About Us

Halcyon’s By the People festival, June 21-24, is Washington’s new international arts and dialogue festival taking place in every quadrant of the city and focused on the themes of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Expect a full-on arts takeover of Washington during the four-day extravaganza, with interactive visual art installations, performances ranging from ballet to go-go, high-profile speakers, and an augmented reality art hunt. Attendees are encouraged to register in advance for a free four-day festival pass, and to visit the schedule to make a plan for the festival and explore the small number of events that do require additional tickets. Intended to promote empathy and spark civil discourse, the festival is organized by Halcyon in association with the Smithsonian, Destination DC, ARTECHOUSE and dozens of other D.C. organizations. 

A special note from our curators:

The talents I assembled for the visual arts exhibitions at this inaugural By The People have embraced the opportunity to create work in response to the inspiring and often complicated sites.  Their works transform these historic spaces, sacred spaces, vacant spaces, and art-ready spaces, ultimately heightening our awareness of their significance. - Virginia Shore, Artistic Director of Visual Arts, Halcyon (View Virginia's full curatorial statement here).

Welcome to BY THE PEOPLE. By bringing our city together surrounding our nation’s founding principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we hope to provoke dialogue about what it means to be American in today’s world. Many things unite us as a community—certainly our shared national experiences, our special mix of diverse cultural expressions and our delight in simple pleasures and pastimes. And just as many things threaten to divide us. By gathering as a community to talk, listen and experience exciting new things together, we will understand and appreciate each other more deeply. We hope the program you are about to be part of will spark a new thought, emotion, or question about the world we all share. - Septime Webre, Artistic Director of Perfoming Arts, Halcyon


This event would not be possible without our committee (below) and our supporters. 

Kate Goodall

Co-Founder and CEO

Virginia Shore

Artistic Director, Visual Arts
Halcyon, By The People

Septime Webre

Artistic Director, Performing Arts
Halcyon, By The People

Dadi Akhavan

Founder and CEO

Jenny Bilfield

Washington Performing Arts

Ian Callender

Blind Whino SW Arts Club

Kevin Clinton

Chief Operating Officer
Federal City Council

Kate Damon

Kaze Design

Christopher B. Denby

Kimberly E. Douglas

Director, Theater Operations & Programming
Building Bridges Across the River

Rachel Goslins

Arts & Industries Building, Smithsonian Institution

Ava LaTanya Hilton

Executive Director

Philippa Hughes

Pink Line Project

Sarah Ingersoll

Irfana Jetha Noorani

Deputy Director
11th Street Bridge Park, a project of Building Bridges Across the River

Kay Kendall

Sandro Kereselidze

Founder/Art Director

Dorothy Kosinski

The Phillips Collection

Svetlana Legetic

BYT Media

Maryann Lombardi

Chief Creative Economy Officer
DC Office of Cable TV, Film, Music and Entertainment/202Creates

Nora Maccoby


Kuti Mack


Jennifer Maguire

Director of Strategy

Robin McClain

Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications
Destination DC

Linn Meyers


Erik Moses

Senior VP and Managing Director, Sports & Entertainment
Events DC

Tendani Mpulubusi

Chief Executive Officer
8 Arts & Culture

Lee Anne Myslewski

Director, Artistic Administration
Wolf Trap Opera

Maggie O'Neill


Dan Rose

Director, Office of Event Management
Washington National Cathedral

Kim Sajet

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Jayne Sandman


Sanjit Sethi

Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, George Washington University

Jessica Stafford Davis

The Agora Culture

Kate Warren


Katarina Weir

Executive Director
YOA Orchestra of the Americas

Karima Woods

Director, Business Development and Strategy
Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development