The Kennedy Center is the national cultural center. Mandated by Congress to present and produce the finest performing arts from this country and abroad, the Kennedy Center is an independent, self-sustaining institution that relies on ticket sales and private donations for its performing arts and public service programming. Since it opened in 1971, the Center has fostered the creation of many new works and productions in all the performing arts and has encouraged both established and emerging artists.
In its five theatres, world premieres from the world's finest ballet companies, new plays, musicals, operas, and commissions of works for young people - many of them made possible with Kennedy Center funding - are presented 52 weeks of the year. The Kennedy Center has expanded the performing arts in America, enriching the lives of millions of people through the diverse presentations on its stages, its educational programs, touring productions, free performances for young audiences, television and radio presentations, its Specially Priced Ticket program, and nationwide activities of the Friends of the Kennedy Center.
The building was designed by the late Edward Durell Stone. It cost almost $78 million to build, including $23 million from Congress, $34.5 million in matching contributions, and U.S. Treasury loans of $20.4 million. All outside walls, and the walls of the Hall of States and the Hall of Nations, are covered with 3,700 tons of Carrara marble, a gift of Italy. The Kennedy Center's structural features also include:
The National Park Service provides maintenance and security for the grounds and building, as it does for all presidential memorials and monuments. However, the performing arts operations at the Kennedy Center are independently administered as a private, nonprofit institution.
Services For People With DisabilitiesReserve a wheelchair by going to the Friends Public Service Desk in the Hall of States or by calling 202-416-8340, seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m.
Large print and braille maps available at the Friends Information Center in the Hall of States.
For more information about services for people with disabilities, visit our volunteers at the Friends Public Service Desk in the Hall of States, seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. or call 202-416-8300 (TDD:416-8524), weekdays from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Located at New Hampshire Ave. and Rocky Creek Pkwy. NW. Telephone 202-467-4600 for more information. Admission for tours free. Open daily 10-9 (or until the last show lets out). Box office open Monday-Saturday 10-9; Sunday and holidays Noon-9. Free tours daily 10-1, telephone 202-416-8341 for tour information. Performing Arts Library telephone 202-707-6245. Open Tuesday-Friday 11-8:30; Saturday 10-6.