November 8, 2017
Lauren Berlekamp, 202-657-7754,

WASHINGTON, DC – Catharsis on the Mall, an annual public vigil dedicated to a creative community experience at which all are welcome, will host a press conference on Friday, November 10, from 4:00 – 5:30 pm in the northwest quadrant of the Washington Monument Grounds on the National Mall. The press conference will include a tour of the Catharsis site, introductions to spokespersons, provide information about the Catharsis schedule and purpose, and provide opportunity for audio and visual recordings, and interview opportunities to members of the media.

Catharsis on the Mall is a First Amendment demonstration to promote compassion; equal rights for women, LGBTQ and gender nonconforming people; and catharsis for victims of oppression. Organized by dozens of social justice advocates,, multi-media artists, free speech activists, and volunteers from DC to California, the three day event will feature free 24-hour-a-day programming from Friday morning, November 10, through Sunday morning, November 12,  to include a diverse lineup of speakers on issues related to reconciliation of conflict, freedom of expression, gender equality and the Equal Rights Amendment; and media and art installations intended to draw awareness to a variety of policy issues, promote peace, sensible drug policies and clinical research on therapeutic use of psychedelics. Additional vigil programming will feature live local and national musical acts, speeches, yoga, cathartic dancing workshops, panel discussions, art exploration, a fire ceremony featuring fire dancers, and a march around the Mall. For a complete schedule of programming, please visit:

Join Catharsis on the Mall spokespersons for an inclusive media opportunity to cover highlights of the demonstration.

What: Press Conference hosted by Catharsis on the Mall spokespersons

When: Friday, November 10, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm.

Where: Catharsis on the Mall HQ Tent, 0.2 miles north-west of the Washington Monument. The HQ Tent will be two 10×10 pop up structures with white canopies. There will be signage to guide and identify the HQ Tent (See map below for reference).

Please RSVP to Lauren Berlekamp at

Additional media tours may be scheduled from November 10-12.

Spokespersons available for interview:

  • Natalie Lyla Ginsberg, Board Member of Catharsis on the Mall; Policy & Advocacy Director for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)
  • Natalie “Ethos” de Leon, Art Director of Catharsis on the Mall; DCMJ Organizer
  • Natalie White, Board Member of Catharsis on the Mall; Artist and Equal Rights Activist
  • Julia Whitelaw, Creative Partner of artist Marco Cochrane, makers of R-Evolution
  • Joshua Carroll, Board Member and Director of Curation of Catharsis on the Mall

Several of the artists listed under the “Press Tour Itinerary” may also be available for interview about their pieces on site.

Catharsis on the Mall Site Map:


*HQ Tent where press conference will be held is located in bottom right, adjacent to the Temple.

Press Tour Itinerary:

Photo & Video Opportunities of Art Installations & Creative Spaces on Friday, November 10

  • Our Evolution and Double Standard Davids, Artists: Mia Hardwick and Marty Kenney
    • In response to the National Park Service’s rejection of the initial Catharsis on the Mall permit application to install R-Evolution by artist Marco Cochrane, women organizers of Catharsis decided they needed to  assert the concept of female empowerment as the central message of the event  Our Evolution is a manifestation of the divine feminine, expressing self-connection and universal sisterhood. A composite image created by collecting self-portraits submitted by 27 women of influence in the Catharsis community, all standing in the pose of hand over heart and hand over belly, in connection with body and spirit–Our Evolution confronts the double standard in fine art dialog wherein the male nude is considered to be of morally acceptably aesthetic value, and the female nude is considered to imply obscenity, sexual objectification, moral depravity or feminine bodily pride.  The many various photographs of women who contributed self-portraits to this piece were graphically blended, and morphed into the features of one woman, to represent the presence of the women involved in coordinating Catharsis. Our Evolution is nude, unhindered by fear or modesty, beautiful in her bare skin and natural body. Light and life pulses through her, the solar eclipse crowns her, flowers surround her. She is me. She is you. She is your daughter. She is your Sister. She is your mother.

Replicas of Michelangelo’s David and Rodin’s The Thinker, both standing at 20 inches tall, will be placed adjacent to Our Evolution  to constitute the foil piece, Double Standard Davids, to highlight the double standard of male and female nudity in public discourse.

