Reach To Forest

A two-week exploration of art, science, and nature where humans and forest converge.

February 20–March 3 at the REACH

Curated by Alicia Adams and Gilda Almeida

Exhibitions + installations
Compelling works from international + local artists
Films, poetry, culinary, and panels
on forests
And more!

“The supreme reality of our time is...our common vulnerability on this planet.”

President John F. Kennedy, June 28, 1963

About: Reach To Forest

Forests have nourished humans for millennia. They cover 31% of the Earth’s land area and shelter over 80% of terrestrial biodiversity. More than 1.6 billion people depend on them for their livelihood. We’ve uncovered new dimensions of their wonder, from “forest bathing” to eco-tourism to pharmaceutical research.

But the relationship is also marked by struggle. Humans have left paths of irreversible destruction and wounds through deforestation and pollution. Even as climate change threatens them, we’ve learned that forests may be our lifeline from that damage—absorbing harmful chemicals and buffering us against extreme weather.

February 20–March 3, REACH to FOREST explores the symbiotic relationship between forests and the human world with two weeks of free programs, films, art installations, conversations, and more. Check back for the complete calendar of events to be announced.

Meet Aneeshwar Kunchala

Kennedy Center Youth Ambassador for the Arts & Environment

With this new program, the Kennedy Center recognizes outstanding young stewards of the environment who are making a significant impact in the field. Our first Youth Ambassador, Aneeshwar Kunchala, is an 8-year-old from the UK with a big mission. He uses his public speaking, videos, poetry, and visual art to inspire and spread his important message about conservation to young people around the world. For REACH to FOREST, Aneeshwar will interact with students and read his poetry throughout the festival.

“What if we are kind enough and respect the nature, the way it is, and learn to coexist, rather than destroying it?”

Exhibitions & Installations

Indigenous Benches of Brazil

The carving of wooden benches is a longstanding artistic practice among Indigenous peoples in Brazil. In its U.S. premiere, the Indigenous Benches of Brazil exhibition will bring the creatures of the Amazon to life through more than 70 animal-inspired benches crafted by peoples from 41 ethnic groups across Brazil. Patrons may also enjoy photographs of the process by Rafael Costa and live carving demonstrations by Indigenous artist Karaputa Mehinako. Presented in collaboration with Coleção BEĨ.

February 20–March 3 | Skylight Pavilion

Byeongdoo Moon

February 20–March 3

Byeongdoo Moon is a Korean sculptor who bends and welds stainless steel wire to express the symbiosis between humans and nature. His sculpture on view, “I have been dreaming to be a tree,” creates a surreal hybrid of deer and forest.

REACH Campus

Roberto Fabelo

February 20–March 3

Cuban artist Roberto Fabelo’s paintings, sculpture, illustrations, and drawings have been exhibited worldwide. Fabelo’s work urges viewers to wake up from the nightmares man has created. He will create a commissioned work for the festival.

River Pavilion

Celia Ledón

February 20–March 3

In Cuban designer Celia Ledón’s hands, discarded videotapes, pop-top rings, plastic bags, and rubber tires are given new life as dramatic wearable art. Celia’s show-stopping works have been featured at the Kennedy Center’s Artes de Cuba and RiverRun festivals. She will create a commissioned work for the festival in collaboration with George Washington University.

Welcome Pavilion

Raiz Campos

February 20–March 3

One of the greatest expressions of graffiti in the North region of Brazil, Raiz Campos’s work transforms the Amazon’s flora, fauna, and native peoples’ lives into impactful murals and paintings. His vibrant work was seen at the Kennedy Center’s REACH Opening and RiverRun festivals and he will create a new work for REACH to FOREST.




Théâtre de la Dame du Coeur

As part of Evenings at the REACH, Quebec-based Théâtre de la Dame de Coeur brings the U.S. premiere of Acupunk—told through giant puppets! Éria and Terrenis, towering at 18 feet tall, will activate the REACH Plaza in a poetic fable surrounding the theme of healing the earth’s wounds. Suitable for all ages. Supported by the Québec Government Office in New York.

