming around the core tenets of space, community and access, continuously evolving to identify and provide a haven for big dreamers and risk-takers the world over. www.halcyonhouse.org