Catharsis on the Mall brings Burning Man values to D.C.

The Washington Monument is seen framed through an art installation during Catharsis on the Mall. The event is a multi-day First Amendment demonstration to promote compassion and equal rights for women, LGBTQ and gender non-conforming people thought art, live music, speeches, yoga and other free expression. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Nov. 11 (UPI) — Though organizers weren’t able to display a 45-foot statue of a nude woman on the National Mall like they wanted, the Catharsis on the Mall festival began Friday with lots of music, art and a focus on political and cultural change.

The event, started by enthusiasts of Burning Man — but not officially associated with the Nevada festival — is expected to last until Sunday afternoon. The festival grounds are situated between the Washington Monument and the World War II Memorial.

This year’s Catharsis on the Mall has a female-oriented theme, but the National Park Service denied organizers’ request to display a nude female statue. Instead, they put up a 30-foot-high silk screen silhouette of a nude woman upon which women’s faces will be projected.

“Our goal is to raise awareness about the Equal Rights Amendment, because to this day women don’t have equal protection from discrimination under the Constitution,” organizer Amanda Krause told WAMU-TV in Washington, D.C.

A statement on the Catharsis on the Mall website says the organization seeks to bring Burning Man values to the nation’s capital.

“As we continue to connect and intersect with the broader D.C. community, we seek to overcome barriers that stand between us, better recognizing our own inner selves and the immediate realities of those around us,” it says.


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