The Kennedy Center has embarked on a significant initiative to create an eight-acre plaza and two new buildings that will connect the Kennedy Center to the community and the national monuments that surround it. In December 2002, the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation announced a $100 million pledge to support this extraordinary project.
The Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation’s gift, which is the largest ever to the Kennedy Center, would have helped construct a new Education Center. The centerpiece of the Education Center was an innovative state-of-the-art museum.
The Education Center was to pay tribute to the heritage of individual achievement in the performing arts and included artifacts from the collections of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution.
The Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Series for Artistic Excellence
Thanks to a $10 million grant from the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation, visitors to the Kennedy Center will enjoy original productions from extraordinary artists over the next decade.
The premiere presentation in the Series was held in May of 2002, when the Bolshoi Ballet performed with the Bolshoi Opera for the first time ever on the same stage.
In November of 2002, a thrilling performance of Oscar Hammerstein II’s Carmen Jones was the second performance of the Series. The performances featured the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Placido Domingo, the Harlem Boys Choir, the Howard University Choir and vocalist Vanessa Williams starring as Carmen.
In January 2004, the Foundation presented a week of performances and master classes by the internationally acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming.
The Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Series for Artistic Excellence opened its fourth annual presentation, A New America: The 1940s and the Arts in January 2005. The festival, an in-depth look at one of our nation’s most artistically prolific and significant decades, was the largest ever held at the Kennedy Center.
Over a six month period, the Foundation produced the finest examples of music, dance, theater, film, and fashion created by remarkable American artists who struggled, created, and triumphed during this turbulent and exhilarating era. The artists showcased in this Series challenged the nature of art itself and helped define our national culture today.
The Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Series for Artistic Excellence opened its fifth annual presentation, a year-long series of children’s musical and stage performances in the new Kennedy Center Family Theater. The sixth annual presentation featured 30 living legends of jazz in a special concert and celebration that was held at the Kennedy Center in March of 2007. In continuing this tradition of artistic excellence, the foundation presented August Wilson’s heroic 10-play cycle of the African-American experience in February and March 2008.
In 2009, the Foundation sponsored the opening season of theatrical presentations – including Ragtime and Spring Awakening – at the newly renovated Eisenhower theater.
In 2010, the Foundation made possible a presentation of the spectacular Mariinsky Opera and Orchestra production, War and Peace conducted by Valery Gergiev.
Catherine B. Reynolds co-chaired the Kennedy Center International Committee and increased its annual donations to more than $2 million a year and its membership to more than fifty arts philanthropists from around the world.
In 2015, Catherine B. Reynolds chaired the 38th annual Kennedy Center Honors celebration which inducted Rita Moreno, George Lucas, Cicely Tyson, Seiji Ozawa, and Carole King.