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In addition to daily performances and activities on the National Mall, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival organizes and recommends events and exhibitions at other Smithsonian museums and venues around Washington, D.C. All events are free unless otherwise noted.


Upcoming Events

Digital flyer with text: Fire Up to Transform the Future. Three photos with artist names: Be Steadwell (Black person with orange frame glasses and pompadour hairstyle, buttoning up their shirt), Sweet Honey in the Rock (collage of headshots of several Black women), and Roya Marsh (Black person in glasses, necklace, and purple shirt, laughing).
June 17, 2022, 6–7 p.m. ET

Sisterfire @40: Fired Up to Transform the Future
The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage (live and streaming)

Forty years ago, Roadwork, a multiracial coalition of LGBTQ, social justice, and anti-racist arts activists in Washington, D.C., created the Sisterfire festival. Today Sisterfire remains a cross-generational celebration of resistance, coalition, and emancipatory imagination, creativity, and performance in the arts. This Juneteenth, artists Be Steadwell, Roya Marsh, and Sweet Honey In The Rock gather to transform the future: “Because the future is not what might happen tomorrow. The future is what is happening right now.”


Exhibitions

A buffalo with dark brown, shaggy fur, two short pointed white horns, and some grass sticking out of its mouth, standing in a grassy enclosure, looking at the camera.

American Bison
National Zoo
Permanent exhibition
nationalzoo.si.edu

Bison inspired the founding of the Zoo and helped spark the conservation movement. To encourage the animals to use their natural behaviors, keepers will often spread food around the enclosure and provide them with enrichment items to investigate and play with. Visitors may catch a glimpse of the bison wallowing in the grass and mud, a behavior that helps them keep cool.

Deep Time

Deep Time
National Museum of Natural History
Permanent exhibition
naturalhistory.si.edu

The new, 31,000-square-foot fossil hall invites you to explore the epic story of how Earth’s distant past is connected to the present and informs our future. Discover how human actions are driving Earth’s rapidly changing climate today much like long-ago geological events did in the past.

Overhead view of central exhibit space, with FUTURES in large neon-lit block letters above a display station.

FUTURES
Arts and Industries Building
On view through July 6, 2022
aib.si.edu

Part exhibition, part festival, FUTURES presents nearly 32,000 square feet of new immersive site-specific art installations, interactives, working experiments, inventions, speculative designs and “artifacts of the future,” as well as historic objects and discoveries from the Smithsonian’s museums, major initiatives and research centers.

Painting of a person riding a horse, following a flying bird.

Falcons: The Art of the Hunt
National Museum of Asian Art
On view through July 17, 2022
asia.si.edu

Swift, fierce, and loyal, falcons have been celebrated for millennia. The art of falconry—using the birds of prey to hunt—spread throughout the Islamic world and is still practiced in many societies today, including the United Arab Emirates. A selection of paintings and objects from ancient Egypt to China offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of falcons.

A woman stand in a landscape of solid white snow, wearing a long translucent white dress, including a veil over her face, with a pattern of large red insects.

Arctic Highways: Unbounded Indigenous People
House of Sweden
On view through July 17, 2022
houseofsweden.com

Even as national borders have separated Indigenous peoples and, at times, pitted them against each other, their culture and art have traveled effortlessly across the Arctic landscape. Here, twelve Indigenous artists tell their own story, through their own experiences, using their own forms of expression. The Folklife Festival is a promotional partner of this exhibition.

A young Latina woman with hot pink lipstick, crucifix necklance, and a blue bandana tied around her head  holds up an American flag.

World on the Move: 250,000 Years of Human Migration
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, DC Public Library
On view June 18–August 28, 2022
understandingmigration.org

Sharing stories from across human history and the breadth of world cultures, this traveling exhibition shows that we have always been on the move and that migration is a shared experience that connects us all. The exhibition is organized by the American Anthropological Association and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

HABITAT

HABITAT
Various Smithsonian museums on the National Mall
On view through September 5, 2022
gardens.si.edu

Through fourteen outdoor installations, this Smithsonian Gardens exhibition tells diverse stories about habitats and the plants, animals, and humans that call them home. The installations share one big idea: protecting habitats protects life. Folklife Festival technical staff and Tech-Teach students assisted in the construction and installation of several HABITAT structures.

Outdoor museum exhibition signs with text: What is food justice? We all make decisions about what we eat... but we don't make those decisions by ourselves.

Food for the People: Eating and Activism in Greater Washington
Anacostia Community Museum
On view through September 17, 2022
anacostia.si.edu

With every bite of food we eat, we have an opportunity to help remake an unjust and unequal food system. Food for the People looks at the greater Washington, D.C., area’s food system, the inequalities that shape it, and the people working to transform it. The outdoor and indoor exhibition features artifacts, art installations, videos, and hands-on interactives.

HABITAT

Nature by Design
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York City
On view through September 25, 2022
cooperhewitt.org

Discover how nature and design have intersected in the past and continue to converge in our world. Through textiles, jewelry, furniture, cutlery, and more, learn how designers across the centuries have observed nature, investigated its materials, and imitated and abstracted its patterns and shapes.

Textile art piece abstractly depicting a Black girl with ponytail and a pattern of the American flag making up her nose and lips. In the background, African style block prints in black on brown.

This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World
Renwick Gallery
On view through April 2, 2023
americanart.si.edu

This Present Moment showcases the dynamic landscape of American craft today, highlighting the role that artists play in our world to spark essential conversations, stories of resilience, and methods of activism—showing us a more relational and empathetic world. It centers more expansive definitions and acknowledgments of often-overlooked histories and contributions of women, people of color, and other marginalized communities.



Past Events

Film still of a woman in bright yellow jacket holding and smiling at an owl.
April 22–May 15, 2022

Living Earth Festival: Saving Sacred Spaces
National Museum of the American Indian (virtual)
nmai.si.edu

This year, the annual Living Earth Festival presents free film screenings and panel discussions that explore issues impacting sacred spaces in three locations: Alaska, Hawai‘i, and Utah. The program focuses on innovations and sustainability in Indigenous communities with an emphasis on awareness and protection of sacred spaces.


Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.

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