The Kennedy Center

The Human Journey is primarily a story of migration — be it by choice or force or driven by fear.

This movement of people has historically brought cultures from around the globe together, shrinking our planet and bringing the cultural identities that shape us into sharper focus. Inspired by powerful storytelling, The Human Journey seeks to promote deeper understanding of the migration of people and the resilience of humankind to overcome conflict, adversity, prejudice, and injustices, often emboldened by a spirit of exploration and hope.

Beginning in October 2018 through July 2019, The Kennedy Center, National Geographic Society, and the National Gallery of Art will present a range of multidisciplinary performances, exhibits, and immersive discussions that tell this larger story through a personal lens.

The essence of The Human Journey is best told through the individual stories of our artists and explorers. The Kennedy Center has teamed with producers at Storyline to create a series of online mini-documentaries to highlight artists who embody this spirit.

Watch artist profiles in a series that is being released across The Human Journey season.


Arts Summit 2019

The Kennedy Center Arts Summit is an annual one-day convening to investigate the power and potential of the arts. Bringing together thought leaders for conversation and connection, the Arts Summit engages experts from across numerous fields, aiming to challenge old ideas, spark new ones, and catalyze potent partnerships across disciplines. The 2019 Arts Summit, “The Human Journey: Creating the Story of US”, will explore how we define and shape our world through the stories we tell (and the ones we don't).

Learn more


THJ Highlight: James Reese Europe and the Harlem Hellfighters

In December, Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran presented the U.S. premiere of his tribute to early ragtime musician & WWI veteran James Reese Europe. Moran also hosted a discussion on the legacy of a pioneer that helped spread jazz to Europe. Watch that discussion and learn about James Reese Europe below.

Learn more

National Geographic's Photo Camp

National Geographic - Photo Camp

National Geographic Photo Camp is a fascinating global project in which young people from underserved communities, including at-risk and refugee teens, learn from world-class National Geographic photographers and magazine editors how to use photography to tell their own stories of survival, explore the world around them, and develop deep connections with others. The Photo Camp exhibit showcases the selections of photography, video, and written text to weave a narrative of the experiences and realities of displaced youth from around the world. Exhibit dates and details will be confirmed at a later date.

Learn more

Photo of African American Workers by Gordon Parks

National Gallery of Art - Gordon Parks: The New Tide

During the 1940s American photographer Gordon Parks (1912-2006) grew from a self-taught photographer making portraits and documenting everyday life in Saint Paul and Chicago to a visionary professional shooting for Ebony, Vogue, Fortune, and Life. For the first time, the formative decades of Parks’s 60-year-old career are the focus of an exhibition, which brings together 120 photographs and ephemera—including magazines, book, letters, and family pictures. Exhibit dates: 10/4/2018 – 2/18/2019

Learn more