PHOTOS: Peek inside The REACH at the Kennedy Center

August 29, 2019

WTOP/Kristi King

The Kennedy Center is hosting a free multiweek festival for the grand opening of its new campus expansion, The REACH.

There will be nearly 500 events Sept. 7–22 that will include everything from musical and comedy performances to panel discussions, dance parties, instructional workshops and outdoor screenings of movies and opera performances.

To attend the festival, free timed-entry passes are required. You can find pass information and a complete lineup of events on the Kennedy Center’s website.

Parking nearby or on site can cost more than $20. A free shuttle runs to the campus from the Foggy Bottom Metro station; it’s a short walk along New Hampshire Avenue.

Pedestrians and cyclists have access to the campus via the pedestrian bridge that connects to the path along the Potomac River. There’s also a path that can be used to access the campus from the D.C. side of the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge.

The REACH fulfills a vision for the future about opening up the full life cycle of the artistic, creative process according to Robert van Leer, senior vice president of artistic planning for the Kennedy Center.

“It opens up a number of different kind of creative opportunities for the broader public to get an insight into the creative, developmental process of art today,” van Leer said.

The REACH will allow people to engage with the artistic process in the manner that feels best for them.

“Some people are very comfortable sitting and watching, don’t want to be asked to partake, don’t really have something they want to do,” van Leer said. “But other people want to get up and dance. They want to make music. They want to talk to the creators. This is about providing a whole extensive array of opportunities, which make that possible.”

The REACH and its unique collection of venues and spaces signal a move beyond the formality of solely attending a 6 p.m. event. People also are invited to enjoy the new campus’s public art, open spaces and River Pavilion, where they might relax at a bistro table with a coffee and pastry.

“It’s those kinds of opportunities we’re adding to the broad campus experience of the Kennedy Center,” van Leer said. “You can explore the whole site and just make it a casual part of your day-to-day experience.”

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