  • The Rainbow Portal, Artist: Natalie de Leon, Emma Hary and Marty Kenney
    • ​The Rainbow Portal is a reincarnation of the “pride billboards” from Burning Man 2017, offering a statement on the need to socially and politically align with trans and LGBTQ individuals in order to create a more just and inclusive society.  A memorial entitled “Black Trans Lives Matters” is among the billboard topics. The billboards are arranged in semicircle; in the center stands a 6-foot statue of Shiva Nataraja.

The Rainbow Portal serves as an interactive art piece and space for fostering Gender Dialogue. Participants can experience this through sharing experiential learning and storytelling about their lives with a facilitator, and discussion regarding how gender has affected their relationships with others and their relationship with their self

  • Temple, Artist: Michael Verdon
    • The Temple is a place for remembrance and reflection. This is a sacred space where people are invited to share their stories by writing on the structure itself, on Memorial Wheels which will rotate and ultimately be burned as part of the Catharsis vigil.

This space includes a main center structure, a fence, and a courtyard. It will be lit with rechargeable LED tea lights inside wooden lanterns. The Temple design will allow most light to pass through its open structure and layout. It will be welcoming to all.

  • Future Clear Pyramid, Artists: Future Clear Productions
    • Future Clear Pyramid will host a number of workshops and micro-events during Catharsis, including yoga, movement workshops, aerial arts, live music, and meal sharing. Having previously traveled around the country to such cities as New York City, Detroit, Mount Shasta and others, the Future Clear Production tam will mobilize the pyramid as a space to honor the sacred water at Catharsis on the Mall. Learn more at:

  • Abraxas, The Dragon of Self-Determination
    • Abraxas, a 60-foot long golden dragon built atop a transformed school bus, will make its third appearance in Washington, DC, at Catharsis. The golden dragon paraded the streets of DC in 2010 during the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear,” and again at Catharsis in 2016 calling for the federal government to support PTSD research. Equipped with a 10,000-watt sound system, Abraxas will make her third voyage on the DC streets at 6:30am, Sunday, November 12 when she parades around the National Mall at sunrise for the March for Equality, to generate public support for the Equal Rights Amendment and demand an end to violence against women and the LGBTQ community.
  • SolarBeatz Mobile Art Stage, GOBI Energy Transformation Project
    • SolarBeatz is the ultimate exhibition of clean energy.  This mobile soundstage and performance venue is a unique, thought provoking, inspirational and educational catalyst that immediately converts the Sun’s powerful rays into an Earth friendly party, or if not in use, stores the renewable energy in a battery bank for use after dark. A modified delivery truck equipped with advanced solar, sound and lighting technology, this mobile spectacle stimulates audiences and demonstrates the possibilities of clean energy by fueling an array of electronics to create an outrageous audio visual experience, all powered by the sun. Learn more at:
  • The Nest Project, Artist: Debbie Baxter
    • The inspiration behind making The Nest as a project stems from the notion that as a human race and American culture we are suffering from extreme amounts of pain, violence, hatred, trauma, devastation, and wounding. Learn more at:
  • Paradise Lies at the Feet of the Mother, Artist: Farrah Abubaker
    • Paradise Lies at the Feet of the Mother brings to life an installation of my soul. Incorporating audio recorded from my handmade steel tongue-drums, paintings, and knitting activated by black-lights, my objective is to create an immersive space for the viewer to connect with. The periodic change in the lights represents the rhythm of the change in my life. I want you to feel that you have stepped inside my soul, and leave feeling like you have an understanding of how I cope and understand the world around me” –Description by artist Farrah Abubaker.  See short informational video here:

  • Letters to Our Daughters, Artist: Georgia Saxelby
    • Letters to Our Daughters is an interactive installation that invites participants to write a letter to their daughter – real or imagined – from the perspective of how they hope their daughters will experience the world twenty years into the future. These letters are displayed on the perimeter of the installation in open envelops for other visitors to read, and will be collected for display in a gallery with the artist’s larger body of work on feminine identity in Washington, DC (part of a fellowship with Halcyon Arts Lab).

