The Kennedy Center’s New JFK Exhibit

A few weeks ago, I was invited to The Kennedy Center for a media preview of their new permanent exhibit, Art and Ideals: John F. Kennedy. (It has since opened to the public, and is free to visit! You don’t need to have a ticket to a show to go and enjoy it.)

Because of my blog, I am lucky enough to get invited to quite a few events in and around DC, but I turn most of them down. I used to attend so many more and it was such a fun chapter of my life—I met many of my good friends this way and have had experiences beyond anything I could have ever dreamed up for myself. But, as my day job has become more demanding, I like to spend my more limited free time with my close friends + family or having a quiet night after a long day.

But when the invite for this event came through my inbox, it was very quickly a “yes” from me. I wanted to go so badly that I said yes without knowing anyone else who was going—I figured if I could do anything solo, it was enjoy a museum exhibit. Luckily for me, I ended up running into a few other creatives at the reception beforehand that I had met at other events over the years, and we were able to explore the exhibit together.

I was a Media Studies + American Studies double major at UVA, concentrating in popular + visual culture, so I spent a lot of time studying the Kennedy family—how they leveraged the media to their advantage, their politics, their contributions to our history, their fashion, and, of course, their family drama. While my formal studies on this fascinating family have ended, I still take any opportunity I can to learn more about the Kennedys—and what better place to learn about President John F. Kennedy than at the performing arts center named in his honor.

After a short reception—which included celebratory champagne, of course—and remarks, we were able to enjoy the exhibit. It is super well done, exploring President Kennedy’s whole life—from his early years spent with his many brothers and sisters to his service in wartime to his commitment to the arts during the 1,000 days of his Presidency.

There are also several interactive features, like a really cool screen that will paint you in the style of JFK’s Presidential Portrait and a dinner table where you can learn all about the different artists the Kennedys invited into their White House.

Thanks again to The Kennedy Center for having me! Whether you live in DC or are visiting town, this free and immersive exhibit should be on your list, especially if you love learning about the Kennedy family as much as I do. Plus, you can’t beat the views of the Monuments, Georgetown, Memorial Bridge, and Arlington from the top of The Kennedy Center rooftop!

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