By The People Festival Returns, June 15 to 23

By The People, the international festival of the arts and civic dialogue organized by Georgetown-based nonprofit Halcyon, will return to the District and nearby locations from Saturday, June 15, to Sunday, June 23. This year’s event is curated by Jessica Stafford Davis.

The free festival will feature installations and programs at four official hubs: the Smithsonian’s Arts + Industries Building, displaying site-specific installations by Jonathan Rosen, Victor Ekpuk, Martha Jackson Jarvis, Rania Hassan and Stevie Famulari, who will give artist talks; Union Market, where the new AutoShop space will house Kahlil Joseph’s two-channel video broadcast “BLKNWS”; upscale development CityCenterDC; and a barge traversing the waterways of Southeast D.C. and docking at Georgetown’s Washington Harbour from June 15 to 17. A courtesy shuttle will transport attendees between festival hubs on the weekends.

Additional satellite locations in the District, Maryland and Virginia include: Agora Dance, the Anacostia Arts Center, Congress Heights Arts & Culture Center, Culture House DC, the DC Arts Center, Eaton DC, Gallery 102, the Greater Reston Arts Center, IA&A at Hillyer, the Prince George’s African American Museum & Cultural Center, Spain Arts & Culture, the Kreeger Museum, VisArts and Washington Studio School.

Described as “Art Basel with a conscience” and “the next SXSW,” By The People, now in its second year, focuses on the nation’s founding principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. According to Kate Goodall, CEO of Halcyon, which supports civic-minded artists and social entrepreneurs, the festival is about “connecting people from diverse backgrounds, building bridges across the cultural divide and promoting open and civil discourse.”

Thanks to the barge, this year’s event will take place “one if by land and two if by sea.” As it sails the Anacostia and the Potomac Rivers, the barge will carry a f loating art installation by Hank Willis Thomas titled “They Are Us, Us Is Them.” On the shore, the public will be invited to create signs bearing messages about the freedoms they value most. During the festival, Thomas will engage in a conversation with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Terrie Rouse-Rosario of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Among the other festival highlights are a series of dialogues on topics such as the future of food, entertainment and transportation at Eaton DC on Thursday, June 20, followed by a Future World Happy Hour and Future Dance Party on the rooftop (registration required), and “Solstice Saturday,” June 22, when Smithsonian museums will stay open until midnight with free performances and programs.

For more information, visit


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *