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  • Day Two: Top Ten Photos

    Despite smoke in the atmosphere and a sudden downpour in the afternoon, Day Two of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival brought more vibrant voices and artwork to the National Mall. We also welcomed some VIP guests, including congressional staffers who trekked down from Capitol Hill for an annual picnic and tour, former U.S. Senator and Missouri Secretary of State Roy Blunt, and Senator John Boozman—both early supporters of the Ozarks program.

    As Brad Braxton—senior curatorial advisor to Creative Encounters—and Anthony Pinn urged during their morning narrative session, “A Master Class on Behing Human,” we need more spaces to listen to and learn from each other with humility, curiosity, and vulnerability. We hope that the Folklife Festival can be that space for you.

    See some favorite photos from the day below and share your own on social media with the hashtag #2023Folklife.

    A person on a mountain bike in mid-air, between two sections of a wooden boardwalk.
    Seth Gebel caught some (hazy) air on his custom-built mountain biking feature, mimicking the Backyard Trail Builds he creates back in the Ozarks
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Three men talk outdoors. One holds a handful of flat strips of wood, with a tool tucked under his arm.
    In the morning, former Senator Blunt toured the Ozarks program area and met with Missouri craftsmen Aaron Holsapple and Billy Owens.
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Close-up on a pair of hands as a person uses a pen nib with black ink to write in Arabic script.
    Mariam Lodin demonstrated the precise art of Arabic calligraphy.
    Photo by Stanley Turk, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Close-up on a [pair of hands with pink nail polish as a person weaves a mat from beige strands of flat grass.
    The Marshallese contingent from Springdale, Arkansas, arrived on the National Mall for the first time today, offering demonstrations in dance, carving, and, here, weaving.
    Photo by Stanley Turk, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A man in a beige safari hat holds a dry, red-brown plant amidst a cloud of smoke.
    According to fellow Festival performer Marideth Sisco, forager Bo Brown “knows every plant in the Ozarks—and they’re on a first-name basis!”
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A woman laughs while grating taro over a cutting board, while a man gestures with his hand, mid-speech.
    Festival intern La‘akea Ai and participant Calvin Hoe bantered over the kitchen table, sharing stories from their own lives about preparing the traditional Hawaiian poi.
    Photo by Daniel Zhang, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A person rides a bike out of a semi-truck trailer onto a wooden boardwalk while two people on lifts and ladders spray paint the side of the trailer. In the distance, a banner for the Ozarks program and the Washington Monument.
    There’s always so much happening at the Festival! Artists Alan “toxic” Rodriguez and Kayleigh “ktana” Tolman work on their Ozarks mural trailer while mountain biker Dave Shulz catapults out of it.
    Photo by Grace Bowie, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Behind a painted three-dimensional figure of Jesus Chris, a platform in the grass is designed with dyed sawdust and whole fruits, including apples, oranges, and pineapples. Several people sit and kneel to add to the design.
    Ubaldo Sanchez and his team from Viajeros de la Americas made remarkable progress on their alfombra de aserrín (ceremonial sawdust carpet). Catch it before it’s dispersed!
    Photo by Julie Byrne, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A crowd watches a film on an outdoor screen, showing a young girl and a white and black falcon. Captioning on the screen reads ‘I will take you with me to hunt.’
    In a Front Porch session, Black and Asian women Ozarkers (left to right) Simone Cottrell, Mia Jones, Xue Lee-Vang, and Shoua Vue brought each other and the audience to tears as they discussed “Farming Traditions in Communities of Color,” land stewardship, and effects of white supremacy.
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Three women in white dresses sing on stage under green lights.
    After a cleansing rain, we heard many angles of gospel music, including the rousing voices of the Kingdom Fellowship AME Church Choir from Maryland.
    Photo by Hsinwen Hsu, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives

    On Saturday, July 1, watch Japanese taiko drumming and Ozarks fiddling, hear perspectives from Muslim youth and the LGBTQ+ faith communities, and join old-time music and hip-hop music jam sessions. For visitors who are blind or low-vision, we offer our first visual description tour of the Creative Encounters program.

    In the evening, we have a double-header, weather permitting: the NextGen Ozarks Showcase with Pura Coco, MARK Harmony, Sylamore Special, Grace Stormont, and Kalyn Fay, followed by a Community Square Dance with music by the Ozark Highballers and calls by Bob Zuellig. So circle left, circle right, and we’ll see you on the dance floor at the Ralph Rinzler Main Stage.

    Elisa Hough is the editor at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and Daniel Zhang is a media intern for the Folklife Festival.

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