FYI Blog

The REACH Opens to Everyone


Like so many people in Washington, DC, we’ve been waiting impatiently for the opening of The Kennedy Center’s expansion: The REACH. We’ve made donations to the building fund, and watched the progress as this huge undertaking came to completion, moving the boundaries of the Kennedy Center beyond the stages of its iconic building.

Much of the festival was geared toward young kids—storytelling, live music, rap, art-making—reminding Avalonian parents that the REACH is very kid-friendly. There was also a parade, and huge balloons of favorite characters, like the Pigeon from the book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! So when the opening festival finally came, Avalonians were out in force, along with assorted spouses, children, grandchildren, and friends, to check out what the REACH has to offer.

  • Jackie Biancolli Libby and her daughter were in line on the first day, packed in with hundreds of other people, with the lines moving quickly. They were excited to see the variety of visual art everywhere they looked—that a performing arts venue would place such an emphasis on visual arts was a real treat. And the musical performances at several outdoor stages and interactive exhibits provided something for everyone. Adding to this glorious fall day was all the people-watching, as families and friends picnicked in the new outdoor spaces on the banks of the Potomac.
  • Kerri Kerr’s tween boys really enjoyed the interactive Warhol exhibit.
  • Barb Perell’s four kids loved Squonk Opera, and Max participated in drawing part of a creature at the “infinite monster” activity.
  • Barb joined Dara Igershiem for the Story Pirates show, based on a podcast for children in which professional actors and improvisers act out stories written by kids. The Pirates sang one of their recent songs, “The Wizard Who Could Just Go Poof,” a rap that is set to Pachabel’s Canon. The Story Pirates also have their own non-profit called Changemakers that works with schools to teach kids about literacy and self-expression through writing.
  • Cherea Stoney and her daughter and granddaughter had a great time at a DJ session for children with a local DC DJ, with kids getting involved in the broadcast.

From all accounts, the opening festival was a huge success, with 100,000 people “REACHed” and 500 performances and events across 20 venues. Clearly, the REACH is doing a great job of breaking down barriers between performers and audiences, getting everybody involved in the fun. It’s all about creativity, discovery, exploration, and cultural exchanges, and all that continues beyond the festival, as the REACH campus is open daily from 10 am to midnight.

Visit the Kennedy Center’s website to learn about daily offerings at the REACH and how you can get involved.