John F. Kennedy Center Unveils Expansion Plan
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Help us congratulate ISPA member organization the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on their exciting expansion news! In this difficult financial climate, many organizations are scaling back. On the contrary, the Kennedy Center is embarking upon a $100 million expansion for the first time since its opening in 1971. For our members who recently attended the New York 2013 ISPA Congress, you might remember that Alicia Adams, the Vice President of International Programs was the Congress Co-Chair. The below article was published on Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 in the Washington Post. Enjoy the full article and photos on the original Washington Post Website, or re-produced below.
The Kennedy Center
for the Performing Arts is planning its first major expansion since it
opened in 1971 as a "living memorial” to President John F. Kennedy, with
new features including pavilions to house rehearsal halls and
classrooms, a memorial garden and a floating stage on the Potomac River.
The plans unveiled Tuesday call for a $100 million addition
that would create a more lively outdoor space for gatherings and
performances, with a pedestrian bridge connecting the center to the
river. Architect Steven Holl drafted the initial concept and was hired
from among several contenders to design the expansion.
New marble pavilions — made from the same Italian Carrara
marble as the original building’s walls — would rise from a new garden
situated beside the center, and the pavilions would be connected
underground. Most of the new facility, totaling about 60,000 square feet
of usable space, would be buried below the surface to help preserve the
silhouette of the center’s primary building.
Officials plan to
raise private funds to build the project. To kick off the capital
campaign, Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein is giving $50 million
to fund half the cost. The center aims to raise an additional $75
million to complete construction and establish a programming fund for
the new facility within about five years. Officials hope to open the new
space in 2018.
Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser said the new pavilions would
have windows to allow visitors to look in on rehearsals of opera,
theater or dance.
"We’re giving a great improvement in public
access to the Kennedy Center, to our art making,” Kaiser said. "It’s
going to allow us to engage our audience in new and different ways.”
new space for rehearsals and education programs also is desperately
needed as the center has grown since 1971. It now includes a national
arts education program and houses the Washington National Opera as a
permanent affiliate, leaders said.
In an interview, Holl said he is honored to work on a memorial to a president he saw inaugurated in 1961 and respected so much.
"The Kennedy Center is a living memorial. It’s active, open to the
public for performance, the arts, which he really believed in,” Holl
Preliminary plans call for a memorial garden to honor
Kennedy. It could include 46 Gingko trees to note the number of years
Kennedy lived, 35 lavender rows for the 35th president, and a video wall
for projections of performances from inside the Kennedy Center.
"The idea really is that the landscape is activated,” a fusion of architecture and landscape features, Holl said.
could include a reflecting pool the exact length of the PT-109 boat
that Lt. John Kennedy commanded during World War II. Holl envisions a
deck along the pool made from the same mahogany wood as the boat. It
could also include inscriptions of Kennedy’s words.
challenge in the design concept could be winning approval for a
performance stage that would float on the Potomac River, Holl said.
Still, he said he has successfully negotiated with the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers for a past project that fell inside a flood plain.
"I’m ready for the fight,” he said.
new expansion plans come more than 10 years after the Kennedy Center
announced a major project to build two new buildings and a plaza over a
nearby freeway to connect the center with the National Mall. The $650
million project was essentially canceled in 2005 after budget
constraints forced Congress to eliminate $400 million in federal funding
for the project.
Kaiser envisioned a museum of the performing arts as part of that
project. Now, he said the center can plan future exhibition galleries in
its main building as education programs and rehearsals move to the new
Rubenstein, a billionaire businessman and a former
vice chairman of New York City’s Lincoln Center, has been limited by its
building over the years. So he wanted to plan a realistic project that
could be privately funded without relying on Congress. As the federal
budget tightens, Rubenstein said more Americans should consider
supporting nonprofit federal entities like the Kennedy Center.
Adding a garden and outdoor pavilions will make the center more inviting, he said.
"Rarely do people say in Washington, ‘I’m going to go over and spend a
couple hours at the Kennedy Center,’” Rubenstein said, noting it’s often
an evening destination for shows. But that will change, he said. "What
we wanted to do was to remind people that this is a living memorial to a
Kennedy Center: http://www.kennedy-center.org