The Kennedy Center

As the nation's center for the performing arts, the Kennedy Center is committed to increasing opportunities for all people to participate in and understand the arts. To fulfill that mission, the Center strives to commission, produce, and present performances reflecting the highest standards of excellence and diversity indicative of the world in which we live, and to make those performances accessible to the broadest possible audience through arts education.

The Kennedy Center believes that the arts are one of humanity's most eloquent means of understanding the world. Through the arts, we share the highest achievements of every culture and find a universal language which permits communication among all peoples. As such, the arts are an essential component of a complete education.

Through the years, studies have discovered what the Kennedy Center has known for a long time: that the inclusion of the performing arts in a broad-based curriculum improves the quality of a child's educational experience. The arts teach discipline, improve self-esteem, inspire creativity, and help young people to set and reach goals. Knowledge of the arts makes good teachers better and makes participating schools exciting, challenging places for children--places where they are encouraged to explore, to create, and to reach their full potential.

With its affiliate, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Kennedy Center takes a leadership role in national performing arts education policy and programs, working as both a pioneer and as a partner with other performing arts institutions, educators and schools, legislators, parents, and community and business leaders. The Center commissions, creates, and tours performances for students, teachers, adults, and families; offers professional development opportunities in the arts for teachers; develops model programs for use by other performing arts centers and schools; develops and encourages national and community outreach programs; and serves as a clearinghouse for arts education information and as an advocate for arts education on a national level.

For more information, visit their website.


The arts are a critical and essential part of the education of every young person in America, and every American should have high-quality opportunities to be educated in all of the arts. Such an education should occur both in and out of classroom settings as part of an ongoing learning process for all individuals, including those with special talents or needs.

A comprehensive arts education draws upon the expertise of both arts specialists and classroom teachers, and upon the experiences and resources of professional artists and community cultural resources. Only by utilizing all of these resources can individuals achieve the full educational potential of the arts. Further, any serious attempt to address arts education must articulate the value of a comprehensive approach to basic education and affirm the integral role of the arts in education and in education reform. The national standards in the arts have provided a guide for the development of state and local curriculum and assessments in the arts. These standards provide all educators with guidelines for providing a comprehensive approach to educating students in all of the arts and support learning in, through, and about the arts.

Description of Education Initiatives: In its originating statute, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is mandated by the Congress to be a leader in national performing arts education policy and programs. The Kennedy Center's Education Department serves that mandate through extensive education programming, including developing and presenting original and innovative performing arts and educational programs for children, youth, families, adults, and educators designed specifically to foster an appreciation and understanding of the performing arts. These programs are partially funded from public and private sources through the U.S. Department of Education and the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund. For more information view the education section of their website.

Partnership with DC Collaborative

DC Collaborative Member since 1998.
The Kennedy Center is a founding member of the DC Collaborative!

Arts and Humanities for Every Student Provider

The Kennedy Center is an AHFES Provider! Teachers may view their AHFES Catalogue here.

Professional Development Events

The Kennedy Center is offering the following PD opportunities during the 2018-19 school year:

Presented by:
Dr. Carmen White in partnership with The Kennedy Center
Empathy, positive relationships and collaboration are essential skills for student success. In this workshop, engage in an immersive drama strategy, “Mantle of the Expert,” designed to develop these skills. In this drama strategy, students enter a fictional world where you, as the teacher, take on a role of someone who needs help solving a problem related to bullying. Students take on the role of “experts” who will help solve this specific real-world problem. This strategy requires students to take on new perspectives and work together in a safe environment that supports social-emotional growth.
Dates: 12/10/18
Time: 4:30PM-7:30 PM
Length of Event: 3 hours
Location: The Kennedy Center
Discipline/Focus: Arts Learning-Theatre
Curriculum Connections: English/Language Arts
Grades: Teachers grades 4-8

Presented by: 
The Kennedy Center
Improvisation is magic, whether it’s onstage...or in the classroom. Using the very same skills The Second City uses to delight its audiences, a member of the world-famous improvisational comedy school unpacks their tools of the trade to make understanding story structure approachable, interactive, and entertaining for students. By unleashing the improv superpower of the phrase “yes, and,” become more empowered to help students explore what makes a story “tick” for both readers and writers. Funny not required; willingness to play always appreciated!
Dates: 1/23/19
Time: 4:30PM-7:30 PM
Length of Event: 3 hours
Location: The Kennedy Center
Discipline/Focus: Arts Learning-Theatre
Curriculum Connections: English/Language Arts
Grades: Teachers grades 6-12

Presented by: The Kennedy Center
Facilitated byLynda Monick-Isenberg (Artist, Teaching Artist and Professor from Minnesota)
Using drawing as a visual language, scientists describe their surroundings, record objects, develop ideas, and problem-solve. This hands-on workshop debunks the myth that talent is a key factor in drawing. Learn how to see like scientists by using simple drawing strategies that you can confidently use with your students. Walk away with an introduction to a visual vocabulary, drawing strategies for the science classroom, and skills for thoughtful analysis of their work.
Date: Monday, March 25th
Time: 4:30-7:30 PM
Length of Event: 3 hours
Location: 2700 F St NW, Washington, DC 20566
Discipline: Arts Learning: Theatre, Science
Curriculum Connections: English/ Language Arts, Science
Grades: 5th-8th
Ticket capacity: 3

Presented by: The Kennedy Center
Facilitated byKimberli Boyd (Dancer and Teaching Artist from Michigan)
When it comes to math, young students often focus on numbers rather than stepping back and understanding the math concepts. In this workshop, explore how to help students use their bodies as a physical manipulative to understand math concepts through movement. Examine how movement and creative dance experiences can develop your early learners’ understanding of addition, subtraction, story problems, and more.
Date: Wednesday, April 10th
Time: 4:30-7:30 PM
Length of Event: 3 hours
Location: 2700 F St NW, Washington, DC 20566
Discipline: Math
Curriculum Connections: Math
Grades: K-2
Ticket capacity: 3

Story Bank Blog

The Kennedy Center is featured in the DC Collaborative's Story Bank Blog!

  • "Any Given Child DC Blog Series: Meet the Any Given Child DC Community Arts Team"- January 17, 2018
    "Any Given Child DC Blog Series: Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child, DC"September 29, 2017
  • "AHFES Feature: Where Words Once Were" -December 8, 2016
  • "Filmore Arts Center Students Attend Alvin Ailey"- February 5, 2015
  • "Kennedy Center Offers Half-Price Tickets to the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Benefit Concert."- May 15, 2015
  • "Kennedy Center and Split This Rock Co-Sponsoring Student Workshops and Performances"April 29, 2015
  • "Kennedy Center Partnership Schools Featured on Millenium Stage"April 28, 2015

Contact the education department:

Twitter Updates


Mailing Address: 975 F Street, NW
Office Location: 923 F Street, NW, #303
Washington, DC 20004
P: 202.470.6467

The DC Collaborative is a FY19 Service Organization grant recipient of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

The DC Collaborative is proud to receive a grant for its Collective Impact work supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.