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The Kennedy Center

Washington, DC

The Kennedy Center is the nation's busiest performing arts center, hosting approximately 2,000 events each year for audiences numbering more than 2 million. Since 1971, we have been bringing the world to Washington with magnificent performances of music, dance, theater, and more.

The Kennedy Center, located on the banks of the Potomac River near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., opened to the public in September 1971. But its roots date back to 1958, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed bipartisan legislation creating a National Cultural Center. To honor Eisenhower's vision for such a facility, one of the Kennedy Center's theaters is named for him.

The National Cultural Center Act included four basic components: it authorized the Center's construction, spelled out an artistic mandate to present a wide variety of both classical and contemporary performances, specified an educational mission for the Center, and stated that the Center was to be an independent facility, self-sustaining, and privately funded. As a result of this last stipulation, a mammoth fundraising campaign began immediately following the Act's passage into law.

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