By The People

We launched By The People in 2018 with the goal of bringing boundary-pushing, world-class art to every corner of Washington, D.C. We wanted that art not only to be free to anyone who wanted to experience it, but also to reach out to audiences who sometimes feel D.C.’s art scene isn’t “for them.” What started as a festival drawing tens of thousands of attendees over two years evolved into a bigger experimental platform for community engagement around the arts. Digital exhibitions, festivals, and art fairs are just a few of the ways By The People has brought together creators, performers, and partners.

By The People x Monochrome Collective Art Fairs

When COVID-19 forced the cancelation of the 2020 By The People Festival, the By The People x Monochrome Collective Art Fair – one of our most beloved festival activations in 2019 – went virtual! We more than doubled the number of artists represented, with nearly 500 total works available. Working artists who’d never sold work before had the chance to show side by side with artists whose work is in museums, and together they represented the richness and diversity of the DMV region’s creative community.

2019 By The People Festival

We set out in our second year to float a barge up and down the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, setting the tone for another ambitious citywide festival. The barge carried the work of For Freedoms co-founder Hank Willis Thomas, one of over a dozen artists to participate in public talks that supplemented performances and installations across the city. At Union Market, Khalil Joseph’s BLKNWS, fresh from the Venice Biennale, was presented alongside the work of Halcyon Fellows. And in Georgetown, a new art fair offered over 50 local working artists the chance to share their work with the community in a curated gallery setting.

Festival Highlights

2018 By The People Festival

Our 2018 festival hubs reached from The Parks at Walter Reed, down to the Smithsonian’s Arts + Industries Building on the National Mall, over to Union Market in Northeast DC and THEARC in Anacostia, and up to National Cathedral, with free shuttles running between all five hubs every single day. And whether they joined us to see the work of Nick Cave case onto the wall of the Cathedral alongside a performance by Moran, stayed up until midnight at the Smithsonian museums to celebrate Solstice Saturday, or visited one of over a dozen satellite locations adding to the festival’s reach, attendees experienced art as never before in the nation’s capital.

Festival Highlights