Kennedy Center’s REACH expansion plans fall opening with free festival

The countdown clock to a big public unveiling at the Kennedy Center is underway. In 100 days, a new expanded campus welcomes you to the REACH with a free 16-day festival.

“We don’t just want folks who are passively experiencing art. We want folks fully immersed in their own creativity and, in essence, enhance the public imagination,” said Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Kennedy Center vice president and artistic director of social impact.

With the planned opening of the REACH on Sept. 7, the Kennedy Center will expand its mission to include participatory arts for the community.

“The great thing about the REACH is that it basically opens the doors wide to all of our communities, whether they are artists, or audience members, students or seasoned attendees at the center,” said center President Deborah Rutter. 

The REACH Opening Festival, Sept. 7-22, has more than 400 free events planned to include participatory performances, interactive installations, panel discussions and hands-on activities from various genres and disciplines. Participating artists include Robert Glasper, Esperanza Spalding, Valerie June, Angélique Kidjo and Flying Lotus, among many others.

“We have a VR lounge, we have ongoing films in the Justice Forum. So, it’s a wide variety of all the different art forms and a great opportunity to sample,” Rutter said. “I really put it to you — that any kind of art that you like, you will find here at the Kennedy Center.”

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