JFK100 at Three Smithsonian Museums

Museums To Present Programs That Highlight the Enduring Ideals of JFK

May 24, 2017

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“America Now,” a collaboration of programs jointly organized by three Smithsonian museums, has unified under the theme of JFK100 to celebrate the centennial of President John F. Kennedy’s birth. The National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of American History and Smithsonian American Art Museum will present multiple programs this summer, between June 17 and July 1, designed to engage a variety of audiences in the American experience.

All events with one exception are free and open to general audiences. This third annual “America Now” collaboration on programming is made possible by the support of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Family Foundation. The Washington Post is the media sponsor of “America Now.” Details are outlined below and at s.si.edu/americanow.

National Portrait Gallery

America Now: JFK 100
Saturday, June 17; 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Kogod Courtyard

The Portrait Gallery joins the nationwide celebration of the life and legacy of Kennedy to honor his centennial, illuminating his contributions, challenges and policies in the wake of the civil rights era and present. The event features Citizen Cope and Alice Smith, whose repertory will include songs focusing on justice and freedom, two ideals that Kennedy championed. Visitors can see Kennedy’s words brought to life in an interactive experience with artist R. Luke Dubois. Summer cocktails and light food will be available for purchase in the museum’s courtyard, and there will be a scavenger hunt though the museum’s galleries, which include portraits of Kennedy, his family and his contemporaries.

Smithsonian American Art Museum

America Now: JFK and Inspiration
Saturday, June 24; 4–7 p.m.
Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard
Eighth and F streets N.W.

Kennedy’s administration is often associated with a golden age for art and culture in the United States. As part of the nationwide commemoration of his centennial this year, the museum is presenting excerpts from the ballet “Frontier” and a multimedia performance by the hip-hop group Liner Notes. Additional activities are planned and will be added to the museum’s online calendar americanart.si.edu as details are confirmed.

Frontier; 4–5:15 p.m.

Washington Ballet dancers will perform excerpts from “Frontier,” a newly commissioned work inspired by Kennedy’s legacy of space exploration from the perspective of an astronaut. “Frontier” has its world premiere in May at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.

Liner Notes; 5:30–7 p.m.

Liner Notes will perform an electrifying show of live music, poetry and visuals inspired by 1960s music and culture that speak to Kennedy’s ideals of courage, freedom, justice, service and gratitude.

National Museum of American History

From Jazz to Go-Go: The Sounds of Community Unrest
Saturday, July 1; 1–4 p.m.
Coulter Performance Plaza, 1West
Constitution Avenue, between 12th and 14th streets N.W.

Visitors can join the museum’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation for an afternoon of discussion and performances exploring the community origins of go-go through a common history of jazz. Between two high-energy performances by local go-go band legends Kenny Lattimore and Team Familiar, panel members, including Smithsonian and local scholars, will connect the community and cultural roots of these music genres through the civil rights era.

“We the Party People: JFK Centennial”
This is a ticketed and a 21+ event.
Saturday, July 1; 7–11 p.m.
Constitution Avenue, between 12th and 14th streets N.W.

The Kennedy era’s impact on today will be explored through lightning talks, 1960s-themed food and drink, objects-out-of-storage at the museum’s “We the Party People: JFK Centennial,” an after-hours event presented with Brightest Young Things. This non-partisan celebration will explore how Americans have participated in their democracy. For more information on this ticketed and 21+ event, visit s.si.edu/americanow.


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[Category: Society and Culture]