John F. Kennedy on Art & Politics | 1962 Remarks on Behalf of a New National Cultural Center


On November 29, 1962, President and Mrs. Kennedy spoke at a fundraising dinner for a National Cultural Center that would become known as "The Kennedy Center." The event was broadcast live across the U.S. via closed-circuit hookup, called the American Pageant for the Arts. Leonard Bernstein served as master of ceremonies for an evening that included appearances by Pablo Casals, Marian Anderson , Van Cliburn, Robert Frost, Fredric March, Danny Kaye, Bob Newhart, Harry Belafonte, and a young Yo-Yo Ma. “Art is political in the most profound sense,” the president stated, “not as a weapon in the struggle, but as an instrument of understanding of the futility of struggle between those who share man’s faith.” Subscribe to The Kennedy Center!

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