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The Kennedy Center celebrates opening of new REACH campus with a sixteen-day long festival

Over 500 events will be offered for free between Sept. 7-22

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will open a new campus called the REACH on Sept. 7 with a 16-day-long festival to celebrate the addition.

“We have more than 2,000 performances every year,” said Matthew Winer, the director of special projects and comedy programming at the Kennedy Center. “Since we are so busy, we have capacity issues. The REACH gives us an amazing opportunity to have more space to host more rehearsals [and] to host more workshops.”

The REACH festival will start with a parade down Virginia Avenue toward the new campus where the festivities will commence. Over 500 events will be offered throughout the 16 days.

“You are able to explore everything from classic jazz to electronic music to comedy, dance, theater, film, hip-hop [and] indigenous cultures,” Winer said. 

Over 1,000 artists and performers will educate and entertain you during the two week period, “everyone from Black Violin to Underground Comedy to…a master class by Tiler Peck [a professional ballet dancer],” Winer said.

The goal of the REACH campus is to connect the Kennedy Center with the greater D.C. community and allow community members to engage with the arts without expense. The festival will not only celebrate the new campus’ grand opening but will also show visitors how the Kennedy Center plans to use the REACH in the future as a space for educational programs or a casual hang-out.

“Whether it be from the standpoint of a general audience member or somebody who really wants to be part of the process or learn about things, we have a ton of education programs [during the festival] where anybody could learn about a particular art form or workshop something they’ve been working on,” Winer said.

Visitors can also explore the campus as much as they’d like.  

“There are variant spaces where anybody can walk through the REACH at any given point through the day and see a live rehearsal or something of that sort,” Winer said. 

The REACH campus includes a walkway that runs parallel to the Potomac River and gives visitors direct access to the Kennedy Center. 

“We also had a great desire to connect ourselves more to the city…While oftentimes we’ve been known to live on an island, we are trying to engage and collaborate into the city a lot more and be an integral part of it,” Winer said. 

Once at the REACH campus, visitors are free to relax and enjoy the views of D.C. or the art performances. 

“There’s going to be a lot of hang spaces, a lot of places where people can come, sit, be part of the campus and have amazing overlooks, views of the river and the city itself,” Winer said.

With beautiful views and educational opportunities, Winer assures the D.C. community that they will not want to miss this festival. 

“There is nowhere else where you will have the opportunity to be at the center of an amazing cultural experience,” Winder said. “We have an incredible collection of some of the most talented and most important artists that exist today…Nothing like this has ever happened before and nothing like this will happen again.”

The REACH Opening Festival begins on Sept. 7 and runs until Sept. 22. While all events are free, they require timed-entry passes, which can be acquired here.

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