An expanded By The People Festival, Washington, D.C.’s largest international arts and civic dialogue event, returns for its second year June 15-23 with nine days of free activities in every quadrant of the city. In addition to popular features from the inaugural festival, By The People 2019 includes two full weekends of programs for all ages, an expanded series of dialogues, interactive art installations that address issues of equity and justice, art in unexpected places and a large art-infused gathering on the National Mall. Once again, the festival will focus 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. By The People is organized by Halcyon – a nonprofit that supports civic-minded artists and social entrepreneurs – in partnership with other organizations (see list below).
“Described as ‘Art Basel with a conscience’ and ‘the next SXSW,’ By the People is intentionally different from those festivals in one significant way,” said Halcyon CEO Kate Goodall. “By The People is free, accessible and open to all.”
A full-on arts takeover of D.C., with installations and programs at four official hubs: the Smithsonian’s Arts + Industries Building (900 Jefferson Drive S.W.), Union Market (1309 5th Street N.E.), CityCenterDC (10th and H streets N.W.) and a floating barge (based in the SE DC waterways), as well as satellite locations across the city.
The barge, a remarkable new piece of this year’s festival, will be based on the Anacostia River in SE, but will move up and down D.C.’s waterways featuring an art installation visible from land. Art on the barge will be complemented by live performances on the shore.
Interactive art installations by leading and emerging artists including, among others, Janet Echelman, whose large-scale outdoor net sculpture “1.78” will appear at CityCenterDC, and Jonathan Rosen, whose mirror artwork will appear at the Smithsonian’s Arts + Industries Building.
Festival themes interpreted by curator Jessica Stafford Davis, founder of The Agora Culture and Martha Vineyard’s Art on the Vine. Davis challenges visitors to consider the themes of life, liberty and happiness through the lens of equity and justice, “a conversation that is not only important, but necessary at this moment in time – in the nation’s capital and around the country,” said Davis.
Art installations by Halcyon Arts Lab fellows Kelli Rae Adams, Kokayi, Jessica Mehta, Tariq O’Meally, Joao Pina, Ada Pinkston, Mengxi “Althea” Rao and Naoko Wowsugi.
Two special evenings celebrating the summer solstice. On June 21, an art-infused evening gathering will be held on the National Mall, in partnership with the Trust for the National Mall. On June 22, activities will take place through midnight at select Smithsonian museums, a partnership between By The People and the Smithsonian.
Dialogues, co-produced with Politics and Prose, connecting the city’s rapidly growing art scene to its long history of civic dialogues, sparking civil discourse and inspiring compassion.
Augmented reality art installations in partnership with ARTECHOUSE.
Pop-up performances throughout the city.
A sale, curated by Nina Caccioppoli O’Neil of Monochrome Collective, of work by local artists, ranging in price from $500 to $10,000, offering collectors a way to support D.C.’s growing art ecosystem.
A courtesy shuttle that will transport festival attendees between festival hubs.
Partners and Sponsors
As of March 4, sponsors and partners include: CityCenterDC; D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities; D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED); Destination DC; EDENS; Events DC; GEICO; Goldman Sachs; Monochrome Collective; S&R Foundation; Smithsonian’s Arts + Industries Building; Smithsonian Institution; The Agora Culture; The Stafford Foundation; Trust for the National Mall; U.S. Trust, Bank of America; Union Market.
By The People is grateful to the many volunteers who helped make last year’s event a success. To volunteer, sign up at bythepeople.org/volunteer.
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