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This year’s plans were upended by the global pandemic, but organizers of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival remain committed to making space for sharing ideas, food and music. This year it will happen online through a series of digital discussions, workshops and performances. The program schedule is available at festival.si.edu/schedule; weekly events occur through August and daily events June 24–July 5.
Called “Smithsonian Folklife Festival: Beyond the Mall,” programming has been collaboratively created with partners from the United Arab Emirates; the Brazilian states of Bahia, Maranhão and Pernambuco; the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon; and the Smithsonian Conservation Commons. In keeping with the overall theme for 2020, many of these sessions will explore how communities draw upon their cultural practices to address and adapt to environmental challenges.
“Beyond the Mall” will also add to the national conversation about racism and intersectional discrimination. True to its purpose, the Folklife Festival will host artisans, artists, educators and others to discuss the role culture can play in fostering empathy, deepening understanding and creating a just, equitable world.
Real-time captioning and ASL interpretation will be available for all events. Just as on the National Mall, visitors are encouraged to participate actively in the live comments section of each program.
Digital programming will continue throughout the summer and fall.
About the Smithsonian Folklife Festival
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, inaugurated in 1967, honors contemporary living cultural traditions and celebrates those who practice and sustain them. Produced annually by the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in partnership with the National Park Service, the Festival has featured participants from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
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