The Kennedy Center

Project 1: 1990-91: Evaluation and Plan for the Education Department

Consultants: Dennie Palmer Wolf and Thomas Wolf

In 1990, James D. Wolfensohn, the new Chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, conducted a comprehensive assessment of all aspects of the Washington, DC-based performing arts center. WolfBrown was selected to evaluate and make recommendations about the Education Department. In conjunction with the Director of Harvard PACE, WolfBrown recommended an amended mission statement and goals for the Department, then evaluated existing programs in relation to those goals. The report recommended new initiatives that celebrate the rich diversity of American cultures, suggested changes in many of the programs, dealt with structural and budgetary issues, and included an ongoing evaluation mechanism.


Project 2: 2017 18: Evaluation and Recommendations for the Any Given Child Program

Dennie Palmer Wolf, Steven J. Holochwost, and Christine Witkowski

A second project was undertaken in 2017 to conduct an evaluation of the Kennedy Center’s program, Any Given Child. This program is designed to ensure equitable access to arts education for all students in grades K-8. The evaluation was designed to address three core questions:

  • How far has Any Given Child come in realizing its promise to ensure arts education for all children in grades K through 8?
  • What does the experience of participating sites say about the changes that could strengthen the program.
  • Building on that local knowledge, what might Any Given Child 2.0 look like and how could it be implemented using the collective impact strategies at the heart of the initiative?  

To this end, WolfBrown executed a mixed-methods evaluation design that combined survey measures from all 25 Any Given Child sites with intensive, on-site data collection from eight focus sites chosen to represent the variety of communities that have taken up the initiative. A final report included the results of the analyses of these data and explored their implications for the future. The report concluded with recommendations for how Any Given Child 2.0 might be re-imagined.