During his little more than a thousand days in office, President Kennedy worked to remind Americans they could achieve great things as citizens of the nation and the world. He inspired people to enter public service by taking jobs in government or the newly created Peace Corps. He set into motion initiatives like civil rights legislation and space exploration. And through his words and examples, President Kennedy raised awareness of the importance of the arts in America.
This series marks the 50th anniversary of a remarkable presidency by exploring the impact the Kennedy years had on the creative lives of people in America and around the world.
We think of music and art as bringing us pleasure or entertainment. But it can also help in -- of all things -- foreign policy. The State Department has said that hearts and minds can be won through culture just as effectively as through guns of the field. In this segment, Chief Musician Mike Bayes of the United States Navy Band talks about how music and culture were used during the Kennedy Administration to bring the world a positive view of America -- from Jazz Ambassadors to the creation of elaborate arrival ceremonies at the White House.
Art and Architecture
We know President Kennedy for the Cuba Missile Crisis and the Peace Corps. But why is there a performing arts center named after him? Well it turns out President Kennedy made the arts a special cause: He opened the White House to the greatest international and American artists and to ordinary citizens alike. Initiatives led by the Kennedy family brought the Mona Lisa came to America for the first and only time; the White House went through a renovation that revolutionized the way Americans thought about art history. Join actor Richard Dreyfuss to learn all President Kennedy did for the arts in America.
Music in the White House
Today we consider big-name celebrity concerts broadcast from the White House to be routine. But that wasn't the case before the Kennedy Administration. More concerts, ballets and operas were staged inside the White House for President and Mrs. Kennedy than ever had been before or ever have been since. Actor Richard Dreyfuss takes us through the roster of singers, dancers and musicians both young and old who performed in the Kennedy years.