The 2022 Kennedy Center Honorees
Source: Kennedy Center Facebook

Getting Kennedy Center Honors Tickets Isn't Easy — Inside Scoop

Kathryn Underwood - Author
By

Dec. 5 2022, Published 3:12 p.m. ET

The annual Kennedy Center Honors is a ceremony filled with powerful and well-known individuals from politics, entertainment, and the arts. This past weekend, honorees were awarded their medallions at a State Department dinner and then honored at the gala in the evening on Dec. 4, 2022. How can you get tickets to the Kennedy Center Honors?

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Of course, the recipients of the Kennedy Center awards are guests of the entire weekend’s festivities. But what about the others in attendance? If you’ve ever wondered how to score a ticket or an invitation to the Kennedy Center Honors, here are the details.

What is the Kennedy Center Honors?

The Kennedy Center
Source: Kennedy Center Facebook

The Kennedy Center Honors, which have been presented every year since 1978, mark the achievements and contributions of individuals in the performing arts. The Honors Gala, the formal event marking the occasion, serves to honor the winners as well as raise funds to support the ongoing work of the Center in artistic and educational endeavors.

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In 2021, Motown founder Berry Gordy was an honoree. The 2022 honorees included members of U2, Amy Grant, George Clooney, Gladys Knight, and Tania León. Honorees typically have a large platform through their artistic work that they use to advance social justice in some way.

Some of the entertainers on the star-studded guest list included Eddie Vedder, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, and Brandi Carlile. Top politicians included President Biden and the First Lady, Vice President Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff, and Nancy and Paul Pelosi.

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Is the Kennedy Center Honors gala an invitation-only event?

In a way, only invited guests may attend the Kennedy Center Honors gala and other events throughout the weekend. (Other events include a State Department dinner, Chairman’s Luncheon, and White House reception.) It isn't the easiest task to get tickets to the gala.

honors
Source: Kennedy Center FB

Honorees applaud during the ceremony at the Kennedy Center Honors on Dec. 5.

According to the Kennedy Center website, tickets are first made available only to donors who contribute at least $10,000 annually to the organization. Those who qualify can request tickets during the Priority Access period.

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Following that period of time, donors who give at least $700 become eligible to purchase any tickets that may be remaining, or to put their names on the priority waitlist. After the $700-and-up donors have had a chance to get tickets, other members of the general public become eligible.

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Interested parties can request to receive information about Kennedy Center Honors tickets as it becomes available. Either sign up online, or call or email if you’d like to make a donation that might unlock advanced access to tickets.

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How much are tickets to the Kennedy Center Honors?

Although it’s uncertain how much tickets are today, in 2012, dcist.com claimed that tickets started at $400, and only around 300 were released to the general public. For priority access to tickets, of course, you must donate either at least $700 or $10,000 to even be eligible.

The Kennedy Center
Source: Kennedy Center Facebook
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Here’s How the Kennedy Center Raises Funds

The Kennedy Center receives federal funding that must only be used for maintenance and operation of the building itself. However, the organization raises about $80 million annually to support programming, educational opportunities, and performances.

Who sponsors the Kennedy Center Honors?

The Kennedy Center as well as the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera are supported by sponsors. Some sponsors currently listed are David Rubenstein, the Drutz Family, Altria, AARP, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to name a few.

However, the exclusive sponsor of the Kennedy Center is the CBS Corporation. Boeing is the exclusive underwriter of the Kennedy Center Honors. According to Forbes, Boeing has assets of about $138.6 billion and revenue of $62.3 billion.

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