The Kennedy Center

“If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.” 

-President John F. Kennedy, Remarks at Amherst College, October 26, 1963


The Kennedy Center, a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, honors our 35th President everyday by uplifting ideals from his legacy (service, justice, freedom, courage, and gratitude) that live through the arts. As part of this celebration of legacy, the Kennedy Center launched the "Citizen Artist Fellow Recognition" in 2016, which celebrates emerging artists across the country who utilize their art form for positive impact on communities.

Through the Citizen Artists Fellows program, the Kennedy Center uplifts citizen artistry, providing selected fellows with customized resources and support to advance their work. During their year-long engagement, Citizen Artist Fellows develop and strengthen connections in their fields, receive opportunities for artistic collaboration and presentation, and gain access to Kennedy Center Staff and Artistic Partners for individual professional development. In return, the Citizen Artists enrich the Kennedy Center community, helping us understand broader issues, reach new audiences, and learn through the power of their art.

Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellows represent the overall diversity of the national audience the Kennedy Center strives to reflect and serve.

More Details About the Recognition

Selected Citizen Artist Fellows will...

  • Attend, present, and participate in Kennedy Center’s annual Arts Summits, designed to bring thought leaders from the arts and related fields together for conversation and connection
  • Collaborate, share practices, and receive mentorship at the Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow Retreat
  • Regularly connect on conference calls with each other and Kennedy Center staff
  • Have access to consultations and personalized coaching from staff across the organization, including fundraising experts, marketing professionals, and genre/subject matter experts.
  • Receive opportunities and information regarding national convenings, grant applications, and other resources from top partners such as Aspen Institute, National Endowment for the Arts, ArtChangeUS, and Citizen University

Most of the fellowship takes place in the fellows’ home community, with frequent phone consultations with Kennedy Center staff and occasional in-person meetings at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. All transportation and housing for Arts Summits and Summer Retreat will be provided by Kennedy Center. Nominees must be available to attend both Arts Summits and the Summer Retreat in order to receive the recognition.


The nomination period for the 2019/2020 Citizen Artist Fellow cohort will be from October 1, 2018-December 22, 2018.