An industrial designer by training, Cynthia Smith serves as Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s curator of socially responsible design, integrating her design expertise with her advocacy on human rights and social justice issues. She has curated several ground-breaking exhibitions on the potential of design to impact the lives of everyday people and has been named a “20/20 New Pioneer” by Icon design magazine. She is a member of the World Economic Forum Expert Network, and serves on numerous international design juries.
By the People aims to empower visitors to see themselves as designers—not just of objects, but also of ideas, strategies, and solutions that improve their daily lives. The exhibition showcases 60 of the most innovative and impactful design projects from every region of the United States. They highlight some of the most pressing issues confronting Americans such as access to food, education, health care and affordable housing as well as questions of how to increase social and economic inclusion through improved transportation options and a balanced approach to land use between built and natural environment. Generated through design, these projects inspire creative problem-solving at local, regional, national, and even international levels.