August 14, 2018
Scott Cecil, 480-252-8387,

Catharsis on the Mall to Hold Annual Healing Vigil During Planned “Military Parade” Over Veterans Day Weekend, November 9-11

Art Collective Plans Fourth Annual Ceremonial Burn with Healing Modalities to be Accessible to the Public on National Mall During “Military Parade”

WASHINGTON, DC – Catharsis on the Mall, a public vigil designed to create an artistic space for healing and transformation, is fundraising and calling for participants for this year’s occasion. Now in its fourth year, the vigil has been held annually during Veterans Day weekend on the National Mall. This year it will coincide with the “military parade” being planned by the current presidential administration. The Catharsis community is holding its vigil with the art theme of “Waking From the American Dream” and is preparing to create an all-inclusive space near the Washington Monument to host art, music, dance, workshops, movement, dialogue, and many other modalities of healing for free throughout the weekend.

Each year, the organizers select a theme to guide the vigil in its mission of healing and social change through art, celebration, and community. In its inaugural year, Catharsis focused on healing from the War on Drugs, with the following year addressing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Last year, the group gained national attention with plans to install R-Evolution, a 45-foot figure sculpture of a woman by artist Marco Cochrane, as the centerpiece for the vigil. The National Park Service reversed its permission to bring the piece in the days leading up to the event. Even without the sculpture, Catharsis compelled its highest ever turnout of participants thus far to uplift the dialogue around gender-based violence and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

This November, Catharsis invites participants to reflect on the reality of the “American Dream” as a way to begin peaceful reconciliation and create a culture of abundance, communion, connection, transformation, and integration.

“We want to awaken to a new vision where everything around us is medicine: the food we eat, the thoughts we think, the vast emotions we feel, the language that we speak, the connections we make, and the life that we live,” says Natalie de Leon, a U.S. Veteran and an organizer with Catharsis on the Mall. “To encourage a true healing experience as a nation, we are here to explore transmuting our collective trauma together.“

Catharsis on the Mall will host programming from Friday morning, November 9, through Sunday morning, November 11, and will feature unique displays of community art and interactive experiences in spaces intended to facilitate the healing arts for everyone of all ages and abilities, no matter who they are. A sacred structure that anchors the event is the “Temple,” which is designed and led by Michael Verdon, a U.S. Veteran and cofounder of Catharsis on the Mall.

“The Temple is a sacred sanctuary dedicated to community, reflection, and healing. Everyone is invited to write their stories of loss, grief, remembrance, and hope without judgement or fear,” says Verdon. “The structure holds these stories until we transform the Temple into ash with a cleansing fire. This experience will give way to forgiveness, moving forward, and healing together.” Saturday night, November 10, Mr. Verdon will lead the ceremonial burn of the Temple.

Catharsis is co-created by dozens of core volunteers, artists, and activists; and thousands of participants. It is the only event ever permitted to burn a structure on the National Mall and allow amplified music for 24 hours, providing the opportunity for the public to engage in cathartic dance from sunset to sunrise. Organizers are currently directing those who wish to participate and support — whether through financial resources, by volunteering, or submitting a creative idea — to their page:


For more information about Catharsis on the Mall, please visit:

For photos, videos, and interview requests of Catharsis on the Mall organizers, artists, and its partners, please contact: Scott Cecil, 480-252-8387 or email

Please follow Catharsis on the Mall on social media:
Facebook @catharsisonthemall – Twitter @catharsisDC – Instagram @catharsisonthemall

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