The 26th Annual Kennedy Center Open House Arts Festival

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Saturday, September 11, 2010 12-7 p.m.

Saturday, September 11, 2010 12-7 p.m.

Free! Some events may require free tickets.

It’s a new season of Performing Arts for Everyone! This year’s Open House Arts Festival is part of the Kennedy Center’s Celebrate Mexico 2010, a three-week-long commemoration of Mexico’s 200 years of independence and 100 years since the 1910 revolution. Open House features artists from the Washington, D.C. region and Mexico in more than 20 performances, demonstrations, and events. Returning this year to the Open House Arts Festival is the 15th Annual Multicultural Children’s Book Festival. Here’s just a glimpse of what’s in store!


Eugenia León

One of Mexico’s most famous “divas,” Eugenia León‘s recording career is prolific, including 24 solo records spanning three decades. With a repertoire that pairs contemporary composers with traditional music of Latin America and Mexico, she regularly packs top venues in Mexico, fulfilling her fans’ expectations of quality songs, passionately delivered.

El Gran Silencio

Hailing from Monterrey, Mexico, rock band El Gran Silencio blends a variety of rock, reggae, dancehall, and dub influences with traditional Latin American musical forms such as cumbiavallenato, and banda.

Ballet Folklórico de la Universidad Veracruzana

One of the most renowned folk dance companies in Mexico, Ballet Folklórico de la Universidad Veracruzana expresses the traditions of its people through music, singing and dance.


Nominated “Best Latin Duo/Group 2009” by the Washington Area Music Association, Nayas mixes rhythms of cumbia, reggae, rock, and ska and never fails to bring down the house. With songs in English, Spanish, and Spanglish, the band members hail from Peru, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, and the U.S.


A klezmer quartet based in Guadalajara, Mexico, Sherele features musicians from France, Mexico, and Argentina. Founder Nathalie Braux (clarinet), Sibila Knobel (guitar), Luis Eduardo Arreola (bass), and Diego Escobar (drums & percussion) blend jazz, Central and South American Folklore, and rock influences into the Klezmer tradition.

Eugenio Toussaint with the National Symphony Orchestra

Christoph Eschenbach, Music Director
Mexico City’s world-renowned composer and jazz and classical pianist Eugenio Toussaint joins forces with the NSO and conductor Enrique Diemecke to perform Toussaint’s Concerto for Improvised Piano and Orchestra.

Macari-Sotelo Ensemble

Macari-Sotelo Ensemble brings together strings, percussion, and accordion in a unique way, with authentic experimentation and creativity with sound.

El Rincón de la Marimba

El Rincón de la Marimba (The Marimba Corner) is a musical project that incorporates students from all around the State of Oaxaca, Mexico in regional groups in order to teach them the traditional sounds of the marimba to young performers.


Northern Virginia’s premier power-trio for children—Coach Cotton, Williebob, and Boogie Woogie Bennie—Rocknoceros (pronounced like rhinoceros) hops from genre to genre like a toad on summer asphalt, from Tin Pan Alley to the shores of Jamaica. The group won 2010 Wammie Awardsâ„¢ for Best Children’s Artist and Fan’s Favorite.

Richard Smallwood presents a Tribute to Pastor Walter Hawkins

One of Gospel music’s most dynamic and popular artists, Grammy, Stellar, and Dove Award winnerRichard Smallwood performs with his group Vision. Presented in recognition of Gospel Music Heritage Month in cooperation with Verity Gospel Music Group.

Edwin Fontánez’s Washington Chalk Festival

Founded by local illustrator and author Edwin Fontánez, this popular and interactive event decorates the main plaza in front of the Kennedy Center. Take up a piece of chalk and create your own masterpiece!

NSO Instrument “Petting Zoo”

The hands-on musical fun for children of all ages is a festival favorite and a project of the Women’s Committee of the National Symphony Orchestra.

Dance Theatre of Harlem Residency

Young students ages 8-18 from the Kennedy Center’s Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) Residencyprogram present a demonstration and performance.

15th Annual Multicultural Children’s Book Festival

On the Kennedy Center Roof Level

Returning to the Open House Arts Festival! Bring the entire family to meet your favorite authors, listen to book readings, and more. Parents, children, teachers, and anyone else with a love of children’s books can celebrate diverse cultures with renowned authors and illustrators, including Alma Flor Ada (¡Pío Peep!), Joseph Bruchac (Skeleton Man), R. Gregory Christie (Jazz Baby), Shane Evans (Olu’s Dream), Jacqueline Woodson (Locomotion), and Laurence Yep (Dragonwings). Hundreds of titles, which present stories from African, African American, Arab, Arab American, Asian, Asian American, Latin American, Latino, and Native American peoples, will be available for purchase.