February 22–25 | REACH Plaza

“The seriousness of the subject—healing our planet—driven by such grandiose staging, reminds me of the imposing theatricality of great ancient Greek tragedies.”

Louis-Dominique Lavigne, Co-Artistic Director, Théâtre de Quartier


Théâtre de la Dame du Coeur

As part of Evenings at the REACH, Quebec-based Théâtre de la Dame de Coeur brings the U.S. premiere of Acupunk—told through giant puppets! Éria and Terrenis, towering at 18 feet tall, will activate the REACH Plaza in a poetic fable surrounding the theme of healing the earth’s wounds. Suitable for all ages. Supported by the Québec Government Office in New York.

February 22–25 | REACH Plaza

“The seriousness of the subject—healing our planet—driven by such grandiose staging, reminds me of the imposing theatricality of great ancient Greek tragedies.”

Louis-Dominique Lavigne, Co-Artistic Director, Théâtre de Quartier

Culinary Activations

Curated by acclaimed chef Felipe Schaedler, who has two award-winning restaurants in the Amazon region and one in the city of São Paulo that has received the Michelin Guide’s special Bib Gourmand award, REACH to FOREST will feature tastes of the Amazon. Chef Felipe will be onsite to present an exclusive Amazon dinner program at the Roof Terrace Restaurant (tickets required). The dishes will feature many ingredients native to the Amazon region of Brazil, such as the tambaqui fish, similar in shape and looks to the piranha; the giant pirarucu fish, which can reach up to 10 feet in length and weigh up to 485 lbs.; cupuaçu, a fruit related to cacao; and tucupi, a yellow sauce extracted from wild manioc root. The KC Café and Roof Terrace Restaurant will also carry his Amazon-themed menus (no tickets required). Supported by the Embassy of Brazil in the U.S.

February 27–March 3 | Roof Terrace Restaurant & KC Café

Environmental Book Fair

March 2

In collaboration with Politics and Prose, children and families can enjoy a one-of-a-kind Environmental Book Fair dedicated to youth and children, featuring a collection of books on the environment and wellbeing in different languages. Exciting programs will entertain and inspire families through readings, storytelling, signings, food trucks, and other activities.


Evenings at the REACH

February 22-25 & February 28-March 3

Join special events on the REACH Plaza on Thursday–Sunday evenings. Explore outdoor film screenings; pop-up Winter Forest, Tree Hunters, and Amazon Parties; performances of Acupunk from puppet company Théâtre de la Dame de Cœur (Feb. 22-25); food trucks; and more.


Improvs for Trees

February 21-March 3

In collaboration with the United States Botanic Garden, international instrumentalists will improvise 90-second works inspired by endangered tree species including the Giant Baobab (Africa), the Hau kuahiwi (Hawai‘i), the Three Kings Kaikomako (New Zealand), the Giant Sequoia (California), and others. The new music will be paired with images of the trees and projected onto the REACH Video Wall. The final clips will be available for online viewers through March 21, International Forest Day.

In conjunction with Improvs for Trees, trees will be planted by Casey Trees in a low canopy region of Washington, D.C. These young native trees will be on display at the REACH during the festival along with educational materials about the tree species and maps of the DMV’s urban forests.

REACH Video Wall

Tiny Pop-Up Dance: Birds & Sounds from the Amazon

February 22–March 3

Representing birds from tropical Brazil, dancers will move through the crowd in colorful costumes created by acclaimed Brazilian designer Rosa Magalhães, sharing facts about the world’s forests.

REACH Campus

Film & Documentary Series

February 23–25 & February 28–March 3

Enjoy indoor and outdoor film and documentary screenings, including a special series of films produced by Indigenous filmmakers. Among the films, the Africa Conservation Voices Media Labs program tells stories by African conservationist filmmakers as part of the Africa Wildlife Foundation.

Justice Forum | REACH Video Wall

Immersive Cinema Dome

February 20–March 3

In partnership with Canadian company Hubblo Immersion which specializes in immersive content worldwide, REACH to FOREST will present a series of 360 degree full-dome immersive films that will transport spectators into a marvelous universe of original narrative and compelling multimedia content for all ages (tickets required).

The award winning Hubblo Immersive Cinema Dome uses cutting-edge 360° film technology to create a fully immersive experience! You recline and enjoy a spectacular journey of light and sound. Choose the adventure that’s right for you. Programs will range from a 360° experience for babies and their parents performed by the Montreal Symphonic Orchestra to compelling full-dome content combining science, art, and music to be enjoyed by all ages.

River Pavilion

Moving Poems

February 17-April 30

Poetry will be in motion around the city during REACH to FOREST with Moving Poems, an initiative that will feature tree-themed works by acclaimed poets on Kennedy Center shuttle buses, including Pulitzer Prize winner and first African American U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, first Native American U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, and initiator of the Poem Forest project in the U.S., Jacqueline Suskin. Inside the shuttles, forest themed poems by students will be showcased in collaboration with the Kennedy Center’s Turnaround Arts national education program and their Poem Forest project.

Family Activities

February 24-25 & March 2-3

Fun activities for families during REACH to FOREST include a Forest Youth Day, a Wildlife Explorers Youth Day celebrating conservation heroes, plus films, documentaries, demonstrations, and dynamic talks. Get creative with hands-on activities for all ages in the Moonshot Studio that will explore the world of trees and forests.

Moonshot Studio | Studio F | PT-109

Youth Voices

Youth International Cultural Exchange

In collaboration with Brazilian youth and literacy-based organization Vaga Lume and their “Net” Program, students from two rural Amazon communities will participate in a cultural exchange with students from DMV and UK schools. In recognition of its work over the past two decades, Vaga Lume has received international awards such as the Intercultural Innovation Award from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).

Youth Voices & Programs

February 20–March 3

Among the priorities of REACH to FOREST are artistic and educational programs to engage and inspire young people. Aneeshwar Kunchala, appointed Kennedy Center Youth Ambassador for the Arts and Environment, will join programs to be held at the Kennedy Center, in DMV schools, and at other venues. Local students can expand their knowledge of forests by hearing from experts and explorers in the field, including guests from the African Wildlife Foundation.

Discussions & Demonstrations

Roundtables & Talks

February 21–March 3

REACH to FOREST will offer roundtables and Q&A sessions with writers, artists, scientists, forest champions, and more. Talks include Forests of the Imagination, featuring Pulitzer Prize winners Barbara Kingsolver and Richard Powers discussing literature inspired by forests; Treasures of Forest Pharma, a discussion of the ancient medicinal wisdom of the forest; and Trees, Tech, and the Future of Nature, exploring advances in technology that have helped us understand forests. 

Justice Forum | Studio K

TJ Watt

February 21-March 3

“Big tree hunter” and nature photographer TJ Watt is cofounder of the Ancient Forest Alliance, an organization working to protect British Columbia’s endangered old-growth forests. Combining his passion for conservation with professional photography, Watt works to shed light on endangered ancient forests in an effort to help see them saved. During REACH to FOREST, Watt will share his photography and films, join discussions, and host a “Tree Hunter Party” featuring projections on the REACH Video Wall.

Colin Vale

February 21-March 3

Visitors can appreciate live wood carving demonstrations by Colin Vale (“Carving Colin”), a Maryland artist who transforms wood into large-scale sculptures using chainsaws, flame throwers, and chisels. Vale learned his craft from Tuki, a master carver who carries on Easter Island’s tradition of carving small wooden moai.


Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts


AfricaN Wildlife Foundation • Casey Trees • Coleção BEI • Embassy of Brazil IN THE U.S. • George Washington University • KOREAN CULTURAL CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C. EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH KOREA • Politics and Prose • QUÉBEC GOVERNMENT OFFICE IN NEW YORK • United States Botanic Garden • Vaga Lume