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Saturday, September 7 • 11:30am - 12:30pm
Opening Ceremony: Redeclaration of Creative Independence

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The Re-Declaration of Creative Independence is a communally performed choral poem and institutional assertion inspired by the opening of the REACH at the Kennedy Center. It is written in the spirit of Maya Angelou’s inaugural poem, but with a greater emphasis on the prosaic lyricism of President John F. Kennedy. In performance, The Re-Declaration seizes on the recent examples of Zinn’s "A People’s History" or Coates’s "Between the World and Me," literary texts that multiple players can parse and breathe individual life into as they simultaneously make the words their own and all of ours collectively.

Penned and organized by Vice President and Artistic Director of Social Impact Marc Bamuthi Joseph, the Re-Declaration distills how the REACH demands us to re-engage the intersection of American ideals and global aesthetics, and further reifies that our physical expansion is an opportunity to expand our radius of accountability, participation, and belonging. Joseph will integrate original verse, language from Kennedy Center Honorees, and direct quotations from our institutional namesake to welcome our community into the possibilities inherent in the opening of the REACH - to consider that our mission isn’t just to "present" artists but to USE art as opportunity to activate all communities in an embodied inspiration beyond the traditional transactional paradigm.

The Re-Declaration will be initially performed by Kennedy Center board and staff, members of the Turnaround Arts roster, DC-based cultural leaders, and extended members of the Kennedy Center national family. Excerpts of the Re-Declaration will be read throughout the day and occasionally during our Opening Festival to make our public narrative clear and to center our audiences and our community in the relationship between the Kennedy Center ideals and the broader vision of creativity at the core of American promise.

Featured Artists
avatar for Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Marc Bamuthi Joseph

BAMUTHI (Marc Bamuthi Joseph) is a 2017 TED Global Fellow, an inaugural recipient of the Guggenheim Social Practice initiative, and an honoree of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship. Joseph’s opera libretto, We Shall Not Be Moved, was named one of 2017’s “Best Classical... Read More →

Saturday September 7, 2019 11:30am - 12:30pm EDT
Presidential Grove