“You have to be involved if you are going to have an impact and be transformative.”

—DAVID RUBENSTEIN, Chairman of The John F. Kennedy Center

The Nation’s Leader in Arts Education

For more than 45 years, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has served as the living memorial to President Kennedy by bringing an unparalleled diversity of arts to our nation’s capital and serving a critical role as a leading provider of arts education initiatives across the United States and around the world.

The Kennedy Center is the nation’s busiest performing arts facility and annually hosts more than 2,000 performances for audiences totaling nearly 2 million; Center-related touring productions, television, and radio broadcasts welcome 40 million more. The Center presents performances of music, dance, and theater; supports artists in the creation of new work; and serves the nation as a leader in arts education.

Building a Performing Arts Center for the 21st Century

David Rubenstein was named Chairman of the Kennedy Center in May 2010. He has made donations to help fund the Kennedy Center and also made a gift to the Kennedy Center’s Expansion Project, which is due to open in 2018. Mr. Rubenstein’s contributions support the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera, the Center’s artistic and educational programming, major annual events, and the Rubenstein Family Organ. The initiatives he underwrites seek to increase access to the arts for all patrons and visitors, especially the underserved, the underprivileged, young people, and members of our armed services.

“I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for our victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.”


From left, Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter, Vice President Joe Biden, Kennedy Center Trustee Rose Kennedy, and Architect Steven Holl watch as Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein, center, turns over a shovel of dirt during a ceremonial groundbreaking of the Kennedy Center's new Expansion Project in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014.

AP Photo/Cliff Owen.

“What we are starting today is not just a new building but a transformation of the Kennedy Center into a performing arts center ready for the artist and patron needs of the 21st century.”


Kennedy Center Expansion Project

The Kennedy Center has embarked on the first major expansion in its history to more deeply explore and provide a home for new ways in which the arts, education and community intersect. The design and construction costs of the expanded campus will be paid entirely with private funds, which will create new opportunities for performances, informal gatherings, community outreach, and interaction between artists and audiences across the full spectrum of the creative process.

Connecting Creativity, Community and Nature

The innovative design, by renowned American architect Steven Holl, preserves the silhouette of the current building and adds three pavilions visible above ground: an entry pavilion to welcome guests, an event pavilion overlooking the garden, and a river pavilion adjacent to Rock Creek Parkway and the Potomac River.

Facilities for Engagement, Reflection and Relaxation

The facilities will include studios, rehearsal rooms, media-ready classrooms, a traditional lecture hall, space to accommodate critical education programs, an outdoor wall for simulcast and video presentations, and a café/bistro meeting spot.

Spaces for Experiencing the Creative Process

The new spaces are all designed to be flexible and create a new experience for members of the extended Kennedy Center community to interact and fully engage with the Center as a nexus of arts, learning, and culture.

A detail of the handle of the gold-plated shovel used by Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein in a ceremonial groundbreaking of the Kennedy Center's new Expansion Project in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. The shovel, which belongs to the White House, was used by President Lyndon Johnson in the December 2, 1964 groundbreaking of the Kennedy Center, and in the groundbreaking of the Jefferson Memorial and Lincoln Memorial.

AP Photo/Cliff Owen.

Architect Steven Holl's design model of the Kennedy Center's new Expansion Project.

AP Photo/Cliff Owen.

Vice President Joe Biden and Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein take part in a ceremonial groundbreaking of the Kennedy Center's new Expansion Project.

AP Photo/Cliff Owen.

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