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Kennedy Center Fellowship

The Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center Fellowship in Arts Management Program (FAM), in partnership with the Arts Management Program at American University gives graduates students increased professional development opportunities through merit-based Fellowship opportunities at the Kennedy Center. Fellowships are nine months and are available for first and second year graduate students. By providing students with structured mentoring, intensive skill development and access to real-world experience, we will elevate strong thought-leaders to champion the bright future of our nation’s cultural institutions.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a world class international performing arts organization and our nation's cultural center. Diversity is a critical component of its mission, vision, and values. Its staff exhibits a wide variety of perspectives and experiences, which enable them to foster and strengthen an environment of diversity and inclusion. The AU Arts Management Program has been committed to blending rigorous academics with practical, hands-on learning opportunities for over forty years. This partnership with the Kennedy Center is an embodiment of this commitment in action.

Program Description

KC FAM participants receive intensive training in areas such as arts management, strategic planning, fundraising, finance, artistic planning, and marketing; exposure to executive leadership and involvement in special projects of the student's personal interest and benefit to the Kennedy Center; collaborative work opportunities across the organization, and ongoing personalized mentoring from a senior level staff advisor, tailored to the needs of the Fellow. Academic advisors support Fellows as they pursue their organizational and professional objectives. The Fellow receives their stipend from the Kennedy Center. During the academic year, the Kennedy Center Fellow will work 20 hours/week at the Kennedy Center (summer hours are handled separately). The fellow is awarded a $17,770 stipend and six credits of tuition remission per academic year.

2022-2023 Program Placements

Social Impact at the Kennedy Center

Social Impact at the Kennedy Center is a systems-based approach to fostering cultural leadership and community action. We leverage the arts for non-arts outcomes, center joy, and invite engaged participation toward the creation of an equitable future. This is accomplished through:

  • Artist Empowerment: Deep listening and cultivation efforts that emphasize artist process over product while positioning creative vision as a model for civic collaboration.
  • Community Empowerment: Concerted, creative efforts to align arts strategies with equity strategies in historically underrepresented or marginalized communities across our region.
  • Impact Performance: Full slate of year-round performances, occurring in-person and through digital portals that showcase aesthetic brilliance and social integrity.
  • Cultural Leadership: Active support of individuals and organizations across the country that are exemplars at the intersection of social vision and Performative excellence. We celebrate visionaries operating from a moral center and at the edge of culture.
  • REACH Activation: An ecological approach to making the REACH a hub for multi-disciplinary activity while prioritizing health, healing, and accessible participation for all.

The Social Impact Fellow will participate in producing daily events with the Social Impact team, assisting with creating advertisements, coordinating productions, running shows, collecting artists’ bios and photos, and formatting performance programs. The fellow will also be able to assist in efforts of social media campaigns and marketing, artist's contracts, and handling purchase orders. The fellow will have the opportunity to assist in meetings with Culture Caucus, Social Practice Residents, Millennium Stage, and other participants in ongoing and emerging Social Impact programs. The fellow will be able work with the development and cultivation of evaluative tools to be deployed by the Community Engagement team to further examine the impact and experience had by artists and audience members alike with Social Impact events and activations. The fellow will be able to research the tools and models used throughout both the arts sector and for-profit industries to highlight and promote the best practices that can be used in the deployment of evaluative tools to further steer programming and track creative impact

Education at the Kennedy Center

Impacting the field for every age and ability, every art form, everywhere through model programs and performances that address Arts Education challenges, accelerate best practices, strategically activate networks, and uplift citizen artistry, Education is one of the Three Strategic Pillars at the Kennedy Center. Through our five cluster areas (School & Community Programs; Education Programs & Productions; VSA, Accessibility, & Special Education; Digital Learning; and Research & Evaluation) at the nation’s performing arts center, we strive to balance a bird’s eye view of the national field with on-the-ground program implementation to keep a finger on the pulse of arts education across the nation.

Kennedy Center School and Community Programs Fellow

The School and Community Programs Fellow will assist with a team that develops and implements arts education programs for schools and community-based organizations with an emphasis on professional development, artist residencies, school-based partnerships, and national networks supporting arts education in communities.  The programs included in the School and Community Programs portfolio includes DC School and Community Initiatives, Special Education, Changing Education through the Arts, Teaching Artist Strategy, National Community Partnerships, and Turnaround Arts. The Fellow will support our goal to be equitable, accessible, diverse, high-quality, and responsive to student needs by: researching best practices; developing proposals that can be presented to senior leadership, external partners, and funders; connecting and communicating schedules and templates; and assisting with logistics and program execution. There will be opportunities for the fellow to interact with and address artists, administrators, donors, students, parents, and/or educators throughout the semester -- providing excellent opportunities for professional development working with multiple communication styles and constituencies.

Experience in arts education, project organization, research and/or communication preferred. Ability to comfortably multitask and work independently with multiple communication styles a must.

Kennedy Center Music Education Programs and Productions Fellow

The Music Education Programs and Productions Fellow will assist with a team that develops and implements educational activities for all ages with Kennedy Center Hip-Hop Culture, Jazz Programming, Fortas Chamber Series, National Symphony Orchestra, and Washington National Opera; and manages five (5) career development programs for aspiring artists and arts professionals. The Education Programs and Productions cluster of the education division presents and produces performances and programming connected to music, dance, theater, as well as recently opened Moonshot Studio (art maker space). 

The Fellow will help ensure Music Education meets their goal to be equitable, accessible, diverse, high-quality, and responsive to student needs by: researching best practices; developing proposals that can be presented to senior leadership, external partners, and funders; connecting and communicating schedules and templates; and assisting with logistics and program/performance execution. There will be opportunities for the fellow to interact with and address artists, administrators, donors, students, parents, and/or educators throughout the semester -- providing excellent opportunities for professional development working with multiple communication styles and constituencies. The fellow will also have opportunities to work across the Education Programs and Productions cluster in support of multiple genres and art forms. 

Experience in music, arts education, project organization, research and/or communication preferred. Ability to comfortably multitask and work independently with multiple communication styles a must. Great opportunity for someone with curiosity, and the desire to work and communicate in a creative environment.

Applicant Eligibility

Full-time incoming or rising second year MA students in the Arts Management Program are eligible to apply through a competitive process. One may not hold both an external fellowship and an internal fellowship at the Katzen Arts Center. MA candidates receive a scholarship for a designated number of academic credits and a stipend. At the end of their first year fellowship, first year fellows may indicate their interest in second year extension of their fellowship. Extensions are granted on a case-by-case basis and are not a guarantee. From American University, KC FAM participants receive tuition credits described above, benefit from joint learning with the AU external Fellows' cohort, and receive ongoing advising from the designated AU faculty member. Fellows profit from the opportunity to mesh classroom and fellowship learning.

Applicant Qualifications

US citizenship or permanent residence is required. The fellow must be enrolled full-time in the Arts Management master's program at American University and meet the requirements of a Merit Awardee at American University. Applicants must also:

  • Have a minimum of two years working experience at an arts or cultural organization (except for the NSO Fellowship, which is open to any experience level)
  • Have an excellent command of business English, oral and written
  • Be able to commit to the full term of the Fellowship.

To apply, please submit in a single PDF document: your resume and a statement (one page or less) with your contact information, describing your interest and qualifications for the Kennedy Center Fellowship to artsmgtfellowship@american.edu, subject line “Kennedy Center (Name of Specific) Fellowship.” Applications must be received by February 9, at noon EST. Candidates may apply to any or all AM@AU Fellowships, depending upon eligibility.