The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced ongoing and long-term initiatives that leverage the arts for socially aware non-arts outcomes.
Under the leadership of Vice President and Artistic Director of Social Impact Marc Bamuthi Joseph and the Social Impact team, the Kennedy Center has devised an eight-channel framework with activity that will be woven throughout the institution to ensure a commitment to Black lives, Black artists, and Black culture.
“Social Impact is fundamentally about who we are as the Nation’s Cultural Center and the change maker the arts can be in the world. While our plans to introduce future phases of our Social Impact initiatives have been in the works for over a year, current events have re-focused and re-doubled our efforts. I applaud the incredible vision of Marc Bamuthi Joseph as both an artist and leader, and the way his team has synthesized new and continuing initiatives in every division of the Kennedy Center,” said Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter.
“None of us expect our country or our institution to transform overnight, but that doesn't mean we can tactically idle while proclaiming that we seek to grow,” added Joseph. “Our constitution is the foundational document that essentially designed Freedom, but how do we sustain its spirit in the present day? And pertinent to today's announcement, what is the role of our cultural centers in America's contemporary freedom design? Social Impact is woven throughout our efforts at the Kennedy Center to be a willing and compassionate mechanism for our national ambition to be systemically anti-racist and structurally inclusive in the pursuit of inspiration for all.”
The eight areas of work follow:
Local Creative Economy
The incubation of local cultural leaders and arts-centered education systems through financial support, marketing visibility, performing platforms, and access to the REACH, a place where visitors, audiences, and artists can come together for collaboration, experimentation, and exploration.
On-campus activations re-igniting institutional programming at the REACH through a public health lens to prioritize physical health, psychological health, and social/sociological health.
The Cartography Project
A new curatorial music program, led by the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera, that expands the radius of orchestral music and opera to embrace equity and talent of diverse backgrounds, challenges organizations and audiences to engage in new perspectives and sources of inspiration.
Arts Across America
On July 27 the Kennedy Center will launch this program, via Facebook, to uplift artists and showcase art from communities and regions across the country. Arts Across America will present 20 weeks of free programming five days a week.
A commitment to identifying and centering cultural leaders whose practices will shape our future, while providing a consistent platform for their thought leadership.
The Center will more intentionally connect Black performances on its digital and physical stages to partnerships with community-sustaining visionaries and unsung heroes in the Black community.
INTERNAL CHANNELS: Qualitative Metrics and Evaluative Field Leadership/Sub-Communication Strategy
The Kennedy Center is developing tools to measure the efficacy of its anti-racism processes and relationships through placing additional focus on hiring practices, training, mentoring, and building inclusive culture.