The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (on the building itself called the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center for the Performing Arts, and commonly referred to as the Kennedy Center) is a performing arts center located on the Potomac River, adjacent to the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. The Center, which opened on September 8, 1971, produces and presents theater, dance, ballet, orchestral, chamber, jazz, popular, and folk music, in addition to multi-media performances for all ages.
It is the busiest performing arts facility in the United States and annually hosts approximately 2,000 performances for audiences totaling nearly two million; Center-related touring productions, television, and radio broadcasts welcome 20 million more. Now in its 40th season, the Center presents the greatest examples of music, dance and theater; supports artists in the creation of new work; and serves the nation as a leader in arts education. With its artistic affiliate, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Center's achievements as a commissioner, producer, and nurturer of developing artists have resulted in over 200 theatrical productions, dozens of new ballets, operas, and musical works.
It represents a public-private partnership, since it is both the nation's living memorial to President John F. Kennedy and the "national center for the performing arts", which includes educational and outreach initiatives, almost entirely paid for through ticket sales and gifts from individuals, corporations, and private foundations.
Designed by architect Edward Durell Stone, it was built by Philadelphia contractor John McShain and is administered by a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution. It receives federal funding each year to pay for the maintenance and operation of the building.
Famous quotes containing the words performing arts, arts, performing, kennedy and/or center:
“More than in any other performing arts the lack of respect for acting seems to spring from the fact that every layman considers himself a valid critic.”
—Uta Hagen (b. 1919)
“Women hock their jewels and their husbands insurance policies to acquire an unaccustomed shade in hair or crêpe de chine. Why then is it that when anyone commits anything novel in the arts he should be always greeted by this same peevish howl of pain and surprise? One is led to suspect that the interest people show in these much talked of commodities, painting, music, and writing, cannot be very deep or very genuine when they so wince under an unexpected impact.”
—John Dos Passos (18961970)
“Bottom. What is Pyramus? A lover or a tyrant?
Quince. A lover that kills himself, most gallant, for love.
Bottom. That will ask some tears in the true performing of it. If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)
“I met Jack Kennedy in November, 1946.... We went out on a double date and it turned out to be a fair evening for me. I seduced a girl who would have been bored by a diamond as big as the Ritz.”
—Norman Mailer (b. 1923)
“I am the center of the world, but the control panel seems to be somewhere else.”
—Mason Cooley (b. 1927)