IlluminAsia: A Festival of Asian Art, Food, and Cultures @ Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Galleries, Washington [15 October]

IlluminAsia: A Festival of Asian Art, Food, and Cultures

11:00 - 17:00

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Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Galleries
1050 Independence Ave SW, Washington, District of Columbia 20560
Join us for a festival of Asian art, food, and cultures on the National Mall to celebrate the grand reopening of the Freer|Sackler. Free and open to the public, the IlluminAsia festival will transform the museums’ grounds with an Asian food market, interactive cooking and art demonstrations, live performances by members of the Silk Road Ensemble, and dozens of local and international artists. Inside, visitors can experience the reimagined galleries and innovative exhibitions, as well as performances, conversations, and other immersive activities.

During the day on Sunday, October 15, the food market will continue alongside cultural programming for all ages throughout the museums and outdoor gardens. Activities include hands-on art-making workshops, storytelling, conversations with artists and curators, and international performances.

Highlight Events: Sunday
• 11 am Outdoor tai chi class
• 11 am Street food market and art making kickoff
• 11:45am pm Sri Lankan dance by Asanga Domask
• 1:30 pm Rock, funk, and bhangra by Red Baraat
• 1:30 pm Storytelling across Asia
• 2:30 pm Drum circle with Silkroad Ensemble
• 3 pm Conversation with artist Subodh Gupta
• 3:30 pm District of Raga with Nistha Raj
• 4:30 pm Festival grand finale with Silkroad Ensemble


Street Food Market
National Mall, 11 am–5 pm
Stroll through an open-air market to discover culinary treasures.

Savor Asia: Food Demo Tent
National Mall, 11 am–4 pm
Go behind the scenes to check out chefs’ ingredients and techniques.

Outdoor stages on the Freer plaza and in the Haupt Garden, 11 am–5 pm
Don’t miss performances of Punjabi brass funk, Persian trance, Asian American DJs, South Asian dance, Tuvan throat singing, and more.

Silkroad Ensemble in Residence
Freer|Sackler, Meyer Auditorium, Haupt Garden, and Freer plaza, 11 am–5 pm
Catch members of the Grammy Award-winning Silkroad Ensemble performing in the museums and outdoors.

Art Making Inspired by Asia
National Mall and Haupt Garden, 11 am–5 pm
Watch artists at work, and make your own creations.

Meet the Curator
Freer|Sackler, 11 am–4 pm
Discover the themes and stories behind new installations and special exhibitions in these in-gallery conversations with Freer|Sackler curators.

Conversation: Curator Carol Huh with Artist Subodh Gupta
Freer, Meyer Auditorium, 3 pm
Listen in as Carol Huh, associate curator of contemporary Asian art, speaks with artist Subodh Gupta about his creative practice.

Festival Finale Featuring Members of the Silkroad Ensemble
Freer plaza, 4:30 pm
Members of the Silkroad Ensemble close the weekend with a final outdoor performance, joined by other festival performers.

For more details, visit our website at:

This event is co-presented with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival!
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