The History of the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts

Topics: John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy assassination Pages: 3 (1048 words) Published: March 14, 2006
President John. F Kennedy once said, "I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for our victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has a unique history; it started out as a National Cultural Center, developed into The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and today serves as the nation's busiest arts facility. In the beginning years of existence, America had very little if any governmental assistance for the performing arts. The government funded their money elsewhere. President John Adams had wrote, "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy" (Gill 22). He felt that the country had no reason to study the arts. The country was worried about bigger things. President Eisenhower had a different view. Dwight Eisenhower saw the performing arts as a significant part of life. In 1955, he appointed a District of Columbia Auditorium Commission to inspect the possibility of putting up a new auditorium in Washington, and if putting up an auditorium was possible, to suggest an appropriate location (22). By Eisenhower putting forth this idea of a new auditorium for performing arts, he signified the change of the country's view about performing arts. Eisenhower believed that if a performing arts center were to be put in the Nation's capital, it might have the chance of being supported by the government. The first sign of real progress for the Kennedy Center came in 1958. On September 2 1958, President Eisenhower signed the National Cultural Center Act of 1958 (22). 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...
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