Kennedy Center to Expand
Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 15:02
A five-year, $100 million expansion plan for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts was announced Jan. 29 to remedy space constraints as the cultural center expands its art education and management programs.
The current plan includes three connected pavilions to accommodate classrooms, rehearsal space, lecture rooms, multipurpose rooms and office space. One of the pavilions will float on the Potomac River and have an outdoor stage. The expansion will also include public gardens, restaurants and a video wall to project indoor Kennedy Center performances and other events.
“The Kennedy Center has the largest arts education program in the country without having any dedicated facilities to serve these growing programs,” Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser said in a press release. “I’m so pleased the Kennedy Center will have spaces specifically designed for these functions to help fulfill our mission of bringing arts education to students across Washington and to millions of people across the country.”
The project will be financed entirely by private funds, including a $50 million donation by David M. Rubenstein.
“I am pleased to pledge these funds as the lead gift to the Kennedy Center expansion project and encourage others to donate to this project,” Rubenstein said in a press release.
The center has launched a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $75 million, according to Kennedy Center press director John Dow. Of these $75 million, one-third will go toward future programming activities and are not needed for the expansion project.
“To put things in perspective, the Kennedy Center raises about $80 million a year in fundraising,” Dow said. “We are very confident that we will be able to raise the $50 million for this project over the next five years.”
Congress — which regulates federal funds used for the center’s maintenance and operation — unanimously approved a bill to approve the expansion project in June. The renovation will only expand onto land already owned by the center. It will take three years for Steven Holl Architects to finalize the design and for zoning and planning boards approve it and an additional two years for construction.
One main goal of the expansion, which will be designed by architects Steven Holl and Chris McVoy, is to add much-needed space for Kennedy Center programs.
“The vision for the project is to expand the Kennedy Center … in a way that embodies and extends the Kennedy Center as a living memorial … to JFK and as a national cultural center,” McVoy said.
The other purpose of the expansion is to create an aesthetically pleasing outdoor destination, which Dow hopes will make the Kennedy Center a daytime and nighttime attraction.
“The performances that up to this point have been contained within the existing building will now extend outside through the screening terrace, through the active, dynamic presence of the pavilions, and through the gardens,” McVoy said. “We’re taking that creative energy that’s been in the existing monumental building and … projecting it into the city.”