The piece explores the significance of ritual actions in revealing a culture’s collective values, anxieties and hopes for the future. It is a reflection on how symbolic actions communicate cultural knowledge and skills to future generations. The piece focuses on the theme of feminine identity and ways that we are emboldening girls and young women. Learn more about the artist at:

  • True Mirror Experience, Artist: John Walter
    • A 30 foot wall of True Mirrors that reflect people as they are, without reversing left and right. Within the new reflection is a doorway to the true self, full of light and life. Healing can occur because seeing is believing; our true nature is a beautiful thing. Learn more at:
  • Da Wa Da, Artist: Brian Green
    • Da Wa Da is an Afrocentric tribute sculpture to the Earth’s meridian by Brian Green, the sole sculpture major at Howard University and a soldier in the Army Corps of Engineers.

“Da Wa Da is a dancing giant (literally, it dances) and is symbolic of the focal point of Earth. With the entity embodying my large metal sculpture, we can all tell our story of what we would do as the focal point of the Earth.” –Description by artist Brian Green.

  • Zendo Project, Director: Sara Gael
    • Zendo Project provides a safe space and trained staff to care for individuals who may be having a difficult experience while at festivals, concerts, and other events. Zendo Project staff and volunteers also work closely with event security and medical response teams to provide comprehensive harm reduction services. Zendo Project is sponsored by the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Learn more at:

Additional Media Opportunities:

Saturday, November 11 – Arrive 8:30 pm  

Fire Ceremony – “Memorial Wheel” Scroll Burn at the Temple, 9:00 pm

The highlight of the event is the “Memorial Wheel” Scroll Burn at the Temple on Saturday night. The Temple is a non-sectarian sanctuary; a sacred place intended to facilitate healing from grief, solemn remembrance, and renewal. Members of the public are invited to interact with the Temple and participate in its effigy, by writing offerings on the Temple, and by placing small, non-painted, wooden or paper objects in the Temple. It is meant to provide a sacred experience for each individual. The burning of the Temple manifests transition, catharsis, the continual flow of life. It encourages the lived experience of catharsis.

Sunday, November 12 – Arrive 6:00 am

Sunrise Ceremony and March for Equality, 6:30 am – 9:00 am

At 6:30am, Abraxas, the Dragon of Self Determination, will lead Catharsis participants in a march around the National Mall to raise awareness and generate support for the Equal Rights Amendment and demand an end to violence against women and LGBTQ individuals.

Abraxas serves as an artistic, mobile stage and parade vehicle.  It is a multi-level platform truck with a rebuilt artistic frame.  A similar march took place last year during Catharsis.

Sunday, November 12 – Arrive 10:30 am

Shatter the Silence! Announcement of Silent Sentinel Challenge 2017 at Abraxas, 11:00 am

Patricia Wirth of The Turning Point Suffrage Memorial Project joins Equal Means Equal Directors Kamala Lopez & Natalie White with a program commemorating the 32 women arrested during the “Night of Terror” in 1917. A short history as well as excerpts from the Congressional testimonies from the Suffragists will be read and the event will end with the premiere of the new ERA anthem, “We Can Do It,” written and performed by Patricia Bahia & Ali Handal. The group will also announce the Silent Sentinel Challenge 2017, a daily demonstration to take place in front of the White House starting Monday, November 13 – Sunday, January 21, continuously from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.

This effort will honor the centennial anniversary of the Suffrage protesters of 1917 as the demonstration to protest women’s lack of equal rights under the law and to advocate for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. For more information, please visit:

Note: A “Vigil for Healing & Equality” was originally scheduled to commence alongside the installation of R-Evolution, a large steel sculpture of a woman by artist Marco Cochrane, immediately following Catharsis on the Mall to last through the anniversary of the Women’s March. This vigil has been reorganized by Equal Means Equal as the “Silent Sentinel Challenge of 2017.”

Catharsis on the Mall was initiated and organized by a group of activists and artists in Washington, DC, inspired by the culture and ten principles of Burning Man. The group is not formally affiliated with Burning Man, although many contributors identify with the Burning Man community at large. Catharsis seeks to provide space for arts, healing, culture, and activism to come together, mediated by radical inclusion, participation and self-expression.

In addition to the National Park Service, the Park Police and DC Fire & Emergency Services, Catharsis on the Mall is proud to have the support of several other key partners working to make this year’s programming possible, including the Bronner Family, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), The Bliss Project, Burning Man Project, DCMJ, Equal Means Equal, Flux Foundation, and the Uptown Art House.

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

For more information about the Equal Rights Amendment, please visit:

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

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