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Folger Shakespeare Library Showcases Personal Stories of Local Neighborhood Residents in Art Installations at DC Public Library Locations

Press release: May 2, 2024 — Washington, DC

DC&Me is the first phase the Folger’s DC Amplified Project, a multi-year initiative to gather, uplift, and amplify stories about life in Washington DC

The Folger Shakespeare Library today opened the first in a series of art installations dedicated to representing the personal stories of residents living in the District of Columbia. The installations are part of the Folger’s DC&Me project, and the first is now on view at the Mt. Pleasant Library.

Each installation weaves together paintings and mixed media pieces created by residents of the community with QR codes directing viewers to short films of actors portraying the residents and their stories. The installation also features a hotline prompting viewers to engage with the project by either recording their own story or listening to the stories recorded by residents. The Mt. Pleasant installation will be on view through May 29, 2024, and subsequent installations will be on view at the Anacostia Library and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. The Folger will exhibit the installations at its home on Capitol Hill after each Library presentation. Other venues may be incorporated as well.

The project was developed by Folger Artist-in-Resident Katherine Harroff, a veteran of connecting and building relationships between hyperlocal communities and arts organizations. Harroff began her residency at the Folger while serving as Interim Director of Arts Engagement at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. She has since joined the Folger as the Director of Engagement.

“Through DC+Me, it is my intention to put a celebratory focus on the community of Washington, DC, and empower its people to utilize the tools of performance-based artmaking to share traditions, honored stories of the past, and communal hopes for the future,” Harroff said. “This style of inclusive creative collaboration offers meaningful and empathic connections to others, enabling populations to take control of their own narratives.”

In the months leading up to the installations going on view, Harroff organized a series of workshops with teaching artists from the DC-based Angel Rose Art Collective. Workshops were held at the National Building Museum, Honfleur Gallery in Anacostia, and Lost Origins Gallery in Mt. Pleasant. The artists led community members who attended the workshops in developing their stories as works of art. These works anchor the art installations that viewers will see at Library locations. The videos accessible through the installation were developed throughout 2023 after a series of interviews with community members and produced by DC-based filmmaker Jay Sun and featuring actors Lili Hokama, John Floyd, Renea Brown, and Gerrad Taylor.

“DC+Me is a fantastic example of the work the Folger is doing right now,” said Folger Director of Programming and Performance Karen Ann Daniels. “We are connecting a broad spectrum of Folger programs and audiences as we take our work into the community, and we are reshaping our programs based on the input of community collaborators. These long-term engagements will help establish the Folger as a welcoming place for all of DC.”

The DC+Me exhibitions are free and on view during regular library hours. The schedule is as follows:

  • Pleasant Library: April 24, 2024 — May 29, 2024
  • Anacostia Library: June 1, 2024 — July 24, 2024
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library: July 27, 2024 — September 9, 2024

DC Amplified

The DC Amplified Project is a co-creative docu-theater program that celebrates the communities of Washington, DC, and shares performance-based tools and resources of Folger Theatre and the Folger Shakespeare Library with the goal of telling stories about the real, lived experiences and histories of people in Washington DC. The project is an inclusive, creative collaboration intended to elevate the citizens and neighborhoods of DC that will unfold in three phases. The first phase, DC+Me explores the stories of individuals living in DC. The second phase will celebrate love stories from diverse communities throughout DC, and the final phase will look at political upheaval from the perspective of residents. Through DC Amplified, the Folger will share the traditions, honored stories, and communal hope for the future of DC, by, for, and in conjunction with DC residents.

Katherine Harroff

Katherine Harroff is a playwright, producer, director, and actor. In January 2024, after a year of working on the DC Amplified project, Harroff joined the staff of Folger Shakespeare Library as the Director of Engagement.  Previously, Harroff served as the Associate and later Interim Director of Arts Engagement at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. Ms. Harroff has pioneered documentarian and community-based performance, developing stories, teaching everyday artists, and sharing the tools of storytelling and professional theater with myriad communities. In addition to documentary theater, her work has included installation experiences, site-specific performances, as well as intimate and large-scale community focused events celebrating the stories, lives, traditions, and interests of the community she is engaged in. For The DC Amplified Project, the Folger selected Ms. Harroff for her ability to honor, prioritize trust, and develop mutually beneficial relationships.

About Folger Shakespeare Library

The Folger Shakespeare Library makes Shakespeare’s stories and the world in which he lived accessible. Anchored by the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the Folger is a place where curiosity and creativity are embraced and conversation is always encouraged. Visitors to the Folger can choose how they want to experience the arts and humanities, from interactive exhibitions to captivating performances, and from pathbreaking research to transformative educational programming. The Folger welcomes everyone to connect in their own way—from communities throughout Washington DC to communities across the globe. Learn more at

About the District of Columbia Public Library

The District of Columbia Public Library is a dynamic source of information, programs, books and other library materials and services that improve the quality of life for District residents of all ages that, when combined with expert staff, helps build a thriving city. The Library provides environments that invite reading, community conversation, creative inspiration and exploration, lectures, films, computer access and use, workforce and economic development, storytimes for children, and much more. DC Public Library includes the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and 25 neighborhood libraries and also provides services in nontraditional settings outside of the Library buildings. DC Public Library enriches and nourishes the lives and minds of all District residents, provides them with the services and tools needed to transform lives, and builds and supports community throughout the District of Columbia.

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