Family Matters New Arts Collaboration with the Kennedy Center Targets DC Seniors & Youth

New Arts Programming Made Possible Through Generous Bequeath from the Estate of Richard A. Herman, Washington Philanthropist and Patron of the Arts

WASHINGTON, DC – Family Matters of Greater Washington, one of the nation’s oldest, nationally-accredited social services organizations, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced a new collaboration to bring arts programming to low-income District seniors and youth. The collaboration is made possible through the generosity of philanthropist and arts patron Richard A. Herman, who passed away in November 2012 at the age of 100.  A generous supporter of both organizations, Mr. Herman’s interest in the arts fueled the collaboration, which pays tribute to his desire to improve the lives of those less fortunate through programs that nurture the talent of seniors and next generation of artists.

“The goal of the program will be to educate and expose District youth and seniors to various art forms, as well as introduce the healing power of the arts to those in need,” noted Tonya Jackson Smallwood, President and Chief Executive Officer of Family Matters. “The power of the arts to transform lives is well-known, and we hope to spark the interest and creativity of both young people and seniors whose access to the arts has been limited, due to their circumstances and income.”

“We are delighted to be working with Family Matters to increase opportunities for youth and seniors in D.C. to engage in the arts. It is my hope that Richard Herman’s generosity will be an example to others to ensure young people and seniors, not only in Washington but across this country, have the opportunity to participate in the arts,” stated Darrell Ayers, Vice President for Education at the Kennedy Center.

“Throughout his lifetime, Richard was a patron of the arts,” noted Betsy Paull, his cousin.  “Family Matters’ collaboration with the Kennedy Center, where he regularly attended performances, often three nights per week, is a fitting tribute.  It melds his love of the arts with his desire to support less fortunate people, introducing them to the benefits that an appreciation of the arts can bring.”

The collaboration will include the introduction of several new programs designed to target the involvement of seniors and youth, including a “Seniors Night Out,” National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) family performances and instrument “Petting Zoos,” and other programs.
Once a month, “Seniors Night Out” will enable District seniors to enjoy an evening at the Kennedy Center, complete with dinner, a performance and an opportunity to interact with the performers.  The monthly events will begin this summer. Interested parties should check the Family Matters website at for a schedule and instructions on how to sign-up.
Children, their parents and seniors will have the opportunity to attend National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) Family Performances in the Center’s Concert Hall and participate in the NSO’s pre-performance instrument “Petting Zoos,” offering hands-on, interactive experience with musical instruments, guided by the Women’s Committee of the National Symphony Orchestra.

NSO Family Concerts
Halloween Spooktacular: The Sequel
Sunday, October 27, 2013 @ 1 or 3 p.m.

Peter and the Wolf
Sunday, February 23, 2014 @ 1 or 3 p.m.

Classical Kids Live: Mozart’s Magnificent Journey
Sunday, June 1, 2014 @ 1 or 3 p.m.

Kennedy Center teaching artists will be selected to work with Family Matters’ youth and seniors in a series of workshops and seminars in music, theater, dance, and/or the visual arts. The “Reaching and Teaching Future Artists” and “Healing Arts for Seniors” workshops and seminars will be interactive, participatory, and age appropriate. For seniors, these events will provide positive impact on both motor and cognition skills, especially for seniors with disabilities.

The Kennedy Center will offer performance tickets, group tours, access to Teaching Artists, artist ‘meet and greets’, and the opportunity to dine at the Kennedy Center Café.  Family Matters coordinates all arrangements for District seniors and youth to participate and/or attend performances and events.  This includes providing transportation, meals/food service, and supplementing select performance and event ticket costs.

In February 2013, Family Matters announced the receipt of $28 million from the estate of Richard Herman, the largest donation ever received by the organization or any social service agency in the District of Columbia.  With the gift, Family Matters will be establishing the Richard A. Herman Charitable Trust, to be used to further Family Matters’ mission of improving the family and community lives of those less fortunate, as well as help launch a new series of arts programs for District seniors and youth. The collaboration with the Kennedy Center is the first in a series of arts programs that will be launched in the coming year.

About Education at the Kennedy Center (
Education at the Kennedy Center includes resources from its presentations and productions and those of its affiliates: the National Symphony Orchestra, VSA (the international arts and disability organization), and Washington National Opera. The focus, locally and nationally, is on producing and presenting age appropriate performances and educational events for young people and their families; school- and community-based programs that directly impact teachers, students, artists, and school and arts administrators through professional development; systemic and school improvement through arts integrated curricula, inclusive classrooms, and universal design in facilities and learning; creating partnerships around the issues of arts education and arts integrated education; creating and providing educational materials via print and the Internet; developing careers in the arts for young people and aspiring professionals; and strengthening the management of arts organizations.

About Family Matters of Greater Washington (
Family Matters of Greater Washington is a non-government, nonprofit organization accredited by the Council on Accreditation Services for Families and Children, Inc. and the American Camping Association.  Formerly known as Family and Child Services of Washington, D.C., Inc., Family Matters was founded in 1882 and has been an integral part of the Washington, D.C. community for more than 130 years. One of the oldest, nationally accredited social services organizations in the nation, Family Matters provides comprehensive, accessible, low-fee services to thousands of residents of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. Family Matters of Greater Washington is a member of the Child Welfare League of America and the Alliance for Children and Families.

Media Contact
Jennifer Devlin (703) 876-1714,