June 25–27, 2021
“When we create art, we have the capacity to leave a better world for those who come after us.”
This year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival was born from conversations about the ways artisans, cooks, and musicians—as individuals and communities of practice—have responded to the pandemic. What many created in a time so marked by loss and isolation revealed a deep sense of purpose and connection. Not only were their intentions brought into sharper focus, but we were struck by our hunger for making as a vehicle for giving shape to a world we struggled to know. Whether it’s a song, a garden, a loaf of sourdough, or a protest sign, our creations, however small, offer agency in a changing world.
We invite you to join us from June 25 to 27 for Beyond the Mall: Making Matters, as master artisans, cooks, sculptors, and musicians from as far as Armenia, Fiji, Peru, and Cuba, to right here in Washington, D.C., welcome us into their kitchens and studios to share stories and skills. And for the first time, the Folklife Festival is providing visitors with the opportunity to participate in hands-on workshops from home. Together we’ll learn about Zapotec textile dyeing, Senegalese metalsmithing, Korean home cooking, and much more.
Beyond the Mall acknowledges that the vibrant spirit of our physical event is not bound by time or location. This weekend is a future-facing reflection of the Festival’s legacy of making community no matter the circumstance. As we have every year since 1967, we offer sincere thanks to all who open their creative lives to us. We hope that you take inspiration from their stories and find collective care in the sharing.