Arts & Culture

DC is a global city that bursts at the seams with art and culture. The National Bell Festival celebrates this artistic excellence and rich diversity of experience by presenting emerging and acclaimed artists across genre and media.

Bells of China

Bells were among the first metal objects created in China. Beginning over 3,500 years ago, small, primitive noisemakers grew into gongs and evolved into sets of hand bells for playing melodies. Further centuries of technological experimentation resulted in more sophisticated bells that produced two pitches when struck in different spots.

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Bell Talk

Ever wonder how bells are made? Can bells fall out of tune? What is a campanologist? Discover the answers to these questions and more as bellmaker Benjamin Sunderlin leads guests on a discussion of the fascinating history and future of bells.


Meet your bellmaker.

Benjamin Sunderlin was born in Indiana and developed as a fine artist throughout his early years, earning numerous national grants, awards, fellowships, and was even featured in an Oscar-nominated documentary. At the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, he discovered bronze foundry work.

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Lush harmonies and heartfelt lyrics, often with a wink or quirky twist, await you with the brilliant singer/songwriter duo: Griefcat. Described as "Local Favorites" by Washington City Paper, Griefcat is comprised of veteran singer-songwriters Louisa Hall and Nardo Lilly.

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Chamber Music

Escape into the enchanting lyricism and effortless grace of three world-class artists as they bring a program of classical works to BellFest. Beginning with a somber call to silence on the bourdon bell and ending in the jubilation of pealing bells, the program will invite listeners on a journey of deep reflections and frenzied, passionate melodies by two titans of music: Johannes Brahms and Dmitri Shostakovich.

Devree Lewis, Cello
Sonya Hayes, Violin
Jason Solounias, Piano




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New Year's Eve Party

The countdown to 2020 and the first National Bell Festival has officially begun! Ring in the New Year (literally) with BellFest at our Ringin' New Year's Eve party in downtown Washington, D.C